One month ago, my debut novel was released. It’s been hectic, it’s been hard, it’s been wonderful. It’s been more fulfilling than I could have ever thought.
I haven’t hit major bestseller lists. I haven’t been named in best of the year lists.
School Library Journal did name How We Fall in their October list of what’s hot in YA. How We Fall has been ranking on Amazon in 1-3 categories since its release. I am thrilled.
I haven’t gotten fancy endorsements from from bestselling authors.
SLJ, Kirkus, Booklist, and Voya all came back with positive, very kind reviews. I can’t believe it.
I’ve been told that I wrote pornographic smut and I should be run out of town.
I’ve been told How We Fall was a fun, charming, and challenging read, and some readers have told me I’m their new favorite author. That is the height of what I hoped for and it makes all the work worthwhile.
I’ve heard that my soul is lost in darkness and I’m damaging the very readers I’m trying to reach, that teens shouldn’t be reading my books.
Readers from all over the US, and even internationally, have sent me photos of my book on shelves, in their homes, on vacation. Every one of them has made my day.
I’ve been thanked for writing intelligent, true-to-life teens. I’ve been told that it’s awesome that I wrote a book and got it published, I’ve had people tell me I should be having kids instead of writing, I’ve had a signing in New York City, and people have asked me why I couldn’t have written a “happier” book, a “cleaner” book, as if the realistic struggles of teens are something dirty.
My book is out in the world now, and people are finding it, and that alone is a huge reward.
Every kind review has meant the world to me, and I’m so incredibly grateful for all the Facebook, Twitter, and blog support How We Fall has gotten. It’s blown me away.
I believe in what I write. I believe I do write happy books–and to me, that means books where people can change, where bad choices aren’t always the end of things, where life is hard and maybe someone will show up to go through it with you. I am intentional with the content of my books, and I don’t just throw in sex and swearing for sales. Those things don’t increase sales, anyway. I include hard things, and difficult topics and actions, because they are important to me and we need to see those things represented and dealt with or not dealt with by characters in stories.
Publishing is always a mixed bag. But one month in, I love my mixed bag, and it’s a huge victory for me. I’m so thrilled with how well my book is doing, and how many of you have written to me to tell me you love it, and how fulfilling it is to know that because of your support, I might get to do this write-a-book thing again.
I am an author. I plan on sticking around. I still have stories to tell and things to say, so I’m going to keep writing. I love my book, and I love you for reading it.
And in case you haven’t thought of it, How We Fall might make a pretty cool Christmas gift. 🙂