Release Week For A Novel, by Greg Barron
As I prepare for the release of my new novel, Savage Tide, I’m going to write all the things I wish I’d known twelve months ago, before Rotten Gods hit the shelves. These comments apply particularly to traditionally published books but some of these points will hold true for indies as well.
Once the structural and copyedit stages are finished, your book is typeset, proof read and the cover art designed. You’ll be asked to help with a back cover blurb and a bio. Then, six to eight weeks before the publication date, your baby will go off to the printers.
Everything goes quiet for a bit. If your publisher printed advance reading copies, then reviews might start to appear on blogs and in magazines. Otherwise, you might not hear much at all. This is when promoting your book should be uppermost in your mind. You could design and print business cards, bookmarks and even posters. Your publisher might do it for you.
Plan an event strategy. Are you going to have a formal launch? Publishers, in my experience, don’t really like launches as they believe that they sell books only to people who are going to buy them anyway. I disagree. People love events, and your family and friends will feel special, especially if you can arrange a high profile launcher. Book launches are also great photo-fodder for social media – always a useful consideration.
Many authors are content to direct most of their promotional efforts online, but your publicist should be able to get you at least some media opportunities such as radio and newspaper interviews. You should also plan appearances and book signings at all the book shops you can, especially the local ones. Most libraries will be happy to have you give a talk in their event room, and help get a crowd there, though they do like plenty of notice.
Right now, just before the fun starts, I’m feeling as anxious as a father in the old days when they had to wait outside while their wife gave birth. I made the mistake of re-reading an early copy of Savage Tide last night, finding half a dozen things I wish I could change on the first fifty pages. Because there were no advance reading copies this time, virtually no one has read it yet, no one has reviewed it and I worry that no one will like it.
As soon as you have enough copies, give some to ardent readers amongst your family and friends. They will often provide your first reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and iTunes. Most of the time these will be very positive, and I think that’s fair enough. You need something to balance out the inevitable one-star reviewers who will turn up later; bitter, twisted people who seem to love finding books to hate.
You should also organise a giveaway on Goodreads. This is a simple process and gives your book lots of cheap publicity. You might also plan a Facebook advertising strategy, but be warned, it costs about 70c to $1.10 for every Facebook ‘like’ you get for your page. Sponsored stories can be good but some people do see them as spam and get annoyed.
There is no bugle call or marching band on release day. Unless you are JK Rowling or Dan Brown, your books probably will have been placed on shelves a few days or a week early. Release day is a day to get out to bookshops and photograph your new baby, hopefully in nice neat stacks on an island stand near the main doors. If you’re really special and lucky you might get a window display. Take photos and put them on social media. Big sales in release week might get your book into the charts, and that has a positive flow-on effect for media opportunities, reviews and more sales.
Enjoy it, have fun, get your book out there to the best of your ability and keep working on the next one!
Greg Barron’s author website: www.gregbarron.com
Writing Novels in Australia