What I Loved? A Top Ten List

What I loved about being a debut author? Oh, just everything. I loved being a Deb. I loved talking with readers and other writers. I loved that day I typed “the end” and I especially loved the day I knew my book would be published.

I loved so much about the experience that I need to get organized just to tell you about it.

I went to college at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. The university has been made famous by its connection to—and sometimes by the ribbing it takes from—David Letterman. Letterman retires from his show next year, but if he’s given us a lasting cultural artifact, it has to be the top ten list.

So without further ado:

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The Top Ten Moments of Being A Debut Author as Good or Better than Promised

10. Receiving my cover designBlack Hour cover web2
I was prepared to cry if I didn’t like it, but I loved it, and I still do. It’s so soft! Go to a bookstore and pet it, I dare you. You will want to take it home, and it never piddles on the floor. Never.

9. Having dinner with fun librarians at PLA
Going to Public Library Association’s conference in Indianapolis was a no-brainer. I’m from there! But getting to talk to librarians about my book for the first time was so great, it made the whole trip even better. (Even made a new friend. Hi, Tara!) Also I got to visit my nieces, who are the cutest.

8. Moderating the debut author panel at LCC
I signed up for my first Left Coast Crime based on two criteria. It was in California. It was in March. Normally in March, I’m in Chicago. Again, no-brainer. The panel I got put on as moderator, though, was worth the price of admission. We had so much fun. Thanks to MP Cooley, Sherry Harris, Holly West, and Carlene ONeil for a great time.

7. Talking to a full crowd at my Chicago launch party
You think you’ll have a big blow-out launch party, but who knows who’ll show up in reality.

Guess what? Everyone. There were so many people there from so many aspects of my life, anybody could tell me they were there that night and I would believe them.

10519501_10153011391314745_1229173394782193480_n6. Visiting my childhood library as an author
My launch party in my home town was so sweet—literally, cake and strawberry punch! mmmm—and so special to me in other ways. This was the place I discovered Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark. My parents were there, my sister, my nieces again—they are big readers, those two—as well as friends from just about every stage of my Hoosier life. Go WeBo! Spirit fingers!

5. Working with my editor and team at SSB
You hear stories, right? But the people at Seventh Street Books have been so helpful and patient with my newbie questions, and my editor is The Nicest Guy. Also these folks know how to put out a book, y’all. Check out their other titles. Quality stuff.

4. Sending a starred review to my agent
Never mind that Publishers Weekly said her name was Sarah. Sharon Bowers was the first publishing pro who said, “I love your book,” and so it was a thrill to send her the good news as it came in that other people did, too. That Q&A with PW was pretty snazzy, too, just saying.

3. Learning The Black Hour would be reviewed by the New York Times
I mean. What? I’m still not over this one. #humblebrag #sorry

2. Seeing my finished books stacked up at BEA
I’d already been sent a real copy of my book, and had geeked out over the shine on the cover and over the spine (because on the advanced reader copies, the spine wasn’t the right font, etc.). And then I saw them stacked in give-away piles in the Seventh Street Books booth at Book Expo America in New York.

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Scott Blackwood. Look him up. You won’t be sorry. SEE HOW SMALL out soon!

Yes, I took a photo of the stack but it’s not as good as the photo of me getting to sign books at the same conference as my MFA director. Boom.

1. Receiving the book cover for my SECOND book
The truth of the debut author is that this isn’t the end—it’s the beginning. And nothing says “let’s do this again” more than that email with my book cover art for book number two, LITTLE PRETTY THINGS, out from Seventh Street Books in July 2015.

Unfortunately I’m *not quite* able to share it with you. ARGH.

Make some noise this week so maybe I can post it on our very last Sunday News Flash post. It is indeed a little, pretty thing.

That’s what I loved about being a debut author, but I can’t finish my last post for The Debutante Ball—I can’t believe I just typed that—without saying what I loved about this place. It was all my fellow Debs, of course, and all the readers who shared this great year with us. Thank you.

OK, one bonus thing I loved. Call it dessert. Cookies with The Black Hour‘s cover on them, courtesy of JKS Communications, my publicist! Are they adorable? And really tasty, too.

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Lawrence Deans bakery in Wilmette, Illinois, before the emails even start.

Keep writing, everyone, and thanks for a tremendous year.

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Lori Rader-Day is the author of the mystery THE BLACK HOUR (Seventh Street Books, July 2014). She grew up in central Indiana, but now lives in Chicago with her husband and very spoiled dog.

This article has 17 Comments

  1. I can’t believe we’re talking about this year in the past tense! It’s all gone by so fast but like you said, it was better than promised.

    Wishing you many, many happy years ahead (and I hope we’ll still be privy to the details along the way 😉

  2. Lori, I can’t believe it’s been a whole year! Congrats to you and all the other Debs for your successes this year. And yes, it’s just the beginning! Looking forward to seeing you at Bouchercon and other events for book-lovers 🙂

    p.s. Now you’ve got me wanting to return to my hometown library! One of my favorite pictures of me as a kid is as a toddler in front of the library.

  3. Yay for librarians! I was raised by librarians, so I have to say that. My parents met while working in a library and they used to make out (at least 😉 ) back in the stacks.

    If you can’t post the cover here, post it on your own blog (that’s my main mission this week anyway — to get everybody to revitalize their own blogs so we can stay in touch 🙂 )

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