Top Five Best Things About Being a Debut Author

It has been nearly three months now since I launched Conditional Love and I am still enjoying the newness of everything. So much has happened since I clicked the ‘Publish’ link on Amazon that I thought I should record some of my favourite things in case I forget them:


1. The first time you see your book on a shelf

I knew that I would find Conditional Love in the romance section of Waterstones. I knew it because I had sold them some stock for the Nottingham branch on Bridlesmith Gate. However, seeing the green cover of Conditional Love facing out between books by Hilary Boyd and Fern Britton was so exciting that it was all I could do not to squeal, grab hold of unsuspecting shoppers and drag them over to book shelf!

As it was I restrained myself and got my camera out and took pictures from every angle instead!

EEP! Look what I saw in @WaterstonesNG today! I didn’t even have to fiddle, it was already facing out! pic.twitter.com/a09stKDMT7
— Cathy Bramley (@CathyBramley) December 5, 2013

2. Meeting readers

At a book signing event in November, I was blown away by the enthusiasm of people who came to see me, either to buy a copy of the book or to tell me how much they had enjoyed it already.

I even had one lady come to see me who had followed the story of my book launch in the telephone book, heard my interview on the radio and had journeyed twenty five miles to meet me and buy her own copy. I was very nervous when I launched Conditional Love and convinced that no one would like it – of course, some people don’t like it, I don’t like every book that I read, why shouldn’t my book be the same – but the response from readers has exceeded my expectations a million times over!

3. Support from other authors

I’ll never forget the time I saw that my book was next to a book by Katie Fforde in the Kindle charts. I tweeted to that effect and seconds later had a tweet back from Katie herself. As an avid reader myself, I was tickled pink by her willingness to engage with me – a totally unknown author. Similarly, I have had fantastic support from best-selling authors such as Miranda Dickinson, Adele Parks, Rachael Lucas, Abby Clements, Joanne Phillips, Poppy Dolan…. The list goes on! My background in industry is PR, I am new to publishing and I can honestly say I have never worked in such a kind and supportive industry such as this and I love it.

4. The generosity of kindness of book bloggers

Although I have worked in PR for many years, I chose not to go down the traditional book review PR route for Conditional Love for several reasons. Firstly time: my book was ready to be published in October but I didn’t have review copies ready until September. This was too late for magazines and newspapers, as they need at least an eight week lead time for a newspaper and three months for a monthly magazine. And I didn’t want to hold the launch of the book back in order to get reviews because, as a self-published author, I knew that in a fiercely competitive market, I would be overlooked in favour of new releases from the big six.

As an alternative strategy, I researched book blog tours and came across Fiction Addiction Book Tours run by Sharon Goodwin, winner of the Romance Blogger of the Year 2013. I booked a fifteen stop blog tour to support the launch of Conditional Love and this was possibly one of my best moves ever! Not only did I connect with fifteen faboulous blogger who have continued to support me long after the end of the tour, but I met additional bloggers in their circle who have asked to feature Conditional Love on their blogs.

The amazing thing about bloggers is that they do this out of love for books and reading not for money but their help is invaluable to the success of authors’ books.

5. Feedback from members of the public

Literally every day, I receive some sort of message, either on Amazon, Twitter, Facebook or on email from readers saying something nice. I really didn’t expect that and it means the world to me to know that someone has read my book and enjoyed it. On Christmas Day I got a tweet from someone who had received a copy of Conditional Love for Christmas, it was one of the highlights of my day!
Thanks for my pressie @TrulyMands Conditional Love @CathyBramley Can’t wait to start reading it. Merry Christmas x pic.twitter.com/EPNvAB4SmQ
— Sharon Flowers (@growyourown63) December 25, 2013


If you read a book this week and enjoyed it, spare a thought for the author and let them know – I guarantee you will put a smile on their face.

Cathy Bramley
By Cathy Bramley

Cathy is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby farm, The Lemon Tree Cafe and A Vintage Summer. She lives in a Nottinghamshire village with her family and Pearl, the Cockerpoo. Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has always been an avid reader, hiding her book under the duvet and reading by torchlight. Now she thinks she may have found her dream job.

Comments (7)

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    Georgina Troy 26 December 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Great post!

    I also booked a blog tour for my debut novel, A Jersey Kiss, with Fiction Addiction Book Tours and it was a fantastic way to launch my book and get to know many lovely, supportive readers and writers. I think this is how I came across your lovely book, I read an excerpt and had to buy my own copy!

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    Cathy Bramley 27 December 2013 at 11:15 am

    Thank you for your lovely comment, Georgina. What has been your favourite thing about launching your debut this year?
    Cathy x

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    fictionaddictionbooktours.com 27 December 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you for mentioning FABT Cathy. You were awesome to work with.

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    Donna T 27 December 2013 at 2:13 pm

    You are a truly lovely lady, Cathy, and as much as I loved your book (and I really did!) I think a lot of your success is also down to your fabulous personality. You have truly made your book what it is xx

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    Lindsey Mason 14 January 2014 at 4:55 am


    Just moments ago I finished Conditional Love and felt the immense need to contact you in some way and thank you for such a fun loving, wonderful book. It was truly a joy to read and I am already sad to have finished it. I’m a college student, home on winter break and have read about a dozen books thus far but this was the first book I had connected to personally. I am a business major, studying with an emphasis in marketing so I was pleasantly surprised to read that Sophie was working in the marketing career (although not happily). As a college student, I am both excited and awfully nervous about finding work or experience in the marketing world, but it did give me some comfort to read the muses of Sophie and her entertaining workplace. What even more connected me to this book, and to contacting you, was that I have a private dream (perhaps like Sophie’s of interior design), of writing. I have packed this dream into a small box in the back of my mind, realizing that I need to focus on my future in marketing, but I was thrilled to read at the end of your novel that you, yourself are in the business world. Conditional Love has inspired me and I genuinely thank you and wish you a wonderful new year. I’ll make sure to leave an Amazon review soon and greatly recommend your book to others around me.

    Lindsey x

    • Avatar

      Cathy Bramley 14 January 2014 at 8:40 am

      Hi Lindsey,
      What a lovely message to leave me! I’m so glad that Sophie’s story resonated with you. I have had immense pleasure from my marketing career and hope that you go on to do the same. Actually, I felt a bit guilty writing that Sophie was unhappy in her job, becasue many people would give their right arm to be working in the media!
      Good luck with your dream to write. There is no reason to think that you can’t write while you get your marketing career off the ground. I have heard several successful authors speak at lectures and everyone held down full time jobs at the same time at the beginning. I’m a firm believer that we make time for the things we really want to do (for example, I never seem to have time to go to the gym, but always find time to write or read!!)
      Once again, thank you for taking the time out to contact me and I look forward to reading your amazon review!
      Best wishes
      Cathy B x