HOUSE AND HOME is Kathleen's first published novel and I recently asked her what changes this has brought to her life. I am pleased to welcome her to Books and Cooks!
How Life Has Changed Since I Became a Published Author
So I have to admit, I can daydream with the best of them. When I sold my first novel last year in a “pre-empt” after multiple publishers were interested, it was hard not to have some pretty big fantasies of runaway success. I saw my book atop The New York Times bestseller list for weeks on end. I envisioned a call from Julia Roberts, or Diane Lane, to say how much she loved the novel and was dying to star in a film version (with Reese Witherspoon in a rare, bad-girl role as Jordan). I perused million dollar houses online in some of my favorite places, such as Cannon Beach, Oregon and the San Juan Islands. I started contemplating which charities would make the best use of my generous donations. Now, two months after publication, here’s the reality. I’ve been lucky enough to get some fantastic publicity (rare for a first-time author) in O at Home, The New York Times, Family Circle, and USA Weekend, as well as in many terrific online sites (LHJ.com, freshfiction.com, curledup.com, and a host of terrific book blogs). But other than watching my Amazon ranking, which varies wildly from hour to hour (it’s 954! Oooh, wait a minute, now it’s 286,954!), I have no idea how well the book is selling. Hollywood has not yet called. No one has stopped me on the street to say Oh, my God, I saw your photo on the jacket of that amazing book I just read. You’re Kathleen McCleary! I’ve been visiting bookstores wherever I happen to be to see if they’re carrying the book and to offer to sign a few copies, so they’ll have autographed copies to sell. Every single bookseller has had to look me up in a database and then hunt around the store to find the book. One or two have asked me not to sign too many copies because they can’t return the autographed ones if they don’t sell. It’s humbling. The other day in Barnes & Noble I noticed the big CLEARANCE racks by the front door, with hardbound books selling for as little as $1.99. “So you realize I’m about six months away from the big sale rack here,” I said to my husband. He laughed, but it’s true. Here’s a statistic I found: More than 50,000 new fiction titles were published in the U.S. last year, which averages out to 960 a week. Yikes. And how many of those go on to become best-sellers, let alone best-sellers for more than a few weeks? And of those, how many are by first time authors? I’m willing to guess it’s just a handful. So since I became a published author, here’s what my life is like: I get up at 6:15 to get my youngest daughter up and on her way to school by seven. I try to walk with a friend for an hour after that. Then I drive my oldest to her school, and come home and write for a few hours. After that I do laundry, run errands, clean the bathroom, and perform a thousand other mundane chores before leaving to pick up my oldest at school and start the whole soccer/gymnastics/dance class car pool. I try hard not to look at my Amazon ranking. Don’t get me wrong, getting my novel published is the culmination of a life-long dream and is an accomplishment that I cherish each and every day. I LOVE having my book out there, I LOVE getting letters from people who have read it and been touched by it in some way. I’m enormously proud of the book; I’m enormously grateful for the support my husband and children have given me throughout the whole process. I’m blown away by the openness and generosity and passion of my readers. But I’m still scrubbing my kitchen floor myself, and dreaming about that house on Cannon Beach, with the views of the sun setting over the ocean.
Maybe when I sell book number two…..
Well Kathleen, I will definitely be looking for your next novel! And I would just like to thank you for taking the time to share your experience and for being my first author guest! I wish you nothing but continued success and that home on Cannon Beach! And now I'm happy to announce that Kathleen has graciously provided a copy of HOUSE AND HOME for me to give away to one lucky reader! All you have to do is leave a comment here for Kathleen. The contest will run through this Saturday (13th) at midnight (EST). The winner will be drawn at random and I'll post the results on Sunday the 14th.
You can learn more about Kathleen and HOUSE AND HOME by visiting her website at http://www.kathleenmccleary.com/ or http://www.everywomansvoice.com/. I'd like to take a moment and thank TLC Book Tours for sponsoring this event and for being so helpful to me. Be sure to look for these upcoming stops on Kathleen's tour:
Friday, September 12th - Breaking the Spine
Monday, September 15th - She Is Too Fond Of Books
Wednesday, September 17th -Caribousmom
Thursday, September 18th - Age 30 - A Year of Books
Monday, September 22nd - Booking Mama
Wednesday, September 24th -The Inside Cover
Friday, September 26th - In the Shadow of Mt. TBR