Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Revisit My Debut Year? No Thanks! By @vscotttheauthor

By Veronica Scott

(Parts of this post appeared originally on the SFF7 blog…)

A group blog for which I write regularly asked the question what would you change if you could go back to your debut year as an author. As we’re coming up on my 7th anniversary as a published author, I thought it might be fun to update that post. I also just released my 27th book this week, so I feel pretty good about my progress.

“If I could go back to my debut year…”  Um, why on Earth would I want to do that LOL?

My debut year was fun and sparkles and I DID get The Call, the actual CALL, from Angela James at Carina Press, to say they wanted to acquire Priestess of the Nile, which I had sent in response to a note on their website about wanting Ancient World romances. I was basically incoherent on the phone with Angela that day because I was so excited and thrilled.

That first year was so much fun because I had no expectations, knew  nothing really about the publishing industry or the ebook industry – Priestess came out as an ebook and an audiobook in 2012 but I did understand that status from the getgo (i.e. there’d be no print version) – and it was all fun and exciting. I think my view of the publishing world was still somewhere between Jo of Little Women up in her attic writing for a penny a word and Joan Wilder in “Romancing the Stone”, you know? I didn’t belong to RWA, I wasn’t in any author groups online, I only knew one other published author at the time.

I had a fulltime career at the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the business side of the house and this, having Priestess published, was a lifelong dream for me. In March, 2012 I also self-published Wreck of the Nebula Dream (“Titanic in space…”), so there I was with not one but two books out there and more to come in due time, I was sure. I had READERS. I had REVIEWS. Oh my gosh.

In that debut year I learned about blogging, the ins and outs of social media, fell in love with twitter,  worked with a fabulous editor (Allison Dasho), I joined RWA, I went to the national conference and met PEOPLE, I had a Carina Press balloon on my signing table, the Harlequin people came and talked to me, I was actually in the same room as Nalini Singh, signing books (the conference was in Anaheim so there were local people I l knew who came, who kindly had me sign for them). I was too shy to actually approach Nalini, which is amusing to me now and she is the sweetest person, easy to talk with. Her table was actually EMPTY of fans for a few minutes while she sat there and I was still too shy to walk up to talk to her! But then I was just in awe of breathing the same actual air as my favorite author.

So that debut year was all kinds of fun for me, in part because I didn’t have expectations about anything. I didn’t want an agent. I wasn’t angling for a contract with a traditional publisher. I had no thought of being able to quit the challenging and enjoyable day job. I was simply basking in the state of actually being a published author.

Now, if it was all so much fun, then you may ask why I don’t want to go back to 2012?

Well, I only got the two books out that year. I wrote another one for Carina, got a Revise & Resubmit letter, which was something of a surprise to me (welcome to the world of publishing LOL), and even after they did acquire it, the process to get it published was wayyyy longer than I impatiently expected…I decided self-publishing was my thing and scifi romance was my primary genre…I got bitten by the bug to hey, maybe work up to being a full time author (which took me three more years to accomplish)….

So the debut year was a very special time in my life and my memory, and I cherish all the experiences but I have no desire to relive it again. I like new adventures. I’m happy with having more detailed and concrete goals as an author, I like being deep in the scifi romance author community, I love self-publishing…lots more stories to tell and I’m always moving forward.

But thanks again to Carina Press for my start, and for the memories!

I think the one thing I’d tell myself in 2012 would be to write more books. Pronto. That self-publishing was in a gold rush mode thanks to the kindle and other ereaders and there were hungry readers out there needing content.  I was busy having fun, going to conferences, writing columns for USA Today/HEA and there’s nothing wrong with all of that but for the long term, long game as an author, the backlist needs to be hefty and healthy. I also should have buckled down and learned a lot more about advertising in various venues. I was good on social media and blogging (big at the time) but I could have done more, especially in the area of setting up a newsletter.

Of course all of that would have been drinking from a firehose for me as a brand newbie published author then and probably too much to absorb. Slow and steady did get me to the point where I was releasing 4-6 books a year and could go fulltime…

Would you do anything different in your debut year? What would you tell yourself as far as advice you wish you’d known then?

This week I published the seventh book in my Badari Warriors world, Kierce: A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance (Sectors New Allies Series). Here’s the blurb: Elianna McNamee, spaceship engineer, is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped along with all her shipmates to be used for horrifying experiments conducted on a remote planet by alien scientists. 

Her captors decide to toss her in a cell with a ferocious predator, expecting him to kill her…but Kierce, the Badari warrior in question, has too much honor to mistreat a human woman. The trouble is, he’s trapped in a form drastically different from his own as a result of twisted genetic meddling and hiding dark secrets to save other Badari lives.

Able to become a man again briefly with Elianna‘s help, he and Elianna bond over their mutual hatred for the enemy but when rescuers finally arrive, the pair are separated by well-meaning Badari authorities.

Kierce struggles to overcome flashbacks from the torture and drugs the alien scientists inflicted on him. He and Elianna despair over whether he’ll ever be able to regain his rightful place as a man and a soldier in the pack, much less be ready to claim a mate.

Elianna accepts a risky but essential assignment far away from where Kierce is being held, working with another man who’s more than professionally interested in her. Her heart belongs to Kierce and she can’t forget their two nights of shared passion but will that be enough to lead them to a happy reunion?

Amazon     Apple Books       Nook     Google    Kobo

Author Bio and Links:

USA Today Best Selling Author

Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!

She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”



  1. Your lessons learned are the same as mine: I should have been more productive, learned more about advertising, started a newsletter sooner.

    I think it takes a while to make the mindset change from hobby writer to professional author.

    But I am glad that I got my start by being published by a publishers first (Loose Id) before breaking out on my own. I learned a lot about quality editing, and I think I needed that external validation at the time. (Sales are my validation, now!).

    Enjoyed reading your publishing journey.

    1. I agree, I learned a lot from Carina Press...it was a wonderful way to begin my career as a published author, even if I did decide being self published worked better for me over the long term!

  2. If I could go back to my 1st year as a published author, I, too, would write more. I learned so much from ImaJinn publisher. Great post, Veronica.


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