Defining Debut Author Success: A Love Story
As a debut author, I’ve had a holy ton of exciting firsts since ALL ACCESS was released. First book sale, first spike in Amazon rankings, first feature by a major book blogger, first shout-out in a Big Author’s newsletter. All fun things that make me a constant bundle of squeeing giddiness, to be sure.
But the most exciting things by far? Messages from readers.
Wait, What? I Have Fans?!
I remember the first “new fan” Facebook private message that came in. It was on June 26 — the day after my 40th birthday, four days after being published, and a couple days after being featured on the aforementioned Major Book Blogger’s website. The message-sender was a gal who was reading (and loving!) ALL ACCESS and was afraid she’d have to wait a long time for Book Two. (ALL ACCESS is the first book in The Fangirl Series, for those who don’t know.) She wasn’t even done with the thing and she was already worried she’d have to wait a while for the next one. And, not only that, she was so concerned, she felt compelled to write to me and ask when Book Two would be coming.
Like, huh?! How amazing! I was so elated, I saw nothing but unicorns and rainbows and butterflies the entire rest of the day.
But that was just the beginning, because a day later came another “fan” message. And then another. Reviews started pouring in. Comments on blogs. Gah! People liked my story! My characters! My words were resonating! An author’s absolute dream come true!
Next Stop, Inspiration Station
If all that wasn’t awesome enough, I started getting messages and comments from people telling me I was (gasp!) inspiring them to go after their own dreams. Me! Inspirational! They were watching me navigate my way toward My Biggest Dream (which took a long dang time and a poop-ton of dedication, no question), and as they were watching, they were starting to pay attention to their own soul’s nigglings. They began believing they could reach their goals, too. And they’d write me to tell me as much (and still do). * dies all over the place *
This is definitely when the happy tears/ugly cry combo started springing up on the regular. I couldn’t handle all the feels. I mean, I’m a Cancer anyway, so I’m naturally a basket of emotions, but this was too much. Because, quite frankly, if I hadn’t been inspired by others rocking their dreams, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. So to know I now had a place within the Dream-Chasing/Catching hierarchy was absolutely humbling. And beautiful.
Rules of Engagement
Now, each day brings fun and exciting opportunities to engage with new readers, fans, supporters, and all-around cool people.
By way of my writing, I get to entertain people, provide them with a few hours of pure escapism, and introduce them to characters who seem larger than life but are just as flawed, raw, real, and emotional as you and me.
But I also get to poke at the souls of so many people wanting — needing — to do “something more.” Because I dared to put myself out there, I’ve now earned access to the ears and hearts of those just waiting for someone to nudge them toward their dreams.
And I couldn’t be more happy or honored to be that person. That nudger. That inspiration.
Sure, author success can be measured in sales. In rankings. In social media following. But I believe I am far from alone when I say that while all that is nice and important, the very best measure of success for us authors is when our words connect with readers . . . and they’re not afraid to let us know.
Authors: what do you say? Do you agree, or do you have your own measure of success? And readers, I’d love to hear from you, too. Do you send messages to authors you admire? If you do, please keep it up. We love to hear from you, I promise!
About the Author:
Liberty Kontranowski is a romantic women’s fiction author who adores all things lovey-dovey with a pinch (or more) of hubba-hubba. When she’s not at the keyboard, she’s taxiing around her three boys, knocking back craft beers with the hubs, blogging, fangirling, and dreaming up more fake people. She also spends an inordinate amount of time drinking coffee and dreaming of the day she can bid adieu to far-too-wintry Michigan and move to a place where she can write with her toes in the sand.
Liberty loves to hear from her readers (and otherwise cool people) so give her a yell.
Every fangirl has a fantasy . . . what happens when that “if only” dream comes true?
Though she’s a single mom wedged firmly into thirty-something territory, author Kallie Reagan’s devotion to rock star Niles Russell knows no bounds. To pay homage to her muse, Kallie writes a smokin’ hot novel featuring a hero who looks and acts an awful lot like Niles — and a heroine who may or may not have a smattering of herself thrown in for fun.
When Niles learns about the book and surprise-texts Kallie, the two deliciously complicated creatives become fast friends . . . and so much more. But trying to define a relationship that’s laced with closeted skeletons, half-truths, and constant question marks proves harder than making it big. If they’re going to progress from Fangirl Infatuation to The Real Deal, these two need to give each other All Access to the most important place of all: their hearts.
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