How to launch a book

A year ago, I was gearing up for the release of “A Symphony of Cicadas.” And the anticipation to actually publish the book was killing me. In fact, my patience was so thin, I published it a week before the date I announced it would be released.

Here was my official announcement. Isn’t that newbie author just adorable (and so naive)?

The truth was, there was no reason for me to wait that extra week. Besides my friends and family, no one else really knew anything about my book at all, or that this really awesome story was about to be revealed to the world. I don’t fault myself, I just didn’t know how to get the word out there.

A year later, and I’m still learning that process. However, this past year I’ve had a few new ways to market my book come to my attention. And because of this, I have actually created a list of things to do from now until the day the book publishes. With a lot of determination (and a little luck), my book should be properly launched by the time March 15th gets here.

For those of you who are curious about my timeline (or if you’re an author looking for an example of what another author might be doing as they prepare for their book release), here’s my proposed calendar for the next month or so. I hope I don’t take too much of the mystique out of my process by divulging all this, lol! The dates are when I’d like each task to be done by. As you can see, I’m early with my blogging schedule. 🙂  (Note: this list will likely change as I remember other things I’ve forgotten to add)

Forever Thirteen to-do list

Feb 1 – Redesign newsletter
Feb 3 – Blog – How to Launch a Book
Feb 3 – Write Feb 6 newsletter
Feb 3 – Finalize cover
Feb 3 – Finalize back
Feb 5 – Upload to Goodreads
Feb 5 – Create Goodreads giveaway
Feb 8 – Create postcards
Feb 9 – Press Release
Feb 9 – Blog
Feb 10 – Write Feb 13 newsletter
Feb 10 – Write acknowledgements, about the author
Feb 14 – Buy $20 Starbucks card
Feb 15 – Re-format edited book
Feb 15 – Order ARCs (advance reader copies) for beta readers, contest winners
Feb 15 – Create ePub, Mobi files of book
Feb 15 – Upload to Amazon, iTunes, B&N, Kobo
Feb 15 – Advance readers?
Feb 15 – Book blog tour (proposed March 24-28)
Feb 16 – Blog
Feb 17 – Write Feb 20 newsletter
Feb 17 – Create blog book page
Feb 23 – Blog
Feb 24 – Write Feb 27 newsletter
Feb 25 – Create blog banner
Feb 25 – Create FB banner
Mar 2 – Blog
Mar 3 – Pick Rafflecopter winner, send out ARC
Mar 3 – Write Mar 6 newsletter
Mar 9 – Contact local bookstore about release party
Mar 9 – Blog
Mar 10 – Write Mar 13 newsletter (reminder about release day, links to sneak peeks)
Mar 10 – Write Mar 15 newsletter (release day!)
Mar 15 – Publish day!
Mar 15 – Add to Amazon FB store
Mar 15 – Announce on FB, Twitter, blog
Mar 16 – Relish in the glory of another published novel. You did it! 🙂
Mar 22 – Blog – Announce blog tour stops
Mar 24-28 – Reblog tour
April – Bookstore release party

P.S. If you’re an author, and there are things you’ve done that you swear by as you prepare for your book’s release, please help an author out (me and anyone reading this) by leaving your tips in the comments. Thank you!

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

So you’ve written a book. Now what?

This week alone, I’ve been approached by a half dozen people who were curious about writing books – from the actual writing of the story, to how to get it into the hands of readers. To have people look at me for these answers is kind of incredible. I mean, I remember a year ago, gearing up to publish my first book, and being totally lost in what I was supposed to be doing. I couldn’t wait to get that book onto Amazon and be a real live published author. But, then what? I looked up to those local authors I knew that were publishing books right and left, and I began following them via social media to see what they were doing right. And I began listening to the Self Publishing Podcast (who now have an incredible book out chock full of information called “Write. Publish. Repeat.” Go download it now).

I’m definitely no expert. But because I’ve been consuming every bit of information I can about writing and self-publishing this past year, and through lots of trial and error, I have learned a lot – particularly about what to do (and not to do) to get your book into other people’s hands.

Here are my top 5 tips:

1. Write a book worth reading. This is the first and most important step, and should be the most obvious. However, it’s also advice that’s not always followed. Before a book goes live, it should be free from errors and typos. The characters should be fully developed. The storyline should make sense and be believable. An editor (or at least someone who isn’t you) should look it over and clean it up. The cover should draw people in, the back cover description should seal the deal. Write a book that readers will want to share with their friends, and your readership will begin to grow.

2. Believe in your book. When I first published “A Symphony of Cicadas,” I was so dang shy about it. I mean, I’d tell people I wrote a book. And then they’d ask me about it. Suddenly, I’d clam up and be closely guarded about what my book was about. I was afraid that maybe the story wouldn’t matter. And when it came to knowing who this book was written for, who knew? But the thing is, I was proud of my book then. And I’m proud of it now. It’s this story about life changing in an instant, the grief that comes with that change, and the light that shines through when you accept that change and grow from it. It weaves a story that many people can resonate with who have struggled to hold on to a life that is no longer a part of their path, and the peace that comes when acceptance is changed. Know your story. Know who would want to read it and why. And believe that what you write is something that can change someone’s world.

3. Join a writing group. Last year, I joined my regional writing club, Redwood Writers. I went to the first meeting, and was totally inspired. Here was this group of people who were just as passionate as I was about writing. They held workshops, booked readings, and held events. At the meetings, authors sat at tables around the room with books for sale. Each meeting had a speaker that gave inside tips on a certain aspect of writing or publishing. And then to be surrounded by so many writers… Over the past several months I’ve been getting more and more involved with the club. I’ve gotten to know several other writers, and my face is beginning to be more familiar in the club. I’m learning a lot, both about writing and about getting my books in the public eye. And this group is catapulting me further down the publishing road.

4. Be your best advocate. You know how some local authors seem to be everywhere? They’re holding book signings at several different venues. They’re hosting workshops. Their name is seen all over. You know how that’s happening? They’re doing that. They’re not waiting for people to ask them to read their book at an event. They’re not waiting for people to come to them about their book. Their name is getting known because they’re making sure people learn it. If you sit back and wait for your book to be discovered, it’s not going to happen. Offer to host a workshop on something you’re skilled at. Sign up for local readings. Host an event that maybe the local newspaper may want to mention. Contact the bookstores in your area and ask about how to get your book on their shelves. You have to do more than just write a book to get it noticed, you have to get creative with how to get the word out.

5. Keep writing. So you’ve written a book. That’s great! Now write another. And when your done with that, write another. Give your readers something else to read once they’re done with your first book. Gather more readers with each book you write. If a book garners a lot of attention, consider making it a series to keep the momentum going. There are too many authors out there who are cranking out the books. If you write just one book and stop there, you’re going to be buried under the pile. Keep your name at the top of the list and just keep writing.

P.S. I’m holding a giveaway for an advanced copy of my upcoming novel, “Forever Thirteen,” as well as a few other prizes. Enter here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

To stick to one genre….or not.

There is countless advice about sticking to one genre when you are an author – especially when you’re a new author. I can see the point in this. When you’re presenting stories to the world, you’re trying to rope in readers who like your writing. When you stick to one genre, your reader can be comfortable knowing what to expect every time you publish something new. They’re drawn to you because of something you gave them initially. If you fray from that, you run the risk of confusing your readers, and even turning them away.

I am a fiction writer. The genre I plan on sticking to is contemporary literature, occasionally dappling in magical realism.  I like writing about real life. And I love books that are based on real life but include a hint of surrealism in them. So that is the genre I plan to stay in.

Except, I didn’t start out writing fiction.

My first passion has always been personal stories. I began writing for the public over 10 years ago when I began chronicling my life as a mom. Back then it was blogging. But eventually, it turned into true articles for the newspaper. I have hundreds of these stories, and it seemed a shame to just let them be forgotten. So I began gathering them up to create books out of them.

The first one can be found as an eBook HERE, and it’s free today for Kindle.

Today I am also finishing up the final touches on a poetry book.

Wait, what? Poetry?

I always wanted to write fiction books. But when I hadn’t written much fiction, at least shareable fiction, my prose skills were a bit lacking. So to help me paint a picture with my words, I dabbled in poetry. I thought what I wrote would end up being totally ridiculous. But it actually turned out quite good. And now, I am making it into a book – even if this book ends up only appreciated by me.

(I’m not sure when I’m releasing this, by the way. I kind of want to get “Forever Thirteen” published next before I share anything else. Then again, this poetry book would make a great Christmas present…. So we’ll see.)

I get that the smartest thing I could do is write under one genre. But the thing is, I’m a writer. I love all things written. I see beauty in words. And I’m tired of keeping my own words under a rock. I hid them for too long. So while I am focusing on one genre, I am not being exclusive to it. This fiction writer has much more up her sleeve than a good, made-up story.