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A Realm of Ash & Shadow Hype Week: 4 Ways to Survive your Debut Author Year

Good morning readers! At last it is Hype Week for the highly anticipated A Realm of Ash and Shadow by Lara Buckheit! Lara is taking over the blog for the next two weeks to share some snippets, snaps, and authorly wisdom.

A Realm of Ash & Shadow Hype Week: 4 Ways to Survive Your Debut Author Year

Whew. Since Sword & Silk acquired A Realm of Ash and Shadow, my life has been a whirlwind of bubbly excitement, stress, giddy pinch-me moments, and anxiety. AROAAS is my first book, my debut, and this past year has taught me four core things about publishing, community, and myself.

Let’s get into them!

Learn to Distract Yourself

I am not a patient person, and publishing is slowwwww. Sometimes it’s crickets, and then all these amazing things happen simultaneously. So take advantage of the quiet moments when your inbox has zero new emails and you haven’t heard back about Some Really Cool Thing ™. Those are the moments where you can focus on disconnecting, on distracting yourself with the next book you’re writing, on doing something that isn’t directly related to your debut. Throughout this year, I’ve learned that distraction is a beautiful way to learn patience. Stop refreshing your inbox, Goodreads ratio, NetGalley reviews, etc., and start learning to distract yourself in positive ways that continue to move yourself forward.

Make Friends With Other Debuts

Other debut authors are a great source of support! Make friends with them. Throw yourself into their DMs or join a dedicated Slack/Discord/Facebook Group for your debut year. I’m thankful for the 2023 Debuts chat I’m a part of. There’s something special about venting, crying, exclaiming, and supporting other authors in the same career stage as you. I love my friends and family to death, but there are only so many times I can complain about something before I feel like I’m annoying them or that they just don’t get it. This isn’t the case with other debuts. They’re going through the same motions as you, so making friends with them is the best thing you can do to prove to yourself you aren’t alone on this journey.

Remain Soft, But Thick-Skinned

If we’re friends, then you’d know that I am soft. I am sensitive. I am sometimes overly emotional. As a debut author, you’re going to be perceived. Strangers will critique your work and either love it or shit all over it. The good reviews will feel great, the bad reviews will make you forget all about the good things people have said. It’s a weird cycle that is unavoidable and avoidable at once. Don’t let other people’s opinions of your work harden your softness. You published a book! And people are going to love it. Focus on them. Write for them.

Self-Care, Always

Before I was a debut author, I used to run an Instagram that focused on my eating disorder recovery and self-care throughout that process. As my debut drew closer, I started prioritizing my self-care again because I felt like nothing was in my control (the same feeling I had in recovery). Sometimes, that self-care was glamorous—bubble baths, face masks, and massages. But, that self-care was mostly boring AF—making my bed, long walks with my dog (or through Target), and less screen time. By practicing self-care, I could slow down, step away from the stress of debuting and focus on my mental health and my needs as a person (not as an author). So whether your self-care is boring or luxurious, do something small daily. Your future self will thank you.

I could go on and on about the things I’ve learned as a debut, but I’ll leave you with this:

You’ve made it this far; don’t let anyone—not even yourself—or anything steal your joy.

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