Home > Blogging, Books, Editing, Writing > Five years an author

Five years an author

I published a novel five years ago today.

I didn’t mark the date on a calendar. It wasn’t even on the back of my mind. I noticed the date purely coincidentally.

A few days ago, my friend Ra posted an Instagram picture referencing YA literature. We exchanged comments resulting in my offering her a copy of The Monster’s Daughter, which had otherwise largely fallen out of my brainspace some time ago. I typically think of it only to smile and be thankful for how it led me to WordPress and the community I have found here. My blog was, in fact, named in reference to the book.

I dropped a book copy by Ra’s place yesterday morning. More precisely, my six-year-old tried dropping it in her door’s mail slot and running back to the car. He was perplexed when Ra opened the door in her dino PJs and reached for a hug. He loves him some Ra, but was thoroughly confused by the transaction. Wasn’t he just supposed to be facilitating a drive-by book drop?!

Ra soon posted on Instagram.

ra tmd

I was a little confused by the picture.

Was that mortifying artifact worth even a picture on Instagram? In my own mind, I’d reduced it to drivel typed by a four-year-old without typing skills. Ra’s caption led me to wonder if I might be slightly oversimplifying.

I looked at the book on Amazon. I read a newer review and reread older ones, marveling that most were pretty positive. I even took a few minutes to answer a question I’ve fielded many times since publishing: What happened to Joey?!

Bemused by the idea I might not have written junk unworthy of the paper on which it was printed, I revisited the very first blogs I wrote with the intention of being a Serious and Proper Author.

The entries made me smile. Revisiting them reminded me that I’d never been looking to publish a bestseller or literary masterpiece. I mostly wanted to make my recently deceased mom proud:

I wanted to rid myself of the guilty knowledge I’d written a bunch of books and just sat on them. In the wake of my mom’s death, that seemed a lot like hiding the talent my mom was so proud to see in all of her children.

I didn’t anticipate selling hundreds or even dozens of copies. Success as I envisioned it then wasn’t in how many copies I’d sold, but the fact I’d published a book at all:

It’ll be a few days yet till I get that real-final proof and publish The Monster’s Daughter. In the meantime, you’ll find me curled up in bed, feverish but delighted to see my book on my nightstand.

Over time, I saw less how I’d published the book and more how I’d edited too much here and too little there. Pride at the accomplishment eventually gave way to vague embarrassment at the content, until I sat here reflecting on my sister’s recently published first novel and my own unedited second novel ready to see a little editing love. Was my first book truly so terrible? Or was it just a first, ready to be joined by a new book improved by virtue of everything I’ve learned since publishing the first one?

I think I’ve landed on the latter. Life is especially busy these days, so I can’t say when I’ll start editing … just that, right now, I’m filled with joy at recognizing I might.

Sick as a dog but pleased as punch to be holding The Monster's Daughter in my hand for the first time

“Sick as a dog but pleased as punch to be holding The Monster’s Daughter in my hand for the first time”

Today, I’d love to celebrate my authorversary by sending a hard copy apiece to each of the first three U.S.-side people to request one. If you’d like one, please leave a comment letting me know where to email you for postal address information. I’ll follow up with you if you’re one of the first three to request.

  1. January 24, 2016 at 6:08 am

    I would love one! Do you just need my email?

    • January 24, 2016 at 6:09 am

      Yep! If the one linked to your blog is correct, I’ve already got it in the email notification for this comment. I’ll drop you a note there. 🙂

  2. January 24, 2016 at 6:20 am

    That is a great thing to celebrate!

    • January 24, 2016 at 6:24 am

      The timing of the conversations reminding me is so funny. I knew I’d published around this time of year, but I remembered it being early February. I must have been thinking of the date I switched from Blogspot to WordPress!

  3. January 24, 2016 at 6:25 am

    If I’m not too late…

  4. January 24, 2016 at 6:33 am

    YA Lit isn’t usually my genre, but I did enjoy The Monster’s Daughter. Happy Authorversary! Looking forward to the 2nd!

  5. January 24, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Oh congratulations ! I had no idea you had a book out. I’d love to read it but for your giveaway I am A too late and B in the wrong country.
    I would love to meet you and Ra.

    • January 24, 2016 at 7:40 am

      I was really, really loud about it at the beginning, but grew quieter the more I grew embarrassed about its imperfection. I’m reminded from this that it’s a good thing to revisit old conclusions occasionally and see if they still stand. 🙂

      Honestly, I’d be happy to send you the third and final copy though you’re outside the U.S. If you’re still interested, I’ll email you at the address that came with your comment and you can then reply if/as desired.

      (If you ever do make it out this way or I out that way, I would love to meet you!)

  6. January 24, 2016 at 7:46 am

    too bad I am Canadian…and also not one of the first three…..Happy Authorversary!

  7. January 24, 2016 at 8:08 am

    You’ll have one more book sold (though I know that isn’t the point) before the end of the day, as soon as I can get to a computer.
    Happy author anniversary!

  8. January 24, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Happy Authorversary!

  9. January 24, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Dagnabit! I’m too late for the giveaway. 😦 Congrats on your authorversary!!! 😀

  10. January 24, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Happy anniversary to the author!

  11. January 24, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Happy authorversary! 🙂
    I would love one, but I’m very much on the wrong side of the pond – I’ll look at Amazon 🙂

  12. January 24, 2016 at 9:50 am

    congrats on the anniversary!

  13. January 24, 2016 at 10:28 am

    I just love your humble nature. I think it is what drew me to your blog in the first place. A blogger ranted on her page the other day bout not getting picked up by a large publishing company, and I found myself irritated. So many would just love the opportunity to be published at all. Anyhoo. Congrats to you on your anniversary! That is awesome, didn’t even know you had a book published 🙂

    • January 30, 2016 at 12:12 am

      Thanks, April! Something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about recently is certain labels I identify with. I’ve disliked labels, or boiling complex people down to one or two words (or even lists comprised of one- or two-word entries), but recently found myself identifying very, very strongly with the words “introvert” and “egalitarian.”

      The latter is newer for me to recognize overtly. I’m discovering more by the day how deeply I believe all people are equal, no matter what their income, experiences, education, or what have you. I’m glad for the experience of having written a book, edited a book, and published a book. What happens after that is outside my control.

      And for others who want to have those particular experiences? The key difference is time. Maybe now isn’t the time. There isn’t something more magical or deserving in or about me, you know? There are a million other experiences I’ve had, and a million more I hope to have. Time will tell which ones will be mine, but in the meantime … I’m just going to keep trying to savor these amazing experiences of life: writing, editing, publishing, running, walking, connecting, breathing, looking at the sunrise, mothering, working, all of it.

  14. January 24, 2016 at 11:13 am

    I’m not sure how I stumbled upon your book several years ago – perhaps it was through your blog, or perhaps I found your blog because of the book (I’m pretty sure it’s the latter). Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed your book and I’m so happy to hear that you are close to getting back to editing book #2! Good luck with the process and Happy Authorversary! It’s a great accomplishment and you should be proud! 🙂

    • January 30, 2016 at 12:14 am

      Thank you, Arlene! Your review was one of those I revisited, so that seeing you here makes me smile and hope I’ll be seeing more of your words again before too long!

      • January 30, 2016 at 4:01 am

        Thanks Deborah. I took a bit of a hiatus from the blogosphere and probably won’t go back to actual blogging but I’ve been doing my own writing and trying to reconnect with those bloggers who I’ve really enjoyed. Yours has always been one of them! 🙂

  15. January 24, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I’m always surprised when I go back to things I wrote five years and discover they’re not as terrible as I’d remembered. As time goes by the editing process seems to dominate my memories much more than the strengths.

    Congratulations on your anniversary.

    • January 30, 2016 at 12:19 am

      Thank you! Also, wow, do I relate to your comment … in and outside of writing.

      When I remember myself as a kid, I remember all the terrible things I did to my siblings. Those were the things that made it into the autobiography that preceded TMD. It was almost completely worthless, and I’ll definitely never edit it.

      The good in it was having my siblings read it and ask me where the good stuff was. I had no idea what they meant. “The good stuff?” “Yeah, you know, singing with us, telling us tall tales, reading with us, stuff like that.” “Oh. Wow. There was that stuff, too, huh?”

      (Remarkably, one of my sisters posted a quote from that autobiography a couple of years ago. I read it and went, “Holy cow, there was a coherent, non-pretentious statement in the thing? Nice!”)

  16. January 24, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Too late for the giveaway, but not too late for Amazon! 😀 Congrats on your anniversary! Like many others on WP, my goal is to one day finish and publish a book, probably YA.

  17. January 25, 2016 at 5:00 am

    Congrats, Deb!

  18. January 25, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Loved this post. So weird how we can grow to be ashamed and think little of something that was an achievement! Revisiting old conclusions is worth doing occasionally!

  19. January 25, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Happy dance for the 5 year anniversary and Ditto to GlowWorm’s comment. 🙂

  20. January 25, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Happy Authoversary! I do not need a copy as I have the one I bought when first published. Thanks1

  21. January 25, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    may your work
    continue benefiting yourself
    as well as others 🙂

  22. January 26, 2016 at 5:06 am

    Congratulations! I had looked it up a while ago when you talked about it in a post. I’d love to be able to read an e-version of it, so if you can make that happen for Kindle in India, that’d be great!

    • January 26, 2016 at 5:18 am

      It should already be available! I just checked out the Amazon author dashboard and found this listed as the India site home for TMD. 🙂

      • January 26, 2016 at 5:23 am

        Oh wow, thanks a lot! I shall promptly get it!

  23. January 26, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Knowing what I know about myself, I think it’s odd that my favorite poet is Anne Bradstreet, but, alas, there it is. She wrote a poem for you about 350 years ago. Well, you and every other author who has the same woes (which is most authors, I would imagine): https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/author-her-book. Congratulations on this milestone! I’m going to make a point to find this rare gem and give it a good read!

  24. January 27, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Mazel! It’s a big accomplishment and huge effort… still working on being able to cross this T… but I’ll add your title to my list of want to read. Virtual high five!

  25. January 28, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Congrats my friend! This is what I get for waiting so long to catch up on blogs…missed my free copy. I’ll have to purchase one.

  26. July 20, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Dear Deborah,

    Greetings. I hope this finds you well and prospering and reading comments from old posts as they arrive. I found this by googling The Closet Monster and cherry picking a post to add this to. I think with your growing presence in the writing world that you may be swamped with comments. I hope this one finds you.

    I recently started an entirely new life in another country. Well, almost entirely new as I still carry wth me the memory of friends I made while in transition from my old life.Your friendship always meant a lot to me and I think of you often when something good is happening in the world. And so it was when I saw this article/news story. Just wondering whether you’ve seen it. Perhaps it will add an element of joy to your day as it did mine. It also added another brick of certainty to my knowledge that there is hope in this world and that our passage through life has meaning and that the Universe is aware and will help if we ask.


    I hope you and your family are doing well. The world is a good place because you (and people like you) are in it. Keep the flame burning.

    Best regards,


  1. February 3, 2016 at 4:12 am

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