Murder mystery author Susan Goldstein
Murder mystery author Susan Goldstein
Murder mystery author Susan Goldstein
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Was the First Time As Good As I Expected?

It is my one year anniversary. One year ago I accomplished my lifelong dream and became a published mystery writer. I have been reading mysteries since I was quite young and wondered, prayed, obsessed and plotted (both literally and figuratively) how to one day reach this goal. The solution it seems was precisely what every conference and course has ever taught me: write, write, rewrite and write some more. And then it happened. Some of my friends and even some who don't know me well have asked, was it as good as you expected? And the answer is, like so many answers in life (particularly as you get older), in some ways yes and in some ways no.

Some would counsel me to skip over the negative in the telling of my first time. I won't do that, but I will start with the positive. The first and a genuinely amazing thrill was the Publishers Weekly review. If they had simply said I wrote a book, that would have been enough of a thrill but they went on to say things like "delightful fiction debut" and "supplies one surprise after another as the action builds to a suitable Hollywood ending." Publishers Weekly didn't make my day, they made my year. A magazine I've read, respected and from which I've been guided in the world of fiction for decades gave me a good review. PW made me feel like Sally Fields at the Academy Awards, "You like me."

I watched my Amazon number go up and down and up and down. Sure, I wasn't seeing numbers like Michael Connelly or Dean Koontz but there were some weeks when I felt like a little big shot! People were buying my book and actually taking time to post "reviews". And unlike some who have a "shill" write a good review, my good reviews were coming from complete strangers. Call this thrill number two.

But thrill number three ranks ultimately as the most special. Year one, with all the ups and downs, proved to me that I could do this, I could do it again and maybe even better. Ideas came flooding into my head distracting me from a busy law practice and making me anxious to get home to my computer. Having one book "under my belt" was only a beginning. I was on my way and just needed to write, write, rewrite and write some more. And that's what I'm doing.

What part wasn't good? The personal bookstore appearances, which I had been warned about by almost every one of my author friends, turned out to be just as they told me. But for the scores of amazing friends and family who trooped out to San Diego and LA and NYC and Palm Springs to show their support, I believe I would have been a very lonely author sitting in some very large bookstores. No matter how much one gets the word out, it's hard for a first time author to pull people away from busy schedules to come bookstores. Equally disappointing is how many bookstores are scared to take a chance with a new author. To those who did, I say thank you from the very deepest core of my being.

It was grand to see my book in print, hold it and admire the gorgeous cover my publisher took the time to create. Hollywood Forever is now an eBook. Its digital arrival coincided with Valentines Day. Perfect timing and completely apropos. Year one has been one incredibly glorious Valentine.