Ruth Hogan: On Being a Published Author

Ruth Hogan: On Being a Published Author

  1. Securing publishing deals for The Keeper of Lost Things in 16 territories.
  2. Giving up my part-time job to become a full-time author (did I mention that I’m an author?!)
  3. Seeing the gorgeous UK cover for the first time – and then all the beautiful covers for the foreign editions.
  4. Seeing my novel on the shelf in a bookshop for the first time.
  5. My first book signing (although I did, and still do, find this quite nerve-wracking because I’m always worried that I’ll spell someone’s name incorrectly).
  6. Speaking at my first ever literary festival in Stratford Upon Avon.

But there have been other things too; smaller things that have made my heart sing…

  1. My dad being asked whilst walking his dogs if he’s ‘Ruth Hogan’s father’ (he was so proud) and my mum telling every cashier in every shop she visits about my book.
  2. Being ‘recognised’ by a post lady.
  3. Working with some of my foreign translators and agonising over single words and phrases via email at 10pm on a Saturday night.
  4. All the lovely messages from people across the world on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook who’ve read the book and send me pictures of their dogs.
  5. The lady who painted a picture called ‘The Lovely Cup of Tea’ and said it was inspired by the character of Sunshine in Keeper.
  6. Being asked by Macmillan Cancer Support to write something for their Facebook page because I’m ‘a positive role model’ (I shed a few tears).

So here I am living my dream and getting paid to do the thing I love most, but if I could go back 18 months and warn myself about anything, what would it be?

  1. Firstly, don’t worry so much. It can all seem a bit overwhelming at the beginning. I knew nothing about the physical process of getting a book from a manuscript to a hardback in a book shop, and at times I felt as though I had no idea what was going on. I needn’t have worried. My wonderful editor had it all under control and guided me through.
  2. Don’t spend hours in front of your laptop checking reviews and sales ratings. It’s an awful time-waster and you have books to write.
  3. Don’t agonise over one star reviews: you’re going to get them, and, at first, they hurt like hell. Don’t take it personally. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.
  4. Accept praise for your book graciously and don’t be embarrassed.
  5. Never use quotes from work that is not out of copyright. Obtaining permissions can be an absolute nightmare and very expensive.
  6. Don’t wear new shoes for a book signing tour. You’ll get blisters (I did, and I did).

And finally – and most importantly – enjoy the ride!