Karlsruhe, Germany – Photo by Barbara Jester

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my book’s publication–the perfect time to share a few things that surprised me about publishing a book:

    1. People genuinely admire you for having done it–for having completed something, for actually writing a book and getting it out there. Many people dream of this, few actually do it.
    2. Having authored a book, you become an authority. It doesn’t matter what your book is about; your authority flows from your book. After all, “authority” is an extension of “author,” isn’t it? Thanks to your book, you can now go out and speak about topics you’ve always known lots about, but the book has now established your “authority.” It’s amazing.

      London, U.K. – Photo by Katie Glasner

    3. By publishing a book, you’re providing a service to others. At a minimum, you’ve given them something to read, i.e. entertainment. But more than that, a book is a connector. At one of my recent events I realized that all these people wouldn’t be there, and wouldn’t be talking about this topic (Jews in Germany in this case), if it weren’t for my book, if I hadn’t written it and weren’t standing in front of them, providing the context.
    4. You better have book No. 2 up your sleeve! Every interviewer asked me what I was working on, or what my next book was going to be. Many readers asked the same. This caught me unawares–I was so focused on getting book No. 1 out the door, I didn’t really work on a pipeline of books (I’m not a genre author). Furthermore, marketing book No. 1 I left me no brain space to work on book No. 2. Thankfully, however, I do have book No. 2 ready to go, but only because I drafted and reworked it a few years ago. It’s a children’s book based on my mother-in-law’s experiences as a hidden child in the French countryside during the Holocaust, a story I thought would fit in Jumping Over Shadows that in the end didn’t because it needed to be told from my child’s point-of-view. Now I “just” have to work on publishing that one!

      Hong Kong – Photo by Sherilynne Poon

    5. The main thing people say about your book. In my case, that they couldn’t put it down. I certainly worked hard on creating a tight narrative, and I wanted my book to be engaging, but I never expected to hear it was “hard to put down.” (Jerusalem Post) More than once, readers told me they stayed up late to finish it. That is the best compliment ever! Now I wonder: How did I do that? 

      Jerusalem – Photo by Annette Gendler

    6. Your book will bring you new friends. I certainly expected to meet lots of new people, who cared about similar things I cared about, and I did have many interesting encounters. But it surprised me that, thanks to my book, I became friends with a woman in Jerusalem with whom I just clicked in that amazing way we sometimes click with another person, even though we come from vastly different backgrounds. She had reviewed my book, and we got together for coffee when I was visiting because she wanted to meet me in person. We ended up talking for three hours and could have gone on, had we not had other obligations. We’ve been corresponding ever since.

So, these are some of the happy surprises I experienced publishing my book; there were some unwelcome ones for sure, but those are not fitting for this one-year book publication anniversary post!

Tzfat, Israel – Photo courtesy of the Safed Edyth Geiger Memorial Library