As I’m nearing the completion of Alabama Rain, my mind is drifting to the three-ring circus that is the book launch.
And it is a three-ring circus!
First and foremost, let’s get one thing straight: This is not an advice post. I’d love for this to turn into a discussion, so please flood me with comments. Why is this not an advice post? Because I’ve yet to have a successful launch, at least in the traditional sense.
My launch of Sex, Love, and Technicalities was fraught with drama. I don’t want to rehash everything that went wrong, but if you’d like to check it out, read about it here.
My launch of Sex, Love, and Formalities was better, but fairly quiet. I talked it up on Twitter, but Twitter doesn’t sell books. It’ll sell a few, and it has, and for some people it might be a highly successful avenue. But, not so much for yours truly.
But I’ve got book launches on the brain. I’m nearing the completion of Alabama Rain, and my good grief I want the launch to be something for this book. I have no clue what that means. I just know I want it.
So, before bed I was catching up on what all I’d missed on Twitter (where I can’t sell books) and saw that Vania had retweeted a post from someone lovely, by the name of Diana Urban, about what she had learned about book launches from this year’s BookCon. I thought it would be a great jumping-off point for today’s discussion about my plans for Alabama Rain’s release.
Holy shit that’s a long list.
Now, I know this list is geared mostly to traditionally published authors. I mean, very few, if any, Indies sit on a completed book for six whole months before publishing. And while I realize you could start ticking off these things before the book’s completion and hit all these marks, many Indies don’t even spend six months on a book from Once Upon A Time until The End. So…
Anyway, here’s what I am planning so far for Alabama Rain’s release:
Advanced Reader Copies, for those who are puzzled.
Probably the most obvious thing I’ve left off of my pre-launch agenda has been seeking out people in which to send ARCs. I anticipate being finished with AR by the end of this month. I don’t intend to release AR until the end of July. So, I hope to find some ARC reviewers who are happy with an eARC.
But seeking out ARC reviewers is an art, isn’t it? I mean, sure, I could send a copy to my lovely friends, but I should also seek out book reviewers, right? In my perfect world, I’d like a mix of bloggers and vloggers to review my book baby. I’m probably already behind on vetting ARC reviewers. I need reviewers who have an appreciation for Women’s Fiction and also Historical Fiction. Sending Alabama Rain to someone who only really enjoys YA Fantasy will do me no good…because even if they like it…their audience might not. Okay, probably won’t.
Add A Book Page To Your Website
DONE! Ha! I’m glad I’ve done something right for a change. Find it here.
Arrange A Book Tour
Okay, so not really a book tour. I am going to seek out some local Indie bookstores about stocking copies of Alabama Rain (and maybe my other two) and letting me do a meet and greet/signing. There’s one bookstore here in town that loves to have book signings paired with wine tastings. That could be a lot of fun.
Then, of course, I am also taking Alabama Rain to the All About The Indies event in August, just a couple of weeks after its launch.
I didn’t see this on the list, but I’m inserting it. I am aware that the general consensus is that I shouldn’t spend money to advertise my book until I have a substantial backlist, but oh well. I am going to break this rule and pay to have my title pimped a little. If it backfires, I’ll chalk it up to experience and move on.
This is done for total vanity purposes. I love book trailers. I do not think these in any way boost sales for most Indie books, but for me, they’re super fun to make and really fun to share. I’ve actually already started working on the trailer for Alabama Rain. So, even if this isn’t a high-performing tactic, I’ll still likely have a trailer for every book I write.
Of course there will be other stuff, too. I’ll talk about it on social media, take pictures (or maybe even video) of me unboxing that first batch of physical copies. (Also, I’m even doing hardbacks for this one!) Every time I start thinking of launches, I think I need to recruit a street-team of sorts, maybe I’ll do this for AR.
I also want to work on some teaser images for social media and for my website. Those are always fun to make. I have decided, however, not to touch them until after I’ve completed the book.
Things I Will Likely Not Do:
Hold A Book Giveaway | Giveaways for books do nothing. When I did a giveaway
for copies of my books, I think there were less than fifteen entries. When I did the giveaway for my success toolkit (which I thought was actually pretty awesome) I had five entries. When I did my giveaway for ProWritingAid, however, I had hundreds of entries. So, I’m not going to expend a lot of energy trying to give away a book. Instead, I’ll plan another PWA giveaway down the road.
Only, there will be an eARC giveaway…but I think it’s slightly different than a post-publication giveaway. Idk. Giveaways and I have a tenuous relationship.
Host Twitter or Instagram Games | I think these are super fun for books that are lighter in tone. Alabama Rain is decidedly not, even though I have sprinkled in several moments of levity. I don’t even know what a game centered around Alabama Rain would look like. It’s largely about The Great Depression…so…
Publish in Kindle Unlimited | KU hasn’t been that big of a deal for me. I’ve had thousands upon thousands of page reads between SLT and SLF, and made a tiny fraction of what I could’ve if people had purchased the books, not to mention it hasn’t lead to any reviews whatsoever. So, I’m thinking of going wide again with this one. Which means using IngramSpark once again for eBook distribution…which I’m antsy about, but I’ll be formatting the eBook with Vellum instead of a pre-purchased layout, so I’m not too antsy about it.
Trademarking Any Words | Okay, I just had to throw that one in there. 😉
But What is the Purpose?
So, why all the Pomp and Circumstance? Why bother shouting about it? I have some lovely friends who have published books quietly. Am I insinuating that in some way my launch of Alabama Rain is more important? More special?
Not at all.
Every author is different, every book is different, every book launch is different. I
launched SLF fairly quietly, too. I made no teaser images for SLF, though I did spend a lot more time and effort on SLF’s book trailer than I did SLT’s. I’ve never sought shelf space in a store, nor done an official signing.
Can an Indie book be successful without all the hullabaloo? I’m positive it can. So, why am I doing it now?
Because I freakin’ want to, that’s why. If my next publication is on the quiet-side, it’ll also be because that’s the way I want to do it. That’s sort of the great thing about Indie publishing, you get to do things the way you want to do it. Quietly or with a bit of fanfare, there should be no shame.
Please Share With The Class
What are some lessons learned from your book launches?
Have you seen a launch tactic from another author you’ve always wanted to try?
Is there something you’ve wanted to try but are too afraid to?
What do you think about the whole six-month process shared above? Personally, I think unless you’re a household name and people are already anticipating your novel’s release, that talking about your book for six months straight prior to launch will not do you much good. In fact, I think, it may have the opposite effect you’re going for. People will have grown tired of hearing about you and the book because you’re not JK Rowling.
Do you feel otherwise?
I would love to hear from you!
Next week I will be on a blogging hiatus so I can concentrate on finishing up AR and all of the fun stuff I’ve mentioned above. But, I have recruited a guest blogger!
Author KT Daxon will be stepping in for me with a wonderful topic: The Importance of Word of Mouth advertising! So be sure to tune in!
See you soon, my friends!