2018 was an amazing year, but 2019 will be even better

I signed more than 20 books in Borger, Texas, during Christmas at the Dome. People are seeking out, and paying for, my autograph. What a crazy thought.

I am an author. I couldn’t make that statement at the end of 2017. I was a writer, yes. I was even a published writer and had been one for more than a decade. But, at best, I was an “aspiring author,” or, more specifically, an “aspiring novelist.”

I had been “aspiring” for years. I had been dreaming for much longer than that. But something about 2018, and I truly have no idea what it is, caused me to take the leap. To jump from “aspiring” to “published.”

I learned a lot this year. I gained knowledge about the craft of writing a novel. I learned about the publishing world. Perhaps most importantly, I figured out a lot about myself, what I want out of life, and what it will take to get it.

So, to celebrate the end of this year and the dawning of a new one, I thought I would list the new things that I experienced in 2018.

A quick rundown of 2018

  • I completed a manuscript (which is about a hundred times larger than most of the news stories I wrote)
  • I wrote my first query letter (like a cover letter for me and my novel pitching an agent, whom I hoped would represent me)
  • I received my first request from an agent to read the entire manuscript (this means an agent is interested in representing me and my novel)
  • I received my first rejection from an agent (this is considered a badge of honor)
  • I received my first publishing contract (!)
  • I signed my first publishing contract (!!)
  • I approved the first cover for my first novel
  • I edited my manuscript three more times
  • My first novel was published (the group of people who’ve had their novels published by traditional publishing houses is both large and small, depending on what other numbers you’re using for comparison, such as the population of the country)
  • I was accepted into the International Thriller Writers (see previous parenthetical)
  • I participated in my first book signing event
  • People asked me for my autograph (see previous bullet point, and note that others who give autographs are typically called “celebrities,” though I have quite a while before I should consider myself one)
  • I was accepted into the ITW Debut Authors program, thereby allowing me to participate in ThrillerFest in July, which includes introducing myself and my novel to the thriller writing/publishing community, and do a book signing, in downtown New York)
  • I began writing my second novel (and am more than a third of the way done with the first draft)

What I already know will happen in 2019

  • I will complete a second manuscript (and start on a third)
  • I will begin writing and sending out email newsletters (click here to subscribe)
  • I will receive my first royalties check from my publisher (which, while I have sold some single copies myself, means I will have gotten paid for my fiction writing)
  • I will be featured in an article on The Big Thrill, the ITW’s monthly magazine (my most high-profile author interview to date)
  • I will do my first book signing at a Barnes & Noble (the giant of booksellers and, in my estimation, holds some prestige)
  • I will participate in ThrillerFest (see previous list)
  • I will go see a Broadway play (To Kill a Mockingbird)
  • I will go to Bouchercon 2019 in Dallas (a mystery writers convention, one I hope to participate in as well, and one in which I will get to be in the presence of one James Patterson)
  • I will contribute to this blog a lot more

Things I am sure will happen in 2019 but cannot guarantee just yet

  • I will get an agent to represent me and at least one of the two manuscripts I will be working on in 2019
  • I will sign my second publishing contract
  • I will find myself ranked highly on some publishing list (anything from New York Times or USA Today Bestsellers lists to ranked in the top 100 in one of Amazon’s many rankings)

Here’s to one of the best years of my life and to one that’s already guaranteed to be better. And thank you to all of you who’ve helped make all of the things listed above possible.

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