Debut Author Series: UPDATES

After the Debut

After the debut… 
By Nicky Schmidt 

As a round up to a busy year and a half of Debut Author Interviews, I decided to find out what happened to our authors after that first thrilling experience of becoming a published author. 

Has it been all plain sailing or has it been a challenge? Have riches, success and glory followed? What lessons have been learned, what experience gained? I caught up with several authors to find out what life after the debut has been like. 


Ruth Fitzgerald 

I think my biggest lesson was realising how much self-promotion a writer needs to be prepared to do. I was very naive in thinking that once the book was published it would just sell! I had no idea that even getting it stocked in bookshops could be a bit of a push. Luckily, I have lovely publishers and was assigned a publicist and also given promotional materials and a website - lots of authors don't get this sort of support. 

I felt it was up to me to also do my bit so I set about arranging school visits. I e-mailed around 50 local primary schools offering to do a free author visit as long as the school agreed to a book sale. Lots of local schools took me up on the offer and through that initial contact I did around 30 school visits, learning what worked as I went along. I also started to get lots of word of mouth recommendations and am getting some requests from bookshops and festivals. I've also made some excellent contacts and am now starting to charge for visits. Actually, I enjoy school visits so much that I would probably be happy to continue doing them for nothing but don't tell anyone because I really need to pay the mortgage! 

I've had lots of exciting moments in the last year, Emily Sparkes and the Friendship Fiasco was recently long-listed for the 'Leicester Our Book Prize,' and both the first two books in the series have been Booktrust recommended reads. Emily Sparkes and the friendship Fiasco was also reviewed and recommended in The Observer - causing a lot of over-excitement on a Sunday morning! I am also thrilled to be going up 'on the stage' this year at the Winchester SCBWI conference - I've watched other writers do that for years not really believing I would be there one day! 

Book three in the Emily Sparkes series, Emily Sparkes and the Disco Disaster, is due out on 14th January 2016. 
Author website 


Lu Hersey 

Since Deep Water came out in July, I've been busy promoting the book and trying to finish my next novel at the same time - and getting the feeling I'm not doing either very efficiently! Hope to get a readable draft of the new book (provisionally titled Broken Ground) to the publisher by December. 

Things I’ve learnt: 

It’s difficult holding down a day job and writing books. 

Some days it seems like everyone on social media is managing everything much better than you are. Truth is, they’re probably not. 

The industry and the commercial pressures can really get to you if you let them. Just focus on your writing. Hopefully it’ll make you feel better. 

Other writers are generally the most supportive and wonderful people. 

Try and get to meet your readers. A teenager who came to one of my first workshops told me she loved my book and she’d read it three times. She’s possibly the only person on the planet who has, but suddenly I remembered why I was writing for teens. I really like them… 

Author website


SCBWI-BI “member abroad”, Nicky Schmidt is an ex scriptwriter, copywriter, and marketing, brand and communications director who "retired" early to follow a dream. Although she still occasionally consults on marketing, communications and brand strategies, mostly she writes YA fiction (some of which leans towards New Adult) in the magical realism and supernatural genres. When not off in some other world, Nicky also writes freelance articles - mostly lifestyle and travel - for which she does her own photography. Her work has been published in several South African magazines and newspapers. As well as being a regular feature writer for Words & Pictures, Nicky also runs the SCBWI-BI YA e-critique group. Nicky lives in Cape Town with her husband and two rescue Golden Retrievers.

1 comment:

  1. Eeek! There seems to be a theme - doesn't get any easier post-publication! Ah, the writer's life ...


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