Robin Antalek is the author of The Summer We Fell Apart (HarperCollins 2010), chosen as a Target Breakout Book. Visit her website at www.robinantalek.com. She also blogs at www.robinantalek.blogspot.com and thenervousbreakdown.com. Of course, you can find her on Facebook.
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As a debut novelist, you have no idea what to expect. There you might be, alphabetically anyway, rubbing book spines with authors you’ve long admired. Authors who have a fan base, who garner praise and accolades from their peers, you know, authors who have a career.
Before The Summer We Fell Apart debuted I was given the task of compiling a dream list of authors I would approach for blurbs. This is a very heady and humbling experience. My agent and editor at HarperCollins encouraged me to write letters. So I put everything I had in three to four paragraphs. It wasn’t hard for me to say why I loved their work and how very much it had meant to me – but why on earth would they drop what they were doing to read mine?
A few weeks passed and the blurbs began to trickle in …. words of praise from people who didn’t know me. Not only did they write lovely blurbs, but, they offered support in other ways. Links to sites, connections to bloggers, and other authors, what worked on tours and what didn’t, how to build a website, a mailing list, what to do at readings where one person showed, offers of support and encouragement. They made it easier to navigate a world where I still felt I didn’t belong. They introduced me to a world I only imagined, and slowly, magically, a network of authors both new and established emerged to usher my debut into the world.
Eight months past the debut of The Summer We Fell Apart and it is my turn. I have blurbed books, passed on advice, links, encouragement and support. Whatever I can do to pay it back – or pay it forward, I will do. I have been bolstered beyond belief by the kindness of strangers who I now consider friends and it is more than I ever dreamed possible.
Next week, an essay by Eileen Cook. Please submit your questions and / or Q4K essays (no longer than 1,000 words, and no attachments please) to questforkindness[at]gmail.com