Publishing World Wisdom from Sharon Michalove

Author Sharon Michalove lets us in on what she would tell her pre-published self in our ongoing author series! Her advice list below is a good one whether you're just starting out or well into your writing career. Good reminders!


I was born in Chicago and  grew up in the suburbs. The year America landed a man on the moon, I started college at the University of Illinois, never suspecting I would spend most of my life living in Champaign-Urbana. Over a very protracted period, I received four degrees from the University of Illinois because I didn't have the gumption to go anywhere else. Most of my career was at the university, where I eventually earned a PhD in the history of education, working in departmental administration, editorial offices, and libraries as well as teaching history. My specialties are 15th-16th century European history, cultural exchange between Venice and the court of Burgundy, women's book collecting, polar exploration, and food history.


The day before my first semester in library school, I met Peter Michalove. Do you believe in love at first sight? I do. I knew he was the one that first week. We married nine months later and were together until he died at the end of 2013. He remains a constant inspiration.


Having originally published nonfiction, I decided to adopt a pen name, Deborah Kahn and under that pseudonym I have a chapter, “Sylvie Green” in A Reason to Be Here, a collaborative novel. I also have another story “Hockey on the Moon” in the anthology Sci-Fi Stepdad.


By then I really wanted to write novels. I dropped the pen name--too much trouble with social media, etc. My manuscript, At First Sight, was selected as a semifinalist for the 2021 Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author manuscript competition sponsored by the Illinois Library Association. That gave me the courage to contemplate publishing the book. I now have four books available: At First SightAt the Crossroads, and At the Ready in the Global Security Unlimited series, and Dead in the Alley in the Death in the North Country series. 


My passions include music, theater, travel, and cats, trying out Chicago restaurants, and sampling gins and single malts. I moved back to Chicago in 2017 so I could go to more Blackhawks games and spend quality time at Eataly. Unfortunately my lifetime goal, to be English, is likely to remain unfulfilled.


These are the things that I’ve learned as the most important points to remember as I continue my writing career.

A writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. 

You’ll have moments of doubt, maybe more than moments, but you’re not alone.

Think of what you hope to accomplish by writing and set goals accordingly. 

Find your tribe within the writing community.

You’ll never stop learning—or teaching.

The writing never gets easier, even though you think it should.

Define your idea of success carefully and don’t give in to FOMO. Money isn’t necessarily the best measure.

Don’t measure your production by what other writers do. 

Find your pace within yourself rather than constantly rushing to “keep up.”

Remember that some of the most successful writers took years to reach “star” status.

Look back occasionally to see how far you’ve come. You might be surprised.

The one thing I always do to help make my new book launches successful?

I hire a promotion company to spread the word. And I get them to do a cover reveal to generate some buzz. 


You can follow Sharon's adventures on her website

Or on social media:  Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter





Great post! Lots of wisdom.

Great advice, Sharon. Thanks! And thanks, Valerie also.

Great post! You’ve given me lots to think about.

Great advice from the very smart lady!

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