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A Debut by the Numbers

I last posted to my blog 302 days ago when I held a physical copy of Henderson House for the first time. A lot has happened since those Advanced Reader Copies arrived in the mail. Launching a debut novel has been one of the most exhilarating and expansive experiences of my professional career.

I finished the first draft of my follow-up novel, Sequoyah Road, last month and am giving it some soak time before I start editing on March 1st. This morning I realized that for the first time in 302 days, I have the head space to sit down and share a little with you about the process.

It’s hard to put into words how much I have learned since I opened that first box of books in April of 2023, but here are a few key takeaways:

The literary community is one of the most generous and supportive groups I have ever had the pleasure of being part of. From the magic of checking my email one morning and finding a beautiful blurb for Henderson House written by NY Times best-selling author Lisa Wingate to the kindness and enthusiasm of booksellers and readers across the country, I am grateful every single day to be lucky enough to call myself an author.

As a debut author with a small indie press, I had to wear many hats. Launching this sweet historical romance into the world has required me to do everything you can imagine, and then some—public relations, marketing, graphic design, event booking, travel planning, and number crunching, all while also researching and writing a second novel and oh, yeah, having a life and family. I’m in awe of the authors who release a new book every year. One tip: if you are not yet using Canva to create your graphics, I highly recommend it.

I spent some money. Yup, I paid to run social media ads and boost posts to get my book out there. It’s a crowded market and my publisher could only do so much to help. One marketing opportunity that worked perfectly for me was The Book Club Cookbook. Henderson House was part of their GalleyMatch program, getting ARCs to early readers, and was featured in their newsletter and online. This led to making personal connections with some amazing book club leaders and several wonderful new friendships! 

I dug deep and did a lot of traveling by myself. As you can see in my little infographic, between my research trips and my book tour, I drove over 3,787 miles by myself in the past year, spent 47 nights on the road, and visited 19 states. Most moms out there can probably relate to the fact that I had not spent that much time alone since before my children were born. In fact, I may have spent more time alone in the last year than in any other year of my life. Ever. And I kinda loved it!

One of the best pieces of advice I got about being an author came from fellow Inkshares writer Jacqui Castle who told me, “It’s not really what you want to write about, it’s what you want to talk about for the next two years.”

I love talking about Henderson House and hope to continue to have many opportunities to share this novel with readers while I work on starting the whole publishing process again with Sequoyah Road. Thanks to all of you for making this new phase of my life possible. I hope to be in touch soon or at least sooner than 302 days!

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