Practical tips

Announcing your debut

1.Your first book might not be ‘the one’

Always have another project on the go

I thought signing with an agent would make getting published plain sailing. Alas, when the book that bagged my agent didn’t bag a publisher, I learned things don’t always work that way.

Luckily, by the time the rejections came through, I was totally immersed in the new project that became SMALL! So although the ‘no’s were disappointing, I was having enough fun in my new giant world to keep my chin up. That’s the big thing I’d recommend to anyone going on submission: always have another project on the go.

2. There’s probably a long wait ahead

Find a debut community

The next thing I hadn’t realised was how long you have to stay quiet about your book deal once you’ve signed it. (It was about eight months for me, but when telling the world about your book deal is the most exciting thing to have happened to you in the history of the world ever, those months feel like years.)

To handle the wait, find other writers who are waiting, too. I joined a Twitter group for 2022 debuts and it’s been the best place to quietly chat about the ups and downs of the publishing journey.You can see what the group’s up to (when we’re allowed to share news) by following @2022Debut on Twitter and Instagram.

3. Enjoy the moment…when it comes

Seriously, enjoy it

I love telling stories. But that doesn’t mean the rejections that paved the way to publication – whether getting a (constructive) battering in a crit group, a form rejection from an agent or a ‘no’ from a publisher – didn’t sting.

My debut was announced to the world yesterday. And, for now at least I’m allowing myself time to grin widely, skip wildly and check Twitter ever so slightly obsessively (I’ve been overwhelmed by the love and excitement people are showing SMALL! on social media. The kidlit writing community really is the best).

There are tough days in this writing game, but boy are the good days glorious.