Thursday, January 26, 2012

Good firsts and bad firsts (Tara Kelly)

In the writing world, this last year has been a real roller coaster ride of firsts, leaving me to wonder...what's next?

The Good:

My first book made two 'best of' lists (BFYA and Bank Street) and won its first and only award.
I gave my first award speech...ever.
I gained the courage to go out in public and do my first signings.
I participated in my first book tour, with a group of other authors.
I attended my first book related conference (NCTE) where I spoke on a YA writing panel for the first time.
A group of teens made their first movie based on my first book.
My second book made it onto major retailer shelves (a first for me).
I'm writing my first thriller, a completely intimidating and game-changing experience for me. It's forcing me way out of my comfort zone and making me take a hard look at where I'm weak as a writer.

The Bad:

The last book I wrote, my favorite yet, was the first to not sell. Broke my heart.
My first book did not make it to paperback.
I got my first taste of how a writer's numbers can affect a career.
For the first time since my short career started, I'm completely unsure of what's next for me. I have no new books coming out, and I don't know if I'll sell another.
I got my first hate mail and hate thread.

The verdict? I'm still here. I'm still writing. I'm not giving up. 2012 is going to be the year I take risks. It's going to be a fresh start. The first time I say--why not--when it comes to pushing boundaries in my stories and 'going there' with my characters. We'll see what happens next...


  1. Life is definitely a mixed bag. With everything shifting so rapidly in the book world, even great authors like you are facing challenges. Whatever you do, keep writing!


    1. Hate mail from a stupid person can be a badge of honor.

  2. I just read "Amplified" last night and really liked the story. To be more specific, I liked how you surrounded the lead characters with memorable, often quirky secondary characters. None of them were just walk-ons; all contributed to plot, scene-setting or other story elements. Someone like me who doesn't know anything about being in or auditioning for a band got an up-close impression of what it's like, without being aware of too much exposition. Most of all, I admired that with words as your only available tool, you so vividly conveyed the sound of the music and the energy and fear onstage.

  3. I'm a firm believer that no book ever hits a dead-end. I'm certain that you'll find a way to sell your latest book--an upswing is coming your way, I can feel it!