Please welcome Kate Brandes as our guest today! An environmental scientist with over 20 years of experience, Kate is also a watercolor painter and a writer of women’s fiction with an environmental bent. Her short stories have been published in The Binnacle, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal. Kate is a member of the Arts Community of Easton (ACE), the Lehigh Art Alliance, Artsbridge, the Pennwriters, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Kate lives in a small town along the Delaware River with her husband, David, and their two sons. When she’s not working, she’s outside on the river or chasing wildflowers. The Promise of Pierson Orchard is her first novel and debuts today!
A Community of Debut Authors Unite to Help Each Other
I’ve spent most of career, not as a writer but as an environmental scientist. Sometime in my mid-thirties I decided I wanted to try writing creatively. There was one problem. I’d never written fiction, nor had I studied creative writing, and I didn’t know anyone who wrote. I quickly sensed how vast an ocean I was learning to navigate and I was without a compass. If I was going to learn to write a decent story in this lifetime, I would need to build a writing community for myself.
I did that over ten years time. And building that community—people who are serious about writing and want to support each other—was probably the single most important step I took toward publication of my first novel, out this year.
Following the first few days of ecstatic bliss after learning my debut novel would be published, I felt a bit like I did a decade ago when I was just learning to write fiction—I had SO much to learn about publication. And this time I didn’t have a decade.
Luckily, shortly after my book deal was listed in Publisher’s Marketplace in early summer 2016, I received an email from a woman named Kellye Garrett, who, along with another writer, Mary Ann Marlowe, was starting a new Facebook group of writers with books coming out in 2017. Kellye asked me to join the group so we could share experiences.
Being a debut author is a bit like driving a newborn home for the first time. There’s so much joy and anticipation (of course), and it’s also a terrifying responsibility you feel ill prepared for. A new author must learn a whole world of marketing and book promotion in a very short time. Most unpublished writers have heard about this phase, but have paid little attention, since all energy has been spent on writing and finding an agent and publisher. [Read more…]