Seven Things I Didn’t Know Then

I can’t believe today is the seventh anniversary of the release of my first book Tagged for Death. There are so many things I’ve learned about being an author and the publishing world so I’m sharing seven of them today.

  1. I remember so clearly how worried I was about bad reviews and trolls. That book was my baby with years of studying writing and writing (still unpublished novels) behind it. It felt like showing off your precious baby and then having someone criticize every aspect of her. However, most of those worries were for naught. People were kind and encouraging. I’ve mentioned this before but my daughter painted a saying for me in case I got bad reviews: You can have the sweetest, juiciest peach, but not everyone likes peaches. If you hear me muttering “not everyone likes peaches,” you know why.
  2. My editor, Gary Goldstein, supports me in a way not a lot of editors do these days. After The Gun Also Rises (the sixth Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery) came out, Gary told me we should start thinking about another series. We batted around ideas until we finally landed on the Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries.
  3. I also must give a shout out to everyone at Kensington. They’ve been amazing. From the artists who create the covers to the proofreader who noticed I’d written Crap Trap instead of Crab Trap in A Time to Swill. That would have been embarrassing especially since it’s an actual business in Destin, Florida! Larissa Ackerman works so hard for her multitude of authors to get the word out about our books.
  4. While I’d been part of the crime writing community via Sisters in Crime (thanks to Julie Hennrikus telling me to join) and from attending conferences, I had no idea how supportive and generous writers would be. Hank Phillipi Ryan and Sheila Connolly along with the Wickeds took time to read and blurb Tagged for Death. Authors shared the news and cheered me on. The Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime showed up in force to my first in person event and have continued to be supportive ever since.
  5. I had no idea there were so many bloggers and reviewers out there who read and review books and they don’t get paid! They spend an extraordinary amount of their valuable time to promote books for people they don’t even know. Thanks to each one of you!
  6. I also had no idea readers would take the time to write and say they loved a book. In the beginning when I’d get an email my husband would always ask, “Do you know them?” I think he was more surprised than I was when people took the time to write a note.  Also, it was lovely meeting people at conferences who took the time to say they loved a book or a character or that the book made them almost cry or laugh out loud.
  7. I didn’t know there would be so many fun things to do as an author! After years of going to conferences and sitting in on panels, I got to be on panels. I loved being asked to attend fabulous smaller conferences like Murder by the Book in Bar Harbor, Maine, Murder and Mayhem in Chicago, Crime Scene in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival in Virginia. Getting to do a mini-book tour with The Wickeds and featured in the Boston Globe with The Wickeds are experiences I won’t forget.

To celebrate the seventh anniversary of Tagged for Death, I’m giving away a complete set of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries on my Facebook author page! Here’s the link:

Readers: Is there something you’ve learn in the last seven years that sticks with you?

25 Thoughts

  1. So many congratulations, Sherry! Seven years worth of accomplishments – and you forgot to throw in being Sisters in Crime National’s President! We do learn so much along the way. (And I still can’t believe the Globe arranged that photoshoot for the one week I was a couple thousand miles away on vacation…)

  2. Congratulations, Sherry! Something I learned about critics: don’t pay attention to them; don’t even ignore them!

  3. Congratulations, Sherry! Look how much you’ve accomplished! I have to second your words about the crime writing community. Everyone laughs when I tell them that the people who write murder mysteries and crime fiction are so nice but it’s true.

  4. Definitely third your words about the crime fiction community. For a group of folks who kill people off for a living, they are super supportive – and you can always count on them to help hide the bodies!

  5. Congratulations on your anniversary! I look forward to many more years of reading your entertaining cozies!

  6. Congratulations, Sherry! I’m right with you on learning there are so many supportive people in the crime fiction community. Including you! I don’t remember what conference it was, but I do remember you coming up to me in the airport as we were waiting for our flights home. We had a great conversation.

    1. I have thought about that lovely conversation so many times! I’ve never been able to remember which conference we were flying home from either.

  7. Sherry, congratulations on your 7th anniversary of Tagged For Death!

    I was mostly a solitary reader of mysteries. My parents did not read mysteries nor did any of my close friends. Once I retired from work in 2016, I finally joined Facebook (yeah, it took a while). It was there when I found plenty of author page, an5d online groups where mystery authors and readers hang out, celebrate and support one another.

    I also learned about Netgalley in 2016. It was great that an enthusiastic reader like me could get ARCs of both my fave authors and new authors to read. I definitely became much more proactive in posting reviews online. I am happy to say that I will reach my goal of writing and posting 500 Netgalley reviews by the end of 2021. I currently have 496 completed reviews online.

      1. Sherry, reading the ARCs and posting the reviews are a lot of fun,
        And once I learned about how important book reviews are for authors, I made sure that I wrote a thoughtful, objective one and to post them online in several places.

  8. What a great anniversary to celebrate. I love your books and am so happy (tho’ not surprised) that you have been so successful and continue to write such entertaining books.

    I’ve learned I am never too old to learn new things. Being open to new ideas is so much fun!

  9. You can work for a company for over 18 years, but they will forget about you the minute you are no longer able to work.

  10. In these past seven years you have supported other writers at least as much as other writers and your readers have supported you. Really and truly, you are one of those colleagues who make this challenging endeavor feel possible. Thank you for all that you do, as well as for the wonderful books you write.

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