Recently blogging friend Caroline Starr Rose asked me if I’d share my experience with my book release. Caroline’s first book, May B, a middle grade historical novel, releases in January of 2012. She’ll soon jump on the “Book Launch” roller coaster and join the wild ride.
Of course, each author’s experience on the “Book Launch” roller coaster will vary widely. Some of us may throw our hands up in the air, scream with glee, and ride with abandon. Others of us may end up puking our guts out and screaming in frustration.
Here's a break down of what the release experience has been like for me with both of my books. (But remember, this is my experience and yours may look very different!)
Several months before the release:
About three months before launch date, I begin to plot my promotion. I strategically plan events, giveaways, and special posts. I brainstorm on my own as well as with my publisher’s marketing department, and I begin to narrow down what I’d like to do (i.e. blog tour, book trailer, etc.).
This is usually an easy-going time. The ride is just beginning, and it’s a slow uphill climb. No major stress yet.
One month before the release:
Four weeks before the release date, the ride starts to pick up speed. I get busier as I implement some of the things I’ve been planning. For The Doctor’s Lady, I had a big book trailer kickoff. Then I started doing weekly trivia questions accompanied by book giveaways. I put a countdown widget into my sidebar. And I hoped to generate some excitement about the book.
In the process of getting others excited, of course I begin to get excited! My expectations are high, and I’m hit with the reality that “Wow, I have a book releasing!” and “This is a dream come true!”
Two weeks before the release:
A couple of weeks before release, readers begin to get their hands on the book. Early reviewers and influencers send me tweets or messages that their copies have arrived.
That’s the first stressful dip in the roller coaster. I can’t help worrying what people will think. For The Doctor’s Lady I had an especially migraine-inducing weekend wondering if readers would like the book as well as my first. Worries and doubts attack me. What if I bombed it? What if someone gives me a poor review right away?
One week before the release:
Friends and supporters begin to report back to me their thoughts on the book, and I pass their tests. At least so they say. Of course, I tell myself that none of them are going to be completely honest with me since they don’t want to hurt my feelings with any parts of the story they didn’t like. Nevertheless, I gobble up the praise like it’s rich chocolate.
Once again, I’m climbing back up. And I’m gearing up for more promotional work.
Even though some authors say release day is anti-climatic, I really try to make it a special occasion and am still optimistic. This year a fellow blogger Jaime Wright held the big kick-off for release day and the start of my blog tour. And then the following day I had a party post celebrating the release.
I was nervous that people wouldn't care as much about my second book's release, hoped people would join the parties, and was relieved and grateful when the parties didn't flop!
One week after release day:
It’s at this time, that most authors are beginning to get a true picture of how their book is being received by readers. Often we're checking our Amazon reviews and rankings, and we’ll be able to get an overall pattern of whether readers are enjoying it or not. This can be a letdown if readers don’t like the book as well as we’d hoped. Maybe we get some less-than-stellar reviews. Maybe there's a lot less attention or fanfare than we expected. Maybe we even face silence, almost as if no one really cares.
Fortunately for me, it’s been a positive time. I usually begin to get emails, tweets, and facebook comments from genre readers letting me know they’ve liked my book. Whew! (Thank you everyone!)
Two weeks to one month after the release:
The hard work of promoting begins to take its toll. I’ve found that it’s difficult to keep up with all of the communication and administrative details that go in to the promotion (i.e. sending out giveaway books, updating my website, finishing interviews, etc.).
Even though it’s a busy and stressful time, the weeks following my book’s release have continued to be a time of connecting with readers who enjoy my books which is one of my favorite parts about the process.
Several months after the release:
One of the hardest things is not knowing how well your book is selling. Sure I can ask my publisher for statistics. But those early numbers are never completely accurate (due to returns). So for several months after the release, no one really knows for certain how well the book is going to sell.
When I finally did ask my publisher how sales were going on my first book, I was a bit disappointed that it hadn’t hit the million mark. Okay, so not really. But I did have my expectations too high. And while my book sold well for a debut author, I realized I still have room to grow.
So that’s been my roller coaster experience!
What about you? For published authors, what about your “Book Launch” ride was different from mine? And for pre-published, what are you least looking forward to about the book launch roller coaster?
Make sure you check out these blog tour stops. Book GIVEAWAYS galore!
Monday 9/26: I'm guest posting on Preslaysa Williams blog: 8 Tips for Organizing Writing Time.
Monday 9/26: If you'd like to know how I'd respond to finding a purple polka-dotted monster in my kitchen one morning, then head over to the Book Loft!
Tuesday 9/27: I'm visiting with Dawn Alexander on her blog.
Tuesday 9/27: I'll be chatting with Cyndi Tefft on her blog and sharing where I'd buy land if I could!
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