Tales of author woe abound, but fantasy author Kameron Hurley recently published a particularly powerful tale of her own arduous quest as an author. The story ends, as one might expect from an author of scifi tales, with a heroic and heartening finale.
Hurley published her first three books to mixed success of ups and downs. As she noted, “There is no point in writing a second book when the first tanks. Your publisher is demoralized. You’re demoralized. Your fans are demoralized. It’s just… demoralizing.”
With a great book written but no publisher in sight, Hurley set about to turn the tide. Hurley embarked on writing two blog posts a day for three weeks last January. Then she scheduled similar blitzes in August and September. As Hurley put it:
The reality is that publishing your first book is when the real work starts. All that time you spent leveling up your craft, on dealing with rejection, on editing and revision: that was just a warm up for the crushing reality of life day-in, day-out as a published author.
Then there were the conferences:
I went to CONvergence, GenCon, and ReaderCon. I prepared for every panel. I drank too much scotch. I spoke tirelessly and graciously to every single fan. I printed out 1500 MIRROR EMPIRE samplers and stuffed them into bags with the generous folks at the GenCon Writers’ Symposium.
I sent out 50 postcards to genre bookstores and local libraries, and my alumni libraries, handwritten postcards of the “Buy my book!” variety. I distributed another 75 at local cons, along with more samples. And the free books: boxes and boxes of copies sent for giveaways, put onto freebie tables, sold early at GenCon, not just MIRROR EMPIRE, but the whole God’s War trilogy. Then there was the massive promotion the first two weeks of release for those who bought from Barnes and Noble…
In the end, Hurley won multiple awards, got signed by a publisher and sold thousands of copies. Now she’s writing her next book.