I am currently in the middle of launch week – for my sixth novel, Breakfast under a Cornish Sun – and as you can see from my wee desk, it has been pretty hectic and whilst enjoyable, hard work! So here are a few of my tips, to get the most out of this exhilarating but challenging time.
Firstly, I always allocate whatever spare time I have to promoting my book on social media. Sounds obvious? Yes, but some authors are very shy of doing this. However it is important, in my opinion, to connect with bloggers and readers, and COMMUNICATE. By this I don’t mean just try to sell, sell, sell. Instead, tweet or post on Facebook in a way that might excite potential buyers. Share new reviews and snippets of the plot. Talk about the characters. Post about themes related to your story – I have tweeted a lot about Cornwall, Poldark and delicious Cornish food. Try to keep your various online feeds varied. And MOST IMPORTANTLY interact with the people who show an interest. Like their comments. Retweet. Show gratitude. It is only good manners, actually great fun and very few authors these days have their own PR person – you are your own trumpeteer and your book deserves to be seen and heard. Just be polite and don’t shout too loudly 🙂
Secondly, don’t raise your expectations too high and get obsessed with rankings. Most of my books have usually taken around four weeks to peak in the Kindle chart, and during that time the ranking can fluctuate up and down. If it slips a bit on the second day of release, don’t flounce out of your office declaring the whole show is going to be a disaster (you can tell I’ve done that, right? 🙂 ) And, hand in hand with this… appreciate the supposedly smaller things. For example, one of my reader friends (you know who you are) told me that she’d waited up until midnight the evening before launch day, so that she could download Breakfast under a Cornish Sun as soon as it was available, and start reading it. That meant an awful lot.
Thirdly, pat yourself on the back and celebrate! You’ve done it! Regardless of sales and rankings, you’ve brought a bookbaby into the world and been through the gruelling writing, rewriting and copy-editing process. It’s a mammoth task, producing a novel. It requires real stamina, guts and passion. My new summer book features a quirky cocktail bar called Donuts & Daiquiris, so there was really only one way I could celebrate – cue this delicious Spiced Mojito!
Fourthy… Don’t let launch week overwhelm you. Whilst I enjoyed my cocktail evening out last week, I had intermittent stomach pain from sitting down working for too long. And the day before backache. Plus lately I’ve developed what I call Twitter Seasickness – a real sense of nausea from being on there too long, replying to tweets and scrolling up and down my notifications to find competition winners and… you get the picture. In other words, realise you have a life away from your writing and desk. Whilst launch week is super-important, in the bigger picture it isn’t the be all and end all. It takes a few weeks, sometimes a few months for a book to be found by all its readers and some of you may even delay your blog tour, for example, until the hullabaloo of the actual launch has settled down. So remember to take stock and breathe 🙂
Finally… Get stuck into another project. The more novels you get out there, the more readers you’ll pick up. Plus, thanks to a widening back catalogue, the bigger those royalty cheques will look. Still allocate a good part of your available time to spreading word about your launch baby… but one of my diehard mottos is: you are only as good as your next book...