Dear Diary: September 2015 (Five Truths About My Novel’s Debut Month)

dear diary sept 2015

  1. It was a watershed month. I crossed that invisible line from “writer” to “published author.” It was a turning point in my life, and I’ll always remember September 1st, 2015, when my dreams became reality.
  2. It was amazing. Everyone was so happy for me. I got to celebrate with nearly 200 people, most of whom have walked this incredible journey with me and love me dearly. I cannot explain to you the way it felt to go into three bookstores that day and to see my book on shelves at every one. Especially that very first time. Cindy and I were searching for it and couldn’t find it; then from a row over, I heard Cindy say, “It’s here.” And there it was. A published book that I wrote. Characters that I had breathed into life. Even the booksellers at all the bookstores were so excited for me, had me sign copies, displayed them proudly.
  3. It was scary and hard. It was a supernova of action … and then the silence of space. It’s hard to go from having EVERYONE talking about your book to basically radio silence. It’s this tremendous build up and an explosion of interest and then, relatively, nothing. It’s terrifying. You start to wonder, “Did I spend four years of my life on something that people cared about for fewer than three weeks?” You start to compare yourself to the other novels that debuted the same day (one of which rocketed up to #1 on the NYT Bestseller List almost immediately). You start to cry.
  4. It was a month where kind words at the right moment made all the difference. In the midst of fear and negative reviews and dead air, people spoke up at the exact right moments and each one was like a miniature rescue. A sweet comment, an enthusiastic review, an excited tweet … these mattered this month when I was teetering on the edge of hopelessness. Please never underestimate how much your kind words mean to the authors who write the books you enjoy. It’s like an instant battery-recharge. It’s the strength to continue. It’s, as I said, a miniature rescue mission. Tell artists when you love their art.
  5. It was step one. Sometimes I, in my ultra-dramatic ways, felt like, with the debut day come and gone, that it was all over. But I’m wrong: everything has just begun.

7 thoughts on “Dear Diary: September 2015 (Five Truths About My Novel’s Debut Month)

  1. Jackie, I’ve said it before and I will probably say it again, but your honesty through this process has been the best. I always find a lot to inspire me and a lot that tells me to calm down and not be so hard on myself as a writer. Thank you.

  2. Jackie, I’ve been meaning to tell you how much Truest meant to me, and I kept forgetting! This blog was a great reminder. I am an avid young adult lit reader. Your book was one of the best YA books that I’ve read in a while. I am working one full time job, one part time job, and going to grad school. Despite all of that I finished this book in 3 days. I couldn’t put it down. I felt so attached to the characters the vocabulary ( those words you used were amazing), and the plot. I laughed, I cried, and afterwards I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and story. I’m sure my husband got annoyed at how much I talked about the book. Thank you so much for sharing your exquisite novel with the world. It really touched me and highly recommend it to anyone I know!

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