Book Release Day: Fantasy vs Reality
When I was a very young writer I had visions of my future book release days that were elaborate and glamorous. Parties with New York literati. Long lines at bookstores. Jetting off on a book tour to exotic locations. I even used to practice what I’d say when David Letterman interviewed me about my wildly successful novel. So basically I was dreaming of being a movie star at a Hollywood premiere except that I’d be adulated for the words I wrote instead of pretending to be someone else’s character.
Many, many years went by before I actually published my first book, The Sleepless Nanny. It was perhaps the softest launch of all time. I uploaded a book I’d written twenty years earlier to Kindle Direct Publishing. I didn’t even have a cover. I think I just wanted to see if it would really work.
Seven books later, I’m a bit more meticulous about book launches: setting a date far in advance and squaring that schedule with my editor and proofreader; commissioning a professional cover; using social media to generate awareness of the title in advance, etc. Just in the past few months has Amazon allowed indie authors to do pre-orders (Thank you, Amazon!).
Yesterday, my new book released. And while I didn’t appear on Letterman, I did have a busy and rewarding day. Just not the kind I’d envisioned as a teenager. Here’s a look at Summer Wind‘s release day.
I woke up around 4 a.m. and remembered my book came out at midnight. Grinned a shit-eating grin. Went back to sleep.
When I set 11/11 as my publication date I didn’t take into consideration that it was also Veterans Day and my youngest child would be home from school. This turned out not to be the greatest plan because she was excited for a day at home with Mommy while I was excited about doing the stuff you do on a book release day. Necessary and fun-ish stuff, but not intriguing for a five-year-old. Here’s how the next few hours went:
I updated the Lexy Cooper Facebook page with a release message. I like to share directly from the Amazon page because if it’s promoting an Amazon sale sometimes it pops up in people’s newsfeed more often. I also “Boosted” the post for twenty dollars. I earn $3.45 royalty (70% of the sales price) on each copy of the eBook sold in the US, so I only need to sell six copies to break even on the ad.
A lot of my friends and family shared that FB post in support of the launch, so I made sure to acknowledge each of them by liking the post and/or commenting. Your street team, be they fans or family, are your most important asset. Don’t ever take them for granted!
Next, I made a post about the launch on Lexycooper.com. I don’t promote the site very often, nor do I post frequently, but it is the archive for all things in the Lexyverse, and as Summer Wind is a spinoff, it deserves a place here.
After that, I updated this blog with Summer Wind in the upper-right hand widget.
At this point my daughter was hanging on to my desk chair and being a pest, so I made her a “nest” on the sofa and set her up on Netflix to buy myself some time.
Next up on the to-do list was sending the Team Lexy newsletter. I’d actually composed and tested it last week, so all it needed was a quick scan and then I hit the “Send” button. Bon voyage, newsletter!
Newsletter sent, it was time to update Goodreads. Now, since Summer Wind had been available for pre-order, the link to buy it on Amazon was already in place. The updating of the Goodreads entry with the ASIN number is something I needed to do for the previous launches, but this time it was already done. What I did need to update was my author page from a “coming soon” message to something else. Here’s the before and after:
Twitter was my next stop. Instead of a straight up “Hey, my book’s out” I went for a semi-inspirational one (that got a handful of retweets), and an attempt at humor, which didn’t really get noticed, but how great would that have been if Stephen King had replied or retweeted me? Worth a shot, right?
My nagging little girl redeemed herself entirely when, at Thai Ginger with my friend Meghan, she burst out with “Mommy’s new book is out today!” Okay, that was pretty great. After lunch I bought the small one a Christmas dress at Gymboree and then it was home again. How does the freshly-published author spend her afternoon? Folding laundry, mostly. But I also bought myself a couple new graphic novels:
Later I made dinner and we watched MasterChef Junior and I read a bit of Station Eleven before falling asleep. There was no congratulatory phone call from the president or requests for interviews. TMZ’s paparazzi are either fantastic at hiding or they’re not really interested in my activities. But all in all, I got some stuff done, fed my family, did a little shopping, and, oh yeah, released book number 8! Which you can buy here. (Or read for free if you’re an Amazon Prime member or signed up for Kindle Unlimited)