Cultivating First Novel Karma


Matt Stewart has written an interesting piece at the Millions about how to cultivate good First Novel Karma:

I thought I was a decent member of the literary community. I read local writers; I buy books at local bookstores; I go to at least one literary event a week. Then my own novel came out. Mountains crashed; music rang out; and I was flooded with the awareness that I’ve been doing a whole lot wrong.

A few weeks in, I’ve assembled a list of my top epiphanies. As you can see, First Novel Karma blends classic karma, the golden rule,  the pirate code, and old-school business ethics. Still, I’ve been shocked by how completely this Way has taken root in me; how seemingly obvious it (now) is; how, in most situations, there really is a right way and a wrong way.

The Way consists of a handful of precepts every writer should follow, to store up good karma for when your own first novel happens. Of paramount importance? Respect the Author, Shut up and buy books from people you know, and Don’t talk shit. But there are other precepts too.

Disclosure: I think Matt’s a great guy, he read at our last event (come to our next one in San Francisco Monday night!), and the other day when he was in the bookstore I at, I convinced him to buy our last copy of Boring Postcards. So there is all that.

Jeremy Hatch is a writer, musician, and professional bookseller leading a cheerful, aimless life in San Francisco. He is the Junior Literary Editor of the Rumpus and has a blog which he updates once in a while. More from this author →