1. Start earlier. I did a pretty good job of my launch despite the fact that I truly began planning for it about 2-1/2 months beforehand. Given the sheer number of details and my tendency toward chaos, I need to start way ahead of time. I’m observing Natalia and Lori, who are coming out in June and July. They have their shite together, my god! Also, in the name of organization: Buy a binder and tab dividers.
2. Travel a little. Given my life here in Portland, I elected not to travel to the Bay Area or Seattle for book signings. I’m doing events around the Portland metro area and that’s it. Part of this is because I’m don’t like public speaking or the public life. I’m way proud of myself for what I have accomplished outside my comfort zone. So next time, I’ll expand my boundaries yet more.
3. Do like a friend and get me a “squee team.” I needs me some media savvy yellers and screamers to shout out my good stuff to their peeps. My friend has so got it going on; I hope she doesn’t mind that I stole her phrase “squee team”!
4. Hire a publicist. This is actually a “maybe,” but for next time I need to consider it seriously, and if I commit, I need to hire someone at least nine months ahead of time. That’s major long-term planning in my book (another skill I’m not so good at). Note to self: Start saving money back for a publicist now.
4-1/4. Check into book clubs. Given my time constraints, I had to let book clubs go. It’s never too late to tap into them, that’s for sure. (Add that to my task list now!) I’d like to be plugged in to this well before the next launch. Or, I at least need to research whether book clubs are an important marketing tool for crime novelists the way book clubs are for other genres.
4-1/2. Get newsletter out sooner. I had planned to send out my inaugural newsletter back in the fall, complete with a giveaway. Hah! Hahahahah. Har, har. When did I actually send it out? A week after my launch! No real harm done; I re-reminded folks about the book and garnered a few more sales. Newsletters can be a great tool, I plan to be more up on it next time.
4-3/4. Always have bookmarks and/or postcards on hand. I waited too long for this also. Now that I’m in the swing of swag, I will ensure that I always have a supply and that I bring them with me everywhere, forevermore. I shall peddle.
5! Write the danged blog tour guest posts ahead of time! My god, this stressed me out more than anything else.
OK, OK 5-1/4. Keep writing! I let the hubbub deplete my creative juices. I haven’t gotten much done on the second novel since … hmm … It’s been too spotty. I didn’t need to be on social media as much as I was, even though I felt like I needed to be. Know what I mean? I got obsessed to the detriment of my writing practice. HUGE lesson learned. I have a new rule: WIBBOW. Would I Be Better Off Writing?
Overall, I’m happy with my launch efforts. I’m not media savvy, a natural marketer, or an extrovert, but I did A-OK. For example, tonight’s my launch party. I’ve got the party room at an Irish pub, cake, a giveaway, an indie book store to sell books, a fiddler, a signature cocktail. It’s going to be a blast even though I’m a little nervous. I chose well when I decided to schedule the party for a few weeks after the launch. I would have had a bonafide meltdown otherwise!
Also, way back when, applying to The Debutante Ball was a job well done. I wouldn’t have made it through these past months without my fellow debs’ support, inputs, and general good cheer (even during highly cathartic behind-the-scenes vent sessions). Cheez-Its!