Tips on Being A Debut Novelist

writing tips

I wrote this back on LiveJournal (I feel so old) when my first traditionally published novel debuted. And… Well, I thought I might share it with you all.

Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend is good to go…
And yet… 
And yet….

I am really scared, which means I must create (you guessed it) a list.


1. Try not to pass out when you recieve proofs in the mail.

2. If you do pass out, try not to pass out on top of the dog. Vet bills are enormous.

3. Try not to rewrite the entire book when you see your proofs. This will be a temptation. Resist the temptation.

4. Once you mail back your proofs, stop thinking about them. Do not wonder if you should have written the dog instead of a dog. THE ARTICLE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE! HOLY CRUD! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? It is over now, let it go.

5. Realize it is not truly over. Your book is going to be out there in three months. THREE MONTHS!!!!!

6. Oh my God.

7. Pass out again.

8. Thank the man standing near you for catching you. Decide he’s cute. Vow to use him in your next book.

9. Realize that the world might not notice your little book. Sure you called it I had Stephen Colbert’s Love Child. Still …

10. Rethink your title. It would have been so much better if it was I HAD STEPHEN COLBERT’S LOVE CHILD IN MY PANTS. Call editor in attempt to change it. When he refuses curse author Maureen Johnson for making you doubt all titles that do not have the tag, In My Pants. 


11. Wonder how other authors get on CNN. Wonder how authors get awards. Wonder how authors stay sane. Wonder if they do? Any of them?

12. Then do the worst thing of all: Wonder if anyone will buy your book other than your mother and your high school creative writing teacher. 

 13. Panic

14. Hit your head against the refrigerator door and knock of the cat bottom magnets that you bought in a moment of weakness.

15.  Realize that you bought kitty butt magnets, and you are still being published. How can this be? 

16. Cry.

17.  Pass out again. Refuse to wake up this time. Shout, NO. NO! I’M DEAD. REVIVE ME IN 6.2 MONTHS WHEN MY BOOK IS BACKLISTED.

18. Decide to be a dentist.

19. Wonder if you’re smart enough to be a dentist if you can’t even get the numbering of a list quite right.

20. Decide yes.

Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can preorder it here. Please, please, preorder it. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.


My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!


It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods



Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 


This link to our last episode, Are You Beige and Do You Think in Words?

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.


We’re super psyched because this episode is sponsored by Ballsy. 

Best sponsorship ever. 

And why is that? 

Because Ballsy is for fun couples like us who are not into lame gifts for Valentine’s Day and they have a cool gift set just for Valentine’s Day and people like us. 

You want this, don’t you?

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at

Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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