You’ve probably heard a dozen published authors say it
… the months before and after a book launches are very busy! My debut novel, The Heiress of Winterwood, released a few months ago, and I learned so much about the writing journey and the publishing industry during that time. Since it was my first publishing experience, I was eager to soak up everything I could about the process, and I even made a list of things I could do ahead of time with the next book so I could really hit the ground running. It’s never too early to get started on some of the details, and by tending to some of these items early on in the process your mind will be free to focus completely on edits and other steps of the journey.
So what’s on my list? Ready? Here we go …
This seems like it should be a fairly easy step. You probably already know who you want to dedicate your book to, but do you know exactly what you want to say? Dedicating a book to a person is like giving them a gift that is created just for them. Even though a dedication is short, you want to get the words just right. The last thing you want to do is rush this. So when you have some free time before you are in the heat of editing, really think about what you want to say in your dedication. Your dedicatee will thank you.
Writing is rarely a solitary practice. Even though you are the one to actually develop the story and write the book, there are probably several people who have helped you along the way. Your agent. Your family. Your friends. Your writing/critique group. Even your editorial team. Keep a list of people who you want to include in your acknowledgements so when the time comes, you are ready to go.
You’ve seen these, right? At the back of a book, the author will sometimes develop 10 or so questions that readers can use as a study guide, discussion starters in book clubs, etc. Even if your publisher does not include these in the actual book, it is a GREAT IDEA to develop some study guide questions. You can put them on your website as a special download, post them to your Facebook page, distribute them to book clubs, etc. And the best part? These can be done VERY early in the process. You might even jot questions down while you are writing the book!
Are you on Twitter? If you aren’t … you should be! It is a great, easy way to help spread the word about your book. And the other good news about Twitter posts? You can prepare them in advance. Develop about 30-40 posts that you can simply cut and paste. Perhaps the easiest way to get started it to go through your book and pull out a teaser sentence or two. (You can also use these as Facebook posts on your author Facebook page!) If you spend time doing this BEFORE the book releases, then you won’t be scrambling to find good snippets to use as tweets during your busy release time.
Book release time is a busy time for a writer. Not only are you on an emotional high, but this is THE TIME to really get out there and promote your book! Bloggers are instrumental in helping to get the word out about new releases. Start early on this. In fact, START NOW! Read blogs. Comment on blogs. Get to know bloggers and reviewers and develop relationships with them. I have found that a lot of bloggers have pre-determined questions that they like to have authors answer, and usually, if you ask them, you can get these questions well in advance of the time you are going to be a guest so you aren’t rushing to answer questions at the last minute. After all, you want to be genuine with your answers … this is a time for readers to not only learn about your book but to also learn about YOU.
This is something a lot of authors drag their feet about, but it is VERY important to get a good, professional headshot. I know, most people don’t like to have their picture taken, but once your book releases, your picture will be everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Make it a good one!
Create a Book Launch Team
A book launch team is a group of people who are dedicated to helping your book succeed. This can be friends and family, avid readers, other writers … the sky’s the limit. Usually this is a group of people you assemble that agrees to write a book review and post it to e-commerce sites. These are the people who will retweet your tweets. Interact with your posts on Facebook. These are your cheerleaders, and usually, if you ask, they are eager to do it! If you identify these people ahead of time, they can really help your book launch experience go smoothly.
A lot of people will be asking you for your bio. You will want to have a couple of versions of this … one that is 1-2 sentences long and one that is 3-5 sentences long. You can write this well in advance and then you won’t have to give it a second thought once the book comes out.
Now, this is certainly not an exhaustive list … there are so many other things you can do in advance to make sure your book launch goes smoothly!
Now it is your turn … published authors … what advice do you have to share?
In addition to a lifetime of writing and exploring fiction, Sarah Ladd has more than ten years of strategic marketing and brand management experience, including five years of marketing non-fiction books and three years of marketing the musical arts. She lives in Indiana and is blessed to share her life with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and very lovable Golden Retriever.
Today, Sarah is giving away one copy of The Heiress of Winterwood, (Whispers on the Moors) her debut release from Thomas Nelson. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.
Darbury, England, 1814
Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything.
Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.
When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting at her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one.
Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.
Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.
Both must learn to have faith and relinquish control so they can embrace the future ahead of them.