3.     If you read reviews from readers, pay most attention to what they enjoyed about your book. These are your strengths; lean into them. It can be easy for the nay-sayers to have the loudest voice in your head. If you have twenty-five readers who love your main character’s crotchety attitude, the one reader complaining that she’s unlikeable and too negative stands out. If a couple of readers complain you use too many big words, you might be tempted to tone down the language next time, despite the other 98 readers who luxuriate in your rich language. You are never going to please everyone, so don’t try. Be true to your voice and the stories you want to tell.

4.     No one cares about your book as much as you do. This means you have to be the most detail-oriented person in the publishing chain. It’s okay to advocate for your book as long as you do it nicely and not every five minutes. And speaking of every five minutes…go easy on the social media promotion. It’s normal to have a flurry of events, posts, etc., in the few weeks around publication. But if you are talking about your book every day, you will turn readers (and friends and family) off pretty quick. Instead, talk about things that are writing-adjacent. Books in the same genre that you have liked. Research you are doing.

5.     Be nice. I like this one as a life philosophy in general. But publishing is a small corner of the world. If you are a jerk, it will get around. As authors, we’re often tasked with networking up the chain, trying to catch the eye of a Big Name Writer who might blurb our books or Big Name Agent who might sell our books, etc. I have been to networking events where people I was trying to talk to were nakedly looking over my shoulder the entire time, searching for someone more important. This is dumb. For one thing, some of the most important people in publishing don’t look important. These are people who may not have a lot of fancy publications themselves, but they are book buyers for a library chain or they sit on committees that decide on conference panelists or they quietly judge the Edgar Awards. The little-known author today may be the bestseller tomorrow. Be nice.

6.     When you hit a bump in the road, write the next book. The writing is all we control anyway, so it can feel good to take the reins again if you’ve had a setback. Book didn’t get an agent? Write another one. Your novel didn’t sell the way you’d hoped? Write a new one. Publisher went out of business? Write a fresh book to capture a new one. The solution to pretty much all publishing disasters is a new manuscript.

7.     Each new book brings its own particular joys. Maybe you got to write a character you’ve always loved in your head. Maybe a reader writes to say your book got them through a tough time. Maybe you land a review at a site you’ve long coveted or are asked to give a talk at your local library. Each time, there is a new and precious reward…which should be motivation to write that next book.