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A Year in the Life of a Debut Author by Kelsey Browning

RU co-founder Kelsey Browning [1] gives us a month-by-month peek into her first year as a published author. 

Hola, Kelsey! 

Okay, I’m going to fudge a little and tell you about the past 15 months because it’s been a wild, wooly, wonderful ride. Although I began writing seriously in 2007, co-founded Romance University in 2009, networked extensively, and wrote six-ish books before getting a contract, I still didn’t know exactly what to expect from this whole being published phenomenon.

October 2012 – Cell phone rings, but the number is from somewhere in the northeast. Credit card people, I figure, so I let it go to voicemail.

Pick up message later and listen to Angela James from Carina Press tell me they want to contract four books. Holy shit!

Call Adrienne Giordano and say, “I think I just got the call.”

To which she replies, “Yeah, dumbass, you did!”

Mid-November 2012 – Receive developmental edits from my fantabulous editor, Deb Nemeth. Kelsey Browning - Headshot [2]

Immediately run to the cabinet for a foot-high stack of brown paper bags. Proceed to breathe into them one after the other.

Mid-December 2012 – After a number of freak-outs and what-the-hell-was-I-thinking-wanting-to-be-an-author breakdowns where I say things to myself like “These people think I can write” and “I’ve lied to them,” I return content edits to Deb.

Breathe momentary sigh of relief.

Late-December 2012 – Receive additional developmental edits from Deb.

Force myself not to become a frequent flyer at the neighborhood bar.

January 2013 – Return second-round edits and get an atta-girl pat from Deb.

Want to fall into a stupor, but must deal with line and copyedits.

Also, she expects book #3 at some point, so plot it (as much as I ever do!).

Co-draft book #1 in a completely different series (The Granny Series) and genre (cozy mystery).

February 2013 – Receive final edited Word doc of Personal Assets!

Feel almost as much pride as I did after birthing Smarty Boy after 10 hours of induced labor.

Begin drafting Problems in Paradise (book #3).

March 2013 – Get the news that Carina is branding my four-books series as Texas Nights!

Receive developmental edits for book #2. Not as bad as book #1.

But decide to torture myself and rip 10k words from the end of the book and completely rewrite.

Developmental edits take a mere month again.

April/May 2013 – Work on line and copyedits for Running the Red Light.

Continue to co-write In For a Penny, The Granny Series book #1.

Continue drafting Problems in Paradise, Texas Nights book #3.

June 2013 – Receive final Word file for Running the Red Light.

Go into major planning and execution mode for Personal Asset’s release in August.

July 2013 – Turn in Problems in Paradise with high hopes.

August 2013 – Receive Problems in Paradise developmental edits on a day when I already needed a bottle of wine. They are bad. Think about crying, but let the Chardonnay do it’s magic.

Personal Assets releases on August 26. It’s like trying to take a sip of water from a fire hose. Fun, but overwhelming.

I’m published – hell, yeah!

September 2013 – Turn in the hellacious developmental edits that make Paradise a much, much better book.

Say a little thank-you prayer for editors like Deb.

October/November 2013 – Do line and copyedits for Problems in Paradise.

Try to get my social media and other business affairs back under control after my debut. Hysterical laughter ensues.

Draft Texas Nights book #4.

November 2013 – Receive final Word file for Problems in Paradise. Three of the four books are in the can!

In For a Penny (The Granny Series book #1) releases November 5.

Remember I have another book releasing in January. Work on promo plans for Running the Red Light.

December 2013 – Finish the ugly draft-baby that will become Texas Nights book #4. Promise myself I will make it shine in January.

Finalize promo plans for Running the Red Light.

January 2014 − Clean up final book in the series.

Running the Red Light releases January 6!

For those published authors, did you experience a similar debut year? For those who WILL be published, is this at all what you envision happening after the call? 

RU contributor Ruth Harris joins us on Wednesday, January 22nd. 


Running_the_Red_Light_Cover [3]Running the Red Light [4] (Carina Press – January 6, 2014) After wearing a “Least Likely to Succeed” label all her life, Roxanne Eberly is hell-bent on making her Red Light Lingerie store successful. Although the residents of small-town Shelbyville, Texas, are a little…lingerie-resistant, she’ll win them over eventually. So when a former employer sues her, putting a major wrinkle in her careful plans, she reluctantly accepts help from hot-stuff Houston attorney Jamie Wright.

Jamie’s on track to become his firm’s youngest partner, but discovers an unwritten prerequisite—marriage. Turns out, the only woman he wants is Roxanne, but peddling thongs and sex toys isn’t a suitable career for the spouse of an up-and-coming attorney.

Jamie’s tangled up in Roxanne’s lawsuit, her life and her lingerie. But if they’re ever going to make it work, Roxanne’s big-city boy will have to decide what he values more: the career he always thought he wanted or the woman he never thought he’d fall for.


Bio: Kelsey Browning [5] writes sass kickin’ love stories and cozy Southern mysteries. Originally from a Texas town smaller than the ones she writes about, Kelsey has also lived in the Middle East and Los Angeles, proving she’s either adventurous or downright nuts. These days, she hangs out in northeast Georgia with Tech Guy, Smarty Boy, Bad Dog and Pharaoh, a Canine Companions for Independence puppy. She’s currently at work on the next book in her Texas Nights [6] series and The Granny Series [7]. Give her a shout at Kelsey@KelseyBrowning.com [8] or drop by www.KelseyBrowning.com [1]. For info on her upcoming releases, subscribe to her Sass Kickin’ News [9]

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22 Comments To "A Year in the Life of a Debut Author by Kelsey Browning"

#1 Comment By Carrie Spencer On January 20, 2014 @ 8:35 am

Holy moly Kelsey!

I’m hoping you had more than just that one bottle of Chardonnay in there! That sounds grueling!

How wild is your upcoming year going to be?

Great to see you here on RU!


#2 Comment By Kelsey Browning On January 20, 2014 @ 3:09 pm

Carrie –

Oh, you know, it’s a good thing I didn’t count the bottles. That might paint me in a bad light ;-).

And this year may be just as busy but it different ways. I’m about to turn in the fourth book in the Texas Nights series, and then it’ll be time to focus on other projects!


#3 Comment By Becke Martin Davis On January 20, 2014 @ 10:47 am

Kelsey – Thanks for a great post! How did I miss that RUNNING THE RED LIGHT was out? I just got it for my Nook.

I’m really looking forward to your next Granny book – the first one was fun!

I’m hyperventilating a little after reading this. I’m always excited when my friends sell a book, but now I’m a little scared for them, too. It sounds like you had a VERY scary (and exciting) year. It can only get easier now, right? Right???

#4 Comment By Kelsey Browning On January 20, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

Becke –

I’m not sure if it gets easier, per se. I just think you begin to better learn how to juggle and which things to let go. You know? I will say that you reveal an untapped ability to get things done :-).


PS – thank you SO much for buying Running the Red Light. Can’t tell you how much that means to me!

#5 Comment By Becke Martin Davis On January 20, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

You’re welcome – I wouldn’t miss it!

#6 Comment By Mary Jo Burke On January 20, 2014 @ 11:11 am

Hi Kelsey,

I’ve never received the call. Mine are e-mails. Good luck with your books!

#7 Comment By Kelsey Browning On January 20, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

Mary Jo –

Emails are pretty darn super too!

Appreciate all your support, Mary Jo!


#8 Comment By Carol Opalinski On January 20, 2014 @ 11:21 am

Thanks for sharing!! Good luck!

#9 Comment By Kelsey Browning On January 20, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

Carol –

Thanks so much for stopping by!


#10 Comment By Amy R On January 20, 2014 @ 11:38 am

After reading all that, yeah, I’ll stick to being a reader and enjoy the fruits of your labor and freak-outs. Keep it up! You are doing a great job!

#11 Comment By Kelsey Browning On January 20, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

Amy –

You just thought I was crazy before. Now you KNOW it ;-).

Thanks for all you do, girl!

#12 Comment By Jennifer Tanner On January 20, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

Hi Kelsey,

I think I need to take a breather after reading your post! Maybe we should add a ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ category. Is it what you expected or did you envision a different kind of scenario when you were contracted?

#13 Comment By Kelsey Browning On January 20, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

Jen –

You know, I have no idea. I’m not sure I expected the roller coaster for as long as it lasted (continues to last!). But the past year has definitely made me more confident in my ability to juggle projects. Now it’s time for me to learn better balance and work out the type of pace that’s maintainable for me.


#14 Comment By Kelsey Browning On January 20, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

Hey, y’all! I’ve been on the road today but am home catching up!


#15 Comment By Alison Packard On January 20, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

Hey, what about: July 2013 – met a lot of really cool authors and danced the night away at the Harlequin party at RWA nationals in Atlanta? LOL.

#16 Comment By Kelsey Browning On January 20, 2014 @ 5:25 pm

Dang it, Alison – I KNEW I forgot something. That Harlequin party was so much fun, but I never picked up my pink socks – LOL.

#17 Comment By Maggie Wells On January 20, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

I found your first year frighteningly familiar. The great part is you made it through, and there are many more adventures to come!

I agree wholeheartedly about Deb, she’s fantastic. Her edits are always spot-on and her insights never fail to make the story better than I ever imagined. 🙂

#18 Comment By Kelsey Browning On January 20, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

Maggie –

Thanks so much for popping by! The first year was fast and furious but so fun. It’s what I’d been working toward for years. I love that writing is a guarantee of wonderful adventures ahead.

As for Deb, words can’t even describe how she’s helped my writing :-).


#19 Comment By Brooke B. On January 21, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

What a fun post! I loved reading this. 🙂

#20 Comment By Kelsey Browning On January 22, 2014 @ 6:08 am

Thanks, Brooke – it kinda brought it home for me that I really have been busy for a few months. Such an amazing time. SO worth it when I hear from readers like you who enjoy the Texas Nights series!


#21 Comment By Renee Johnson On February 11, 2014 @ 6:33 am

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I just signed with a publisher for my first ever published novel and thought this post would give me an idea about what to expect. You are too funny – I hope! LOL.

Congratulations. I hope you are wildly successful and am looking at your line as soon as I sign off on this comment.

#22 Comment By Sarge On February 17, 2014 @ 9:43 am

I do write but not sure about…is it a publishable content or not. I want to share my stories that keep coming in to my mind but can’t dare to make it a release. Is there any way to know whether my content is good enough or not.