First Year Retrospective by Leslie Welch

My First Year as a Published Author

By Leslie Welch, author of The Goodbyes 

Exactly one year ago, I ran out of my house as the UPS truck pulled up. I hopped from one foot to the other, trying to stop the sting of baked, black asphalt against my bare feet.

To our UPS guy Mike, it was just another twelve-box delivery to the Welch house. But the boxes in this particular delivery weren’t filled with souvenirs from a late-night Amazon excursion with a bottle of wine.

My hops turned into a happy dance. “They’re books,” I explained. “Copies of my book.”

I almost offered to sell him the first copy right there in my driveway, but he didn’t seem interested. He gave me a half-hearted “congratulations” as I scratched my signature on his clipboard. Not my demographic, I told myself as he jumped back in the truck.

A few minutes later, I stood among the boxes in my driveway, knowing what was inside, and it still didn’t seem real. Inside those boxes were thousands of words that I strung together into paragraphs and chapters. Those chapters became Webb’s story. All of it stitched together, printed, and bound into 250 real books. And those were just my copies!

I dragged the boxes inside, one by one. Somewhere in the process, I started to panic. What was I going to do with 250 copies? Would anyone read this book? What if people hate it? What’s my grandmother-in-law going to think when she reads Chapter 25?

Then, things got busy. From July to November, I traversed five states. Almost every weekend I set up my table at a bookstore and greeted people walking through the door. At one of my favourite events, Blue Moon Publishers partnered with Hungry for Music, a non-profit that connects underprivileged kids with musical instruments. Instrument donations poured in, The Glimpses filled the store with song, and Barnes & Noble donated a portion of sales for that day. It was one of those events where everything goes right.

Over the last year, the stack of boxes in my office shrank from twelve to two. The Goodbyes is a finalist for Foreword Reviews Book of the Year, so it seems that people like it. Oh, and my grandmother-in-law thought I handled Chapter 25 tastefully (but she still thinks I could have used fewer “curse words”).

When I used to dream about being a published author, the fantasy jumped from holding a physical copy of my book to cashing giant royalty checks. But there’s a lot of work in between. So here I am, one year later, heavy with gratitude, recovered from my fourteen appearances, hosting a podcast, and I just hit the 25,000 word mark for my next book.

Every now and then, I pick up a copy The Goodbyes. I run my hands over the cover. I remember the excitement of the first time I held the finished book. It’s been an amazing adventure so far, but I didn’t do any of it alone. I had a team of talented people helping me along the way: Talia Crockett, my publicist, Allister Thompson, my editor, and my fellow Blue Moon Publishers authors who have become like family to me. Thanks to Blue Moon Publishers for giving me a once in a blue moon opportunity. I’m thrilled to celebrate The Goodbyes’ first birthday today!

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