Welcome to Debut Diaries—One Year On, where SCBWI-BI members share their highs (hopefully lots of these) and lows (hopefully fewer of these) of the post-publication year. This month, Tizzie welcomes Jess Butterworth, author of Running on the Roof of the World and When the Mountains Roared, to join her for afternoon tea.

After a whirlwind post-debut year, it’s a chance for Jess to put her feet up and share her insights over a cuppa and some carefully chosen sweet treats, which reflect the mood of the months following life after debut. Has the reality lived up to the dreams? What do you wish you’d known before the first thrills of your book birthday became a distant memory? And are launch parties and school visits really that terrifying?

June 2017 Cupcakes!
The book cover of Running on the Roof of the World

Running on the Roof of the World is published in the UK! And to celebrate I hold a launch party at Waterstones in Bath. I bring artefacts from my travels, including two toy yaks, cakes, snacks and wine, and am interviewed by the very lovely bookseller Bex, before doing a reading. They sell out of books, which is incredible and I sign them all too! (I did practice my signature beforehand; I have a long name and wanted a nice way to be able to write it quickly!)

Jess Butterworth with fellow authors Amy Wilson, Christopher Edge, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, and Sarah Driver
Jess with fellow authors at Waterstones Piccadilly. Left to right: Amy Wilson, Christopher Edge, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sarah Driver, Jess

Jess outside Waterstones

I also have my first author event at Waterstones Piccadilly with brilliant authors Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Amy Wilson, Christopher Edge and Sarah Driver. It’s a panel on the wonders of writing middle-grade fiction. I’m very nervous beforehand but once we’re talking I enjoy it.
October 2017 Apple Cake!

Jess Butterworth outside Waterstones Piccadilly in London, at the launch of Running on the Roof of the World

Jess Butterworth on a school visit

My first book tour! I visit schools, bookshops, am interviewed on Funkid’s Radio, speak at Bath Children’s Literature Festival and Althorp Literary Festival. The highlight is meeting the children who are interested in the books! They ask me the most brilliant, inquisitive questions. It really is a dream come true to see students open up their copies and read along with you.
I also receive the most amazing news that Running on the Roof of the World has been chosen by Booktrust as one of their future classics in the School Library Pack.

At the same time, I’m desperately trying to finish edits for book two!

During this month, I’m on a rollercoaster of highs and lows as I try to fit everything in and balance writing with publicity and a day job. Following the flurry of publication, there is a moment after the tour when news about the book suddenly goes very quiet and I worry that everything isn’t going as well as I wanted. In reality, everything is fine! My main advice is to try not to worry during quiet moments and to use this time to catch up on your passion – writing!
Before publication, start thinking about as many of these things as possible: an author website and social media presence, school visits, your next book. If the prospect of doing school events is daunting, attend some author events at literary festivals to see how others do it. For the previous five years, I volunteered at children’s literature festivals, where I was lucky enough to attend a broad range of author events. This helped immensely with planning my own school and festival visits.
April 2018 Wedding Cake
Cupcakes at the book launch for When the Mountains Roared
At the launch of When the Mountains Roared
Book two, When the Mountains Roared, is published in the UK! I’m delighted that Waterstones in Bath are happy to host another launch party. The celebrations continue as my sister gets married the next day!
It’s also time to hand in a first draft of Book Three, Swimming Against the Storm.
Followed by another book tour!
May 2018 Blue Velvet Cupcakes!
Running on the Roof of the World is published in the US and Barnes & Noble sell out of books at the launch party, where I’m interviewed by Washington Post journalist, Marie Elizabeth Oliver. Running is named one of Amazon’s best books for May!    

Jess Butterworth with other authors at Bath Children's Literature Festival, 2017
At the Bath Children's Literature Festival

Jess Butterworth on a school visit
School visit
Over the next year I’m planning to do many events in the US and the UK, and finish books three and four. My regular treats of choice to keep me company through all of this are dark chocolate oatcakes – I eat far too many of them – and dates! I love dates.
Jess Butterworth signing books for schoolchildren

Header image: Coral Walker

Author Jess Butterworth
Jess Butterworth spent her childhood between India and the UK and grew up hearing stories about the Himalayas from her grandmother. She studied creative writing at Bath Spa before continuing to do a masters in writing for young people there. She now lives between the U.S. and the UK.

Twitter: @j_t_butterworth

Author Tizzie Frankish
By day, Tizzie Frankish is a mum to two boisterous boys and a part-time University Tutor. By night, an agented writer who is plagued by her characters. She writes better in her dreams than she does in the cold light of day (thank goodness for edits!) and she’s currently working on a number of Young Fiction stories. Her works are often humorous and more often than not include animals—even if she starts out thinking they won’t.

Website: Tizzie Frankish
Twitter: @tizzief

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