5 Things I Loved About Being a Debut Author

imagesAs our time as Debutantes comes winding own to a close (there are only 3 weeks left — sniff, sniff), we’re reminiscing this week on some of the things we loved about being debut authors. I loved so much about this last year but I’ll narrow it down to my top five.

1. Seeing my dream come true! This is the most cliche, but also the most true. There is no feeling that is comparable to getting that cardboard box of books with your name on the front cover. I’ve dreamt of that moment nearly my entire life (since I first saw George McFly on Back to the Future get his science fiction novel) and it was truly a HOLY COW, THIS IS MY LIFE moment that I will never ever forget.

2. Feeling the love from family and friends. I’ve always known that I had a great support group and community of people in my life, but it’s nice to be reminded. And I was truly gobsmacked, honored and humbled at how many people came out of the woodworks to attend events (one friend I hadn’t seen since high school flew in from Florida to attend my launch party! GOLD STAR of friendship for her), buy my book, tout it to their own friends and family, leave reviews and just generally make me feel like the most loved person in the entire universe.

3. The other authors. Not only the four amazing gals I got to know over the past year through this blog, but the community of authors in general that I’ve met and interacted with in social media and at events over the past year. It’s rare that an industry is so full of kind-hearted, genuinely nice people who go out of their way to help you succeed and give you advice and support and a shoulder to cry on when you are ready to scrap 112 pages of your MS and start over (um… hypothetically). In short, I heart authors and am so lucky and proud to be a part of this community.

4. Speaking of genuinely nice people — bookstore owners! I’m looking at you FoxTale and The Book Exchange and all of the other lovely independent bookstore folks I’ve met over the past year. It’s an awesome part of the job.

5. My first email from a stranger. When someone takes time to write you a note, gushing about how much they love your book, it’s just about the best thing that could ever happen. Every piece of reader email I’ve received has had me floating for days afterward. So the first one I got — which meant that not only had a stranger read my book and liked it, but liked it enough to send me an email about it— will forever be a fond memory for me.

So thank you all for being a part of this amazing year and cheering us all on! And to you writers-who-hope-to-be-debut-authors one day, these are all of the things you have to look forward to. YOU CAN DO IT!

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Colleen Oakley is the author of BEFORE I GO (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, Jan. 2015), a love story. A former editor for Marie Claire and Women's Health & Fitness, she's now an Atlanta-based freelance writer. Find out more at colleenoakley.com.

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