My Five Greatest Achievements as an Author (So Far!)

I have a habit of being too hard on myself, as well as focusing too much on what’s ahead and not properly celebrating what I’ve accomplished. It’s been nearly six months since The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) was released – but in independent publishing time, it feels like six years.

While my readership and sales figures are still small, I do have a few notable accomplishments that I want to share. Partly, I’m posting these to validate my work to myself (and you, potential readers). And partly, I want to show aspiring or fellow authors that, even early on in your career, there are still plenty of cool moments to be had.

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The bookstore proof!

1. My book is being taught in a university classroom.

That’s right! On this very day (yes, I checked the syllabus), The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) is the subject of analysis in Dr. Charles French’s Contemporary Fiction class at Muhlenberg College. Dr. French and I have been ‘friends’ in the WordPress world, he read and enjoyed my book, and picked it up for this course – and his science fiction course this summer!

2. My grandma, who doesn’t often read fiction, read my book.

So did my mom (who rarely makes time for reading), my aunts and uncle, and several other friends and family members. The fact that many ‘non-readers’ in my life made time for my novel makes me incredibly proud. The fact that many of them have vowed, earnestly and enthusiastically, to read the second book makes me even prouder.

3. I received my first five-star review from a non-friend/family member.

And a few more since! As much as praise from friends and family means to me, it’s extremely validating to get a strong review from someone who A) has never met me, B) has no reason to like or support me, and C) had to have found my book through natural channels, my marketing efforts, or all on their own. Nothing says, “I can actually do this author thing” like kudos from a 100% unbiased source.

the cogsmith's daughter

Holding my book for the first time (after learning to format it myself) was another huge win!

4. My first “Super Fan” found me.

As authors, we dream about that reader who will devour our work, then seek us out on social media. Well, I had that happen. And, as a bonus, she also reviewed The Cogsmith’s Daughter, signed up for my email newsletter, and featured my book on her blog. An even bigger bonus? She’s an illustrator with a penchant for steampunk, and if our friendship grows, I see some commissioned art in my (and my readers’) future!

5. My book is available at the Yale University library. 

Okay, this one is all thanks to my husband – or as he likes to call himself, my ‘manager.’ All it took was one request from him, as a student, and The Cogsmith’s Daughter is now in a university library system with a global reach. For those of you who want to read my novel (but don’t want to shell out any cash – I get it, no judgment), feel free to do the same. I’ll still get royalties on the copy the library buys, and arguably more valuable, I’ll gain a wider network of readers. Fellow authors, I highly recommend you and your own readers do the same!

So you see? Even at an early stage – when your social media following is teeny-tiny, your book has only a handful of reviews, and your sales are no where close to supporting you (or even your cat) – being an author still rocks.

Celebrate every little win, and embrace every new experience. Millions of people never even finish a book, let alone publish one. You’ve done (or will do!) both, and you deserve every awesome thing that happens to you along the way. Enjoy it and don’t be afraid or ashamed to share your joy with others. The people who matter will be over-the-moon happy for you.


You have full, uninhibited permission to brag. What are your biggest accomplishments as an author? What goals are you working towards, and how can your readers help you reach them? What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

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Kate M. Colby is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. When she is not writing or working, Kate enjoys playing video games, antiquing, and wine tasting. She lives in the United States with her husband and furry children.

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Posted in Author Business & Publishing, Fiction Blog, The Desertera Series, Writing & Publishing Articles
34 comments on “My Five Greatest Achievements as an Author (So Far!)
  1. That photographic proof from the college is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great idea for a post Kate, it’s making me think of the few achievements that I have made. I had no idea that Charles was teaching your book. That’s really cool. Honestly, you’ve made so many achievements since you published, you have no reason not to be proud!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Also I have to say that it’s hilarious that Daniel calls himself your ‘manager’ because layla does the same thing. Ah, to be the spouse of an author! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great job! I hope you have even more accomplishments to celebrate in another six months.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. After leaving the note above, I actually went and looked at the book on Amazon. It seems interesting and the sample was well written. Bottom line, your blog post netted you a sale today!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much! I really appreciate your support AND the fact that you let me know. If you enjoy TCD, a review would be a big help. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m always like, “Okay, I just had a sale today. How did that person find my book?” Run across it randomly on Amazon? Find a mention of it somewhere.

        Take for example the last several days. Prior to Wednesday, I’d literally sold a total of 1 book in the last 30 days or so. In the last two days, 5.

        No idea what caused the spike.

        KU page reads are still averaging around 500 a day, moving up and down around that rate.

        Anyway, back to writing. Best of luck to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who wonders about sales like that. Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. L.D. Parker says:

    You should be VERY proud. I’m just sending my novel out to beta readers and am anxious as to how they will react. Perhaps one day I can make a similar post as yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congratulations! Sending your novel out for others to read is a big step. And don’t be nervous (said the pot to the kettle), I’m sure they’ll meet your work with good intentions and helpful feedback.

      Like

  7. Yay! How exciting to think that students are reading your work and analyzing it.

    My biggies of the year (I’m about 6 months ahead of you in this game: my first book came out just shy of one year ago): getting accepted as an author guest at a few cons; seeing my book on a poster in a B&N window; getting interviewed by Mur Lafferty and Sam Montgomery-Blinn on the radio.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Those are all VERY cool accomplishments! I must say, I’m particularly jealous of your speaking events, as that is one area I haven’t explored yet. Congrats and thanks for sharing!

      Like

  8. Great post and accomplishments. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, that is awesome! Congrats Kate. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You shouldn’t be hard on yourself, because every one of these five accomplishments seems pretty amazing! Here’s a virtual pat on the back.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great milestones. Congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ofopinions says:

    Very impressive list of achievements, Kate! Any author would be over the moon with such accomplishments. Personally, I wouldn’t even think of “teeny-tiny” number of followers or “a handful of reviews” if these had already happened to me! My review will definitely be up once I’ve finished reading it. Also, I don’t know if this counts as an achievement, but maybe having a reader halfway across the world, in another continent, also accounts for the diversity of your readers?

    Congratulations, you deserve every success. It has been a pleasure to follow your ‘authorial’ journey so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! It is so wonderful that this technological world allows us to connect and help my books spread. I’m very grateful for you and all the other lovely friends I’ve made from afar. Thank you for reminding me! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Helen Jones says:

    All fantastic achievements, Kate, and worth being proud of! It’s a tough road being an independent publisher, and celebrating each accomplishment is part of what gives us the impetus to keep going. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. […] you follow me on social media, you may have seen this month’s exciting announcement: for the second semester, The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) will be taught in a university […]

    Like

  15. […] you follow me on social media, you may have seen this month’s exciting announcement: for the second semester, The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) will be taught in a university […]

    Like

  16. […] to earn a profit.). While some authors reach these milestones within the first year, and while I have tallied many of my own proud accomplishments, short-term success has never featured in my goals. I’m lucky enough to be in a position […]

    Like

  17. […] been my best year as an author and independent publisher. As I wrote previously, I’ve made some great accomplishments and done much more than I expected in just a year since I published The Cogsmith’s […]

    Like

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