How to Prep for Being a Debut Author

1. Take one day at a time. 

Give yourself reasonable tasks to do in a day and be satisfied with what you DID accomplish, not what you didn’t. Also, sleep is a must. Don’t stay up until 3:00 a.m. tackling your to-do list. No sleep equals more drama down the road.

2. Your brain may register compliments and criticism the same way. 

“I loved your book!” = “I’ll never write another book as good as this book!” / “I hated your book!” = “What made me think I could ever be a writer!” It’s best to look to yourself for validation and not anyone else.

3. Good stress and bad stress means STRESS for your body. 

My eye twitched for four months after I signed my book deal. I developed heart palpitations. Dairy foods don’t agree with me anymore, and I need an extra layer of deodorant since my armpits have decided to start sweating for the first time in my life. So until you find equilibrium with all the stress, be extra kind to your body and give it healthier foods and more exercise.

4. Every time you post something self-promotional, you’ll feel the raging urge to apologize. 

Don’t. Marketing yourself is part of the business, but try to strike a nice balance by shouting out for other people’s happy news, too.

5. Your family won’t understand, and that’s okay. 

My kids’ responses to my finished book arriving in the mail: (11-year-old) *picks it up for a second* “Huh.” / (7-year-old) “So this isn’t your fake book (my ARC)?” / (sister-in-law) “I thought your book came out months ago.” Families are here to keep us humble.

6. Tears are an almost constant companion. 

You’re feeling all your feels and the rest of the world’s. It’s cool. Just let yourself go with the flow.

7. Goodreads is not your friend right now. 

Do yourself a favor and stay off of it. Now is not the time to be filling your head with what all the critics think of your book. Now is the time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished!

8. Don’t be a prophet. 

You suck at it. “No one will buy my book.” “I’ll never get another book deal.” “I’ll lose my house.” “My family will end up on the streets.” DOOM, DOOM, DOOM. Stop those thoughts in their tracks. Focus on what’s real and happening TODAY.

9. Recognize when you need help and get it. 

You’re an awesome person. It took a lot of strength to come this far. You’ve written a book and are seeing it published! But it’s okay if you can’t handle the new and sudden pressure. It’s like building a block tower. If you stack too many emotions, deadlines, expectations, good buzz, bad buzz on top of each other, pretty soon it’s all going to come crashing down. So don’t be afraid to see a counselor, get a babysitter for the kids, ask friends for help…whatever the case may be. Don’t try to carry all weight yourself.

10. Allow yourself to absorb the happy moments. 

You worked hard for them. Don’t apologize. Receive the gift you’ve worked for and be grateful.


Kathryn Purdie is the author of BURNING GLASS, the first novel in a YA fantasy trilogy releasing March 1, 2016 from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. Kathryn’s love of storytelling began as a young girl when her dad told her about Boo Radley while they listened to the film score of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Her own attempts at storytelling usually involved home video productions featuring her younger sister as a nerd or writing plays to perform with the neighborhood kids. In high school and college, she focused on acting, composing sappy poetry, singing folk ballads on her guitar, and completing at least ten pages in her journal every night. When she was in recovery from donating a kidney to her brother, inspiration for her first novel struck. She’s been writing darkly fantastical stories ever since. Kathryn is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

5 thoughts on “How to Prep for Being a Debut Author

Comments are closed.