My First Anniversary + Giveaway

Today is the 1st anniversary of the release of my first published book.  Wow, I’ve been a published author for a whole year!!

I find that many authors—myself included—don’t take the time to savor the milestones. I always tend to worry about the next deadline. So this morning, I wanted to take some time to contemplate this past year and what it’s meant.

There was the thrill of release day, seeing my book cover go live on the various retail sites. The wonderful emails and Facebook messages from family and friends congratulating me on such a momentous day. I’d worked hard on my writing in general and LYING EYES in particular, so I was thrilled to see it hit the #1 spot on the Carina Press store that day.

Of course, the euphoria was followed by doubt. Biting my nails as I waited for reviews. Learning that not everyone will view a story the same way. One reader’s trash is another reader’s treasure. And, ultimately, accepting that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Opinions don’t change the quality or value of the story I wrote. They may chip at my confidence as I write the next story, but I do my best to power through and write the best story I can. I hope that every story will be better than the last.

I got to experience the challenge of explaining to my local friends that they couldn’t buy my book in a store because it was a digital book. For those of us who spend a lot of time on the Internet, this seems like a little thing, but I was surprised that the chasm between digital and printed books was still wide. It’s also been interesting that people who, a year ago, didn’t really understand the concept of digital books, now own Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, iPads and more. Liz was right in her post yesterday–the technology, she is a changing!

There was also the cool experience of having my book recorded as an audio book for Audible.  Plus, I got to meet the talented Cris Dukehart, the voice of my audio book, in New York City last summer. BTW, Cris did a great interview at Romance University recently where she explained what her book narrator job is like.

I got to enter the RWA® RITA Awards as a debut author. And, as an offshoot of that, I actually received a handful of print copies (an unreleased version) of LYING EYES. Way cool to see physical copies of my book. Thank you to the little elves at Carina!

I received my first royalty check this past year. True to what I’d heard, there were a lot of papers and figures involved. The check did not fill my retirement nest egg completely. And so I looked toward a second book.

I took a leap of faith and self-published AMBERSLEY this past summer. I did it quietly, in the midst of a lot of personal turmoil. (Those who know me will remember my father passed away unexpectedly last January, then we sold the family home in June. It’s been a helluva year.) Publishing this book was not about money or my career—it was a way for me to pay tribute to my mom who, more than anyone else, instilled within me a deep and abiding passion for books. And so, I did very little promotion around the book. I just let it be available. Oddly enough, it “took off,” and hit the Top 100 list on both B&N and Amazon.

I experienced the creativity-numbing challenge of juggling “marketing” with writing. How to keep an eye on the the books that were now released, analyzing sales and trying to figure out what factors helped or hindered, yet stay focused on writing the next stories. Okay, admittedly, I wasn’t pushing hard on the next stories (see above paragraph re: personal turmoil), but I was working on a non-fiction project. Finding balance is an ongoing goal of mine. I know it’s out there.

And, on an up note, I received some wonderful notes from readers—readers I did not know personally, which made the notes that much more special. Readers who loved my story or my characters or both. Readers who wanted to know if I would be writing more stories set in Las Vegas or in Regency England. Yes and yes. I will cherish those notes always. Always.

And here I am, at the end of my first year. Oh, I’m still like a toddler out there among experienced authors. I still have a lot of books within me to write. I have a lot to learn about the industry and about readers’ expectations. Like a toddler, I’m still finding my voice, testing my legs, and I’m as likely to get into things and make a disaster as anything! But, I’m also willing to explore new ideas, new horizons and I see everything as an adventure.

And, in honor of my 1st anniversary, I will give one lucky commenter today a total of $36.50 in gift cards (one or two, electronic or physical–winner’s choice for retailer, as long as I can buy and send the card!).  Why such an odd amount?  That’s one dime for every day of my first year as published!  So, plan a little extra holiday shopping on me and leave a comment by tomorrow night (Wed., Nov. 16th) by 9:00 p.m. EST.  I’ll announce the randomly selected winner here by Thursday morning.

Today’s question? What was the last anniversary you celebrated? Was it a birthday, wedding, divorce, new job, or something else?

Thanks for helping me celebrate today!

About Amy Atwell

Amy Atwell is a storyteller at heart. After fifteen years in professional theater, she turned from the stage to the page to write contemporary capers and historical tales that combine romance and adventure. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When not writing, she runs the online author communities WritingGIAM and Author E.M.S.
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56 Responses to My First Anniversary + Giveaway

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Happy anniversary! It’s been a tumultuous year for you, with great ups and downs, but never boring. I know your success will continue and whatever you do in your writing career will be wonderful.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks, Edie! It’s an exciting time to be an author–even with all the industry changes and technology advances. I’m so glad I had the gumption to pursue my dream! Know that I’m raising a glass to EVERY author out there today!

  2. Sandy says:

    Happy anniversary, Amy. I hope your writing career continues to take off. It’s hard to fight off the doubts, but if anyone can you will.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Sandy. I do find writers to be a very supportive group overall–maybe it’s because we all understand what it means to feel those doubts. Best wishes on your continued success as well!

  3. Misty Evans says:

    Woohoo! Congratulations, Amy, on all your successes in the past year. I enjoyed Lying Eyes and I hope you’ll write the sequel!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks, Misty! Lying Eyes was such a joy to write. I’ve started the sequel, Cheating Hearts, but it’s been very bittersweet to try and write. There’s a pretty central father figure in that series and while I didn’t fashion him after my own dad, I find writing about the father-daughter relationship has taken on a whole new meaning. But I will get it done–if for no other reason than I really want to write Book 3–except I have to know exactly what happens in Book 2 first! LOL

  4. Gail Hart says:

    Congrats, Amy!

    My most recent anniversary? November 2, the 30th anniversary of when I was first licensed to practice law.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Wow, Gail–congratulations on such a momentous anniversary! Raising a glass to you (okay, it’s a bottle of water at this hour, but the sentiment is the same). CHEERS! (funny, the spam word I got for this post is TOAST–how fitting!)

  5. Cathy Perkins says:

    Congratulations on your writing anniversary! You’ve accomplished a lot this year and we can wait to see what next year holds.

    Latest celebration? Surviving 6th filing deadline at the day job and reviving with 5th masterclass through Lowcountry RWA. 🙂

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Hi, Cathy–thanks for stopping by. I know you’re about to embark on your own first year as published very soon! Yikes on the deadline, but how nice that you got to revive on the Atlantic coast. Now, that’s a celebration!

  6. CrystalGB says:

    Happy anniversary! The last aniversary I celebrated was my 8th wedding anniversary.

  7. Na says:

    Happy Anniversary of your book’s release Amy! A year seems to fly doesn’t it? We don’t really celebrate many anniversaries aside from birthdays. We kind of like to celebrate every moment we are together. 😉 June is a big month because there are a handful of birthdays to celebrate. Enjoy your day!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks, Na! Birthdays are very special. Last year, I was fortunate to have all my siblings in town for mine. But I like your plan of celebrating every day as special. We humans so often get caught up in the stupid stuff of life that we forget to live it and love those around us. Thanks for sharing my day with me!

  8. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Amy,

    Really? It’s been a year already? Are you sure? Where the heck did that go time go?
    I remember when you sold! And your release day not to mention many other important days this last year.

    Wow! Definitely champagne time. Major congratulations on a tumultuous and lovely year as a published author!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      LOL, Dale–yes, I’m sure it’s been a year. A very full year! Okay, I still haven’t cracked open the bubbly. I have a conference call in about an hour and then I have to drive to the pharmacy, and THEN, then I get to come back and truly celebrate. Thanks for sharing the day–and much of this past year–with me!

  9. Jill James says:

    Amy, you’ve had an amazing year.

    We celebrate our anniversary every year without fail. I was in a terrible relationship before Mr. Right came along and he had his father as an example of how not to be a husband. So we know every year is validation we are doing it right.
    Jill James`s last blog was …A job is a job.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Jill, thanks for stopping in and sharing about your wedding anniversaries. I feel very fortunate to have somehow married Mr. Right the first time. It’ll be 23 years next summer, and I wouldn’t trade any of them. I’m so glad you’ve found that, because I cannot think of anyone more deserving than you to have wonderful things happen to. Congrats on your first release this year. Can’t wait to celebrate your 1st anniversary of published too!

  10. Cynthia Eden says:

    Happy anniversary!!!
    Cynthia Eden`s last blog was …Happy Veteran’s Day

  11. Jane says:

    Happy First Anniversary, Amy. Thanks for letting us celebrate with you. I don’t think I celebrated any anniversaries this year. My birthday is next month.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Jane, I’m happy to share the celebration. Promise to come back next month and tell us it’s your birthday, okay? We’ll celebrate all over again!

  12. Congrats, Amy!!! You’ve accomplished a tremendous amount in just one year — I’m thrilled for you!! Happy, Happy Anniversary 😛 . xo
    Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Austen & the Magic 8-Ball

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks, Marilyn! It has been a tremendous year–and a tumultuous one. But I got through it, and I learned a lot about writing, about publishing and, heck, about life.

  13. I am in awe of all you can and have accomplished. You never cease to amaze me.

    Anniversary? Well, the first sighting of my debut book was yesterday! WOW. What a trip. AND on Thursday is my 27th wedding anniversary! Where did the years go?

    Congrats on your one year anniversary and am looking forward to many many books from you.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks, Cynthia! Congrats on your upcoming release–you have all sorts of wonderful pre-release firsts coming your way. Enjoy it–you’ve deserved it! Congrats on your wedding anniversary, too. Successful in love and marriage–that bodes well for writing romances.

  14. blodeuedd says:

    Last one, well it had to be bf’s and mine 3 year anniversary 🙂 Good food, took it easy and I was just happy to have spent 3 years with him
    blodeuedd`s last blog was …Review: The Pledge – Kimberly Derting

  15. Liz Kreger says:

    Congratulations on your first anniversary, Amy. Excitin’ stuff.

    You’re totally right that you should stop and look over what you’ve accomplished in the past year. Savor it … turmoil and all. You’re never going to have another first release, so wallow in the experience. Reviews (good and bad) are always good to have. Not everyone is going to enjoy your stories, but I always find it interesting what readers and reviewers pick up.

    Enjoy the coming years … they’re probably gonna be busy.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks, Liz! Good advice (I love having “big sisters” here at MM to give me advice!). Yes, I’ve mostly enjoyed this past year. Wallowed a little at times. Still lots to learn. Lots to write.

  16. jeanette8042 says:

    Congrats on your anniversary and all that you have accomplished! I can’t wait for more of your future work!

    The last anniversary I celebrated was one of my best friend’s birthday. We had a nice girls’ night out and just caught up on life with lots of cake and presents!
    jeanette8042`s last blog was …18 and Over Book Blogger Giveaway Hop Winner!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks, Jeanette! I will be sure to tell everyone when I have future fiction work ready for release. Love the sound of a girls’ night out with cake and presents. What a great way to celebrate. Right now, my DH is cooking dinner for me. Sweet, eh?

  17. Happy Anniversary, Amy!! Loved Lying Eyes, and look forward to reading Ambersley (heard such wonderful things about it). You deserve all the success a person can possibly have. 🙂 Those negative reviews can sting (experienced some recently myself), but all it takes is one good review to find your smile again. 🙂

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Good to see you, Donna! Thanks for the kind words, and yes, I’m fortunate that the positive feedback is, so far (knock on wood), outweighing the negative. Still, it stings, you’re right. Hugs to you on the tough reviews. Have faith–you’re an amazing author! Smile with me, okay?

  18. Maria Geraci says:

    Amy, you are so right when you say we must celebrate every little milestone. Congrats on your first year anniversary!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks, Maria– yes, each milestone is special. In our busy lives we tend to blow right past them. I’m trying to make sure and pay attention to my inner child! LOL

  19. Diane Garner says:

    Happy Anniversary, Amy! You rock, girl! I’m one of those pesky readers eagerly awaiting the sequels to both books. You promised! Imagine what you can accomplish in a year without so much personal turmoil. Wishing you a calmer year.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks for the “calm year” wishes, Diane. I sure could use them. And how sweet of you to be waiting on those sequels–yes, they’re coming. I will publicly congratulate you on a number of recent contest finals. One day, you’ll be celebrating your 1st anniversary, and I can’t wait to cheer for you!

  20. Barbara Elness says:

    Congrats on the anniversary of your first book publication, sounds like it’s been a very eventful year. The last anniversary I celebrated was my birthday on November 1st. It was a big one, so I took my vacation and spent it with my sister and her family in California.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Happy belated birthday, Barbara! How wonderful that you got to travel west to see your sister. That’s what I call a celebration. I appreciate you stopping by to celebrate with me–wow, this has been quite a turn-out.

  21. Liz says:

    Congratulations on your first writing anniversary and best wishes for many more.

    My most recent anniversary was my birthday.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Happy belated birthday, Liz–and thanks for the congratulations. Yes, here’s to many more years of writing and publishing. This is one industry where, in general, the longer you’re in, the better you get. I’m so eager to see what I’ll learn this coming year.

  22. How cool! You’re right, as authors we don’t celebrate enough. You think we would, as hard as it is getting and being published! lol. Congrats on your success!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks so much, Lori. You’ve had some releases this past year–did you take time to celebrate any of them? Or were you always under another deadline? It’s really tough sometimes to come to a full stop and say, “This is what I accomplished,” when there’s always so many MORE things to accomplish lying in wait! Glad so many have stopped by to celebrate. Cheers!

  23. Chelsea B. says:

    The last anniversary I celebrated was my birthday, which was last month 🙂

  24. Amy, I am here late … but better late than 🙂 You are an amazing talent, a generous and kind person, and this anniversary marks only the first of many you will enjoy in your writing career. My most recent anniversay celebration was for the year, month and day I decided to retire and write full time. Naturally, I’d love my next significant anniversary to be more akin to yours. We shall see. Thanks for being you and write on 🙂
    florence fois`s last blog was …Welcome Anne R. Allen …

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Hey, Flo–thanks for the kind wishes (you made me smile over my coffee). Super congrats on that big step of retiring and turning your full time attention to writing. I quit my day job in 2008 but didn’t make my first sale until 2010. Sometimes, you gotta hang tough in this business. (Ah, Ramen noodles, how I love thee….) Here’s hoping you celebrate your 1st sale, 1st release and 1st anniversary of published in the near future. Promise to come back and share it with us!

  25. Pamk says:

    Happy Anniversary. The last anniversary I celebrated was me and hubby’s 25th anniversary. And they said it would last lol
    Here’s to many more books for you and more years for me.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Pam, I am toasting you and your husband and your 25 years together with my cup of coffee this morning–brava!! That’s so worth celebrating–and I love that you proved the doubters wrong. Thanks for the cheer and sharing my celebration.

  26. Pamk says:

    Happy Anniversary. The last anniversary I celebrated was me and hubby\’s 25th anniversary. And they said it would last lol
    Here’s to many more books for you and more years for me.

  27. Brenda Hyde says:

    Actually I realized the other day that I started my writing/reading blog over 2 years ago and didn’t celebrate! I also completed NaNo for the first time last November. The last celebration though was with my husband for our 22 anniversary last February. 😎 Congratulations on your book/publishing birthday. I hope this year is less traumatic, and that you write even more great stories!
    Brenda Hyde`s last blog was …Cowboy Crack: Interview with Vivian Arend

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Brenda, congrats on your two years–and big ol’ congrats on completing NaNo! That’s such a commitment, one I’ve never completed successfully. Thanks for sharing in the celebration, and I’ll be thinking of you in February for anniversary #23.

  28. Tiffany Drew says:

    Happy Anniversary!!!

    The last anniversary I celebrated was actually on Tuesday, it was my birthday 🙂

  29. Amy Atwell says:

    And the winner is…. Just a quick update to say CONGRATULATIONS to Donna Marie Rogers! Her comment number matched the number pulled by my cyber-friend Donna, I’ll contact you about your $36.50 gift card/gift certificate. Thank you all for helping me celebrate!

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