Debut Year in Review!
This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared in the December 2019 edition of my newsletter Readiculous Musings. You can subscribe for it HERE.The year has been a wild ride! My debut YA fantasy novel, Wicked Fox, came out in June of this year. I got to travel to promote the book and I was able to announce the title of the sequel, Vicious Spirits. Sometimes I feel like it just happened and sometimes I’m so shocked that it all happened this year! I’m so happy I got to celebrate the launch of my book with amazing family, friends, and readers!
My launch event at Books of Wonder moderated by the wonderful Tochi Onyebuchi
Debuting is very exciting but it’s also a lot of hard work. They say that writing is a second full-time job, but I would also argue that promo for your book is a third full-time job! Writing a book is hard. It involves so much time, creative energy, and emotional energy. But doing promo for your book is a different kind of hard. It’s pretty much saying to the world, “I’m good enough and talented enough for you to spend money on my work!” And, I gotta say it was very difficult for me to do that in an authentic and organic way. Perhaps it’s because I was raised in a very Korean style where we were supposed to be great, but never overtly talk about how great we were. (I guess it’s the lifestyle version of “show don’t tell” lol). So, to talk about my book in a way that could entice people to buy it meant that I had to gush about a story I had written. It went against everything I was taught as a kid. Still, I was very proud of what I’d accomplished. And I wanted to shout about it from the rooftops. And, in that came the anxiety that has forever been a part of me. I’d talk excitedly about Wicked Fox and then immediately feel paranoid that I was being too excited, too loud, too much. And I’d spiral quietly in my own head. But, this is all where my friends and community came in. I have said anywhere they’ll let me that I feel so lucky that I had good friends and support before I got my book deal. I am so grateful for all of my critique partners, many of whom are at a similar stage as me. As well as an amazing best friend (shout out Claribel A. Ortega, everyone go buy Ghost Squad!). And, finally, I truly trust my agent and editor to do the best thing for me, my book, and my career. I know I’m in good hands. I was so lucky that I got to travel a bit to promote my book this year and often, I was with someone that I truly considered a friend! It made the act of talking up my book in unfamiliar places feel a lot safer because I could look over and see a friendly face!
Our DVPit panel at ALA Annual in Washington DC!
There is also the fact that there will be things you truly want that you won’t get. It’s hard to discuss because we don’t want to seem ungrateful for literally being able to live out the dream of publishing a book. So few people get to do this, and it’s such an amazing gift that I can write stories and know other people can read it. But, I like to be transparent and honest, and I know some people who subscribe to this newsletters are writers as well. What I do when there is something I really want but don’t get (or don’t think I’ll get) is use my list making skills and I make a list of all the good things that I do have to give myself perspective. It’s also good to be part of communities so you can see what others are discussing, what other people are struggling with. Because when you want something that you don’t have, then it’s good to remember that you might have something that someone else wants as well. And in that vein, there will potentially come a time that you get something that’s a total surprise. For me, I truly never thought I would sell foreign rights or be chosen for a book box. Those things are such amazing bonuses for any writer. So, when I was told by my editor or agent that those things were happening it took me a bit to actually accept it was happening. Even as I was reading the words in black and white in my email, I kept looking for the caveat (like “you sold Spanish rights, but only if you howl at the full moon three months in a row and find the elusive midnight flower in the field of dreams!”). I was also so stunned that I was able to go to some book festivals like Texas Teen, NYCC, Miami Book Festival. AND, I was floored that I got to go to Switzerland and meet international readers!