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.
- 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 That book was my baby with years of studying writing and writing (still unpublished novels) behind it.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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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: https://www.facebook.com/SherryHarrisauthor/posts/589765685514266?comment_id=589794608844707¬if_id=1638449961815225¬if_t=feed_comment&ref=notif
Readers: Is there something you’ve learn in the last seven years that sticks with you?