Some say that not much changes once you’re published. Your daily life doesn’t suddenly transform into a more glamorous, magical “published author” existence. You still have to work hard at your writing (maybe even harder.) You still get rejected. You still feel miles behind other authors, no matter where you are in the journey.
But I’m here to tell you that some things do change. The first two books in my “Bachelor Fireman” series came out this May and June from Avon Books, and I’m encountering situations I never predicted. Take a look at this photo.
Could I have anticipated that my first book, THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME, would be in Target, sandwiched between books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Kristan Higgins, two of my favorite authors? No way! The feeling is utterly indescribable.
I also never anticipated getting the opportunity to visit the Fire Chief of the real San Gabriel, California – the books are set in a fictional town of the same name. Offering books to firefighters and watching them text their wives about them … priceless. Donating a Bachelor Fireman Gift Basket to the Hope for Firefighters fundraising event … priceless.
Getting emails from readers is also new. Hearing their reactions to the results of my blood, sweat and tears is a new experience – mostly great, sometimes terrifying. Once you’re published, your books are out there in the big, wide world and they no longer belong to you. You can’t change them, you can’t rework a character, you can’t throw in a great new plot twist. No longer can you get a critique back and hurry to rewrite your manuscript. It’s done. Cooked. The end. All you can do is focus on the next book. That’s new.
I’m learning to let go, wish my creation well, and move on to the next project. I’m also learning that I can’t just stay in my writing cave like a hermit who happens to be obsessed with romance novels. This July I’ll be part of a Romance Author Panel at the Garden Grove Regional Library in California. Meaning I’ll be in front a group of people, talking about … something, I’m not entirely sure what yet. I’m still grappling with the “in front of a group of people” part. I never did that before I got published. That’s a change.
Being published has expanded my world in ways I never expected. Change is good, but it can also be scary. I’m learning to hang on for the ride no matter where it takes me and my firemen.
If you’d like to know more about the Bachelor Firemen series, please visit my website at JenniferBernard.net.