The Real Answer: Here's What Happens Next

Photo Courtesy of latteda
Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to comment on my last post, "The Real Question: What Happens Next??" On the heels of my book deal announcement, I have been inundated with so many emotions--shock, elation, excitement, crippling fear, anxiety, etc. It was great to hear so many kind words from those of you who actually know what you are doing!

In the spirit of paying it forward, I figured I would share some excerpts and nuggets of wisdom to anyone else who may be struggling with the idea of life after a sale. My original question was:

"What is the biggest piece of advice you wish someone had told you when your manuscript first found a home?"

Here are your answers!
  1. "The biggest piece of advice I'd give is to savor each milestone as it comes - there's only one first sale, one first call with your editor, one first edit letter, and so on." -Mike (Turbo)
  2. "I'm with Mike about savoring every milestone. That is so important! I would tell myself that not a lot will change after the ink has dried: I still have my insecurities, crutch words, and a cat and a dog who couldn't care less that I have a book coming out. Through all of this, it's important to know that having a book deal won't solve everything, you know? :)" -Kathryn Rose
  3. "I remember when my first NF article was accepted and the thrill of receiving my first cheque. (I made a copy of it and pasted it into my scrapbook!) I think it's good to note what Kathryn has said... that your everyday will still be what it is. So it becomes important to claim the time you'll need to meet new commitments and deadlines. i.e., sit down with your family and explain/discuss plans for a scheduled writing time. Be flexible, but determined to fit it in every day." -Carol Garvin
  4. "The one piece of advice I wish I'd had was to keep working on new stuff while you wait for your editorial letter... For most people it takes months for that letter to come (no matter what your editor tells you!), and I wish I'd known to go ahead and just commit to my WIP, instead of thinking "Oh, I'm going to have to put it down any day to start edits, so I may as well not really dive in." On a more positive note, "celebrate everything good" is a great piece of advice. Do something fun to mark each milestone and help cement it in your memory. =)" -Tara Dairman
  5. "It's really easy to get caught up in the busyness of this exciting time, so make sure you take time to pause and savor each little bit as it unfolds. And then, when you're done enjoying, market the heck out yourself. :)" -Bethany Crandell
  6. "The "enjoy the moment" advice is excellent. I'd even recommend making a "feel good" folder... Put in it any gushing emails you get from agent & editor, plus your first terrific reviews, any reader emails, etc. Then whenever you hit a low on the publishing rollercoaster (and we all have low times!), go read those emails. Similarly, I'd say: if you don't already have some bulletproof healthy methods to handle stress (whether that's exercise, yoga, chilling out to music, whatever) - find it now. You will need it, especially later on when you've got to face the infamous second novel. (If your 1st does well, you'll worry that you can't repeat the success. If your 1st doesn't sell well, that's a whole other realm of stress. Either way, it can be startlingly hard to focus your mind where it needs to be: on your work-in-progress.) On the practical side, if your deadline for your 2nd novel allows it, I highly recommend setting aside 3 months around your book's release (the month prior, the month of, and the month after) in which you don't expect to get any new fiction writing done. That way you can guest blog and tweet and promote and obsess over your Amazon ranking to your heart's content, without any stress/guilt about not making progress on your next book. Once those 3 months are up, then it's nose to the grindstone...but until then, go a little crazy if you can. Your first book only comes out once. :)" -Courtney Schafer
  7. "I've always thought that I'd do a pre-order bloghop contest or something about 3 months before the book comes out, and then one of course the couple weeks surrounding the release date. I've toyed with writing an e-book novelette with the same characters that are in the book to give away for free as a carrot for the pre-sales... Ah, so many fun ideas :)" -Alexia Chamberlynn
Thanks again to everyone for your words of wisdom, and I hope your advice helps other writers, too. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by so much help and encouragement!