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6 things that happened 2 months from my debut pub date

6 things that happened 2 months from my debut pub date

Tired: "My book comes out this summer."

Wired: "My book comes out NEXT MONTH."

(I can officially say that starting tomorrow.)

We're currently 42 days away, or right around 6 weeks, from Dad Camp hitting shelves.

It's all getting very tangible and real!

If you haven't been following along, I started this all because I remember obsessing over the debut publishing timeline when I first got my book deal (in late 2022). When would I see my cover art? When would we go out for blurbs from other authors? Get our first reviews? Hold the ARCs in my hand?

I've been documenting as much as I can for anyone who finds it helpful or interesting, and for myself to look back at later down the road.

So here's what's been happening with ~2 months left on my journey to publish my debut novel.

One. Book Club Guide.

Just a sampling! Hit the link to read the full discussion guide — warning, it might be spoilery.

So this is a fun thing — a few weeks back, one of the marketing directors at my publisher sent around an initial set of discussion questions for my book.

It's the kind of thing that hopefully encourages book clubs to pick and feature the novel for their group, giving them an easy download to facilitate discussions when they all get together to talk it over.

I reviewed and suggested a few questions of my own, and the final list was sent off to the art team to design into a beautiful handout/pdf download. It was fun to revisit the themes and inspirations for the book and imagine other people talking about them.

It's up on the Penguin website now, so book clubs — please consider Dad Camp for a juicy discussion on parenting!

You can read the whole book club discussion guide here — just a warning, there's a chance it might spoil some plot points of the book.

Two. First Media & Interviews.

The Dutton team has been hard at work pitching Dad Camp, and me, for media coverage.

We're starting to see some of the fruits of all that labor.

This month I did some of my first media interviews for the book, including a short podcast for writers/authors, and a phone interview with a writer for a local parenting magazine.

When those go live, I'll be sure to share them over on Instagram.

Dad Camp was also featured in a Debut Giveaway Bundle from the crew at Friends & Fiction, which was a cool surprise!

Three. More Reader Reviews.

At some point this all snuck up on me.

A lot of people have read early copies of Dad Camp and left reviews!

Right now I think we have something like 60+ ratings and reviews across various sources.

The response has been really encouraging so far! (Yes, I'm reading the reviews. I know I'm terrible).

It's not for everyone, but I never expected it to be.

It's nice to have a solid base of reviews and "social proof" when the greater reading public starts finding out about the book soon.

Four. In-Person Launch Event(s) Planning.

We're officially doing our first in-person book event at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, GA — a really cool area of town that's about 15-20 minutes from me.

Details are still being worked out, but I do know that FoxTale reached out to my publisher and offered to host, which is mega cool.

This is also how signed copies will come together!

I'm still figuring out the exact mechanics but apparently FoxTale will be able to either hold or ship signed copies to anyone who pre-orders through them.

I've had a lot of friends and family from out of town ask how they get a signed copy! Nice to finally have an answer.

There's a chance we add other events. I'm keen to do something in Baltimore this summer, where I have a lot of friends and family, but nothing's been decided just yet.

Five. Audiobook Narrator Locked In!

I mentioned in the last update that I had the absolute thrill of listening to about 10 different voice actors audition for the Dad Camp audiobook.

Good news — it seems as if we've landed our very top choice!

Sean Patrick Hopkins is going to crush it. And what a name, too.

I can't wait for him to bring these characters to life. I don't know the full timeline, but I've been told the recording is happening soon and the audiobook should be available at pretty much the same time as the hardcover.

Six. The Struggle Is Real.

OK, so despite all of that excitement I just listed out, things have felt... tough.

I've been chatting with a lot of other debut authors, and most recently have tried to take the pulse of my fellow June debuts in our group Slack.

Surprisingly, most of the people I've talked to that have books coming out around the same time as me are having a really hard time.

And I completely get it.

At this point most of us have realized a few harsh realities or suffered some disappointment, despite our books not being out yet. We've realized we're probably not going to be the next Reese's Book Club pick, or found that nobody wants to buy the foreign rights to publish our book in other countries (yet, at least), or have gotten our asses kicked by early reader reviews. We've all got something weighing on us.

I even saw someone whose book seemed to be literally EVERYWHERE — tons of hype and marketing push — say that all the buzz and attention was great but it wasn't translating to sales, and they were really down about it.

Our books are our babies, and at this point their success is almost completely out of our hands. It's so easy for your stress and anxiety levels to skyrocket.

This is the part where I wish I could say "I've been able to fight this off by doing xyz," but the truth is that I'm having trouble with it, too. I'm writing, and still enjoying the writing, but that doesn't keep the anxiety away all on its own.

I have a lot wrapped up in Dad Camp! Two years ago, it was just a fun side project, and finding representation and selling it was a joyous surprise. Now, it's become a big part of my livelihood and my identity. Having it fail would hurt like hell in more ways than one.

The thing that has helped the most, cliche as it is, is spending time with my family and my kids. Weekends are usually hard, and very (very) long, when you're parenting young kids. But I've come to really look forward to them more and more. It's a time for me to unplug and play and just be Dad.

All that to say...

If you're having a hard time in the publishing process and feeling guilty that you're not feeling on top of the world — my best hope for you is that you have a good agent, good editor, and a good community around you to help you get through it!

And if you're so moved, you can pre-order your copy here or leave me a glowing review on Goodreads!

Next time I write here we'll only be about 2 weeks away.

Buckle up!