Things You Need to Do (And Don’t Need to Do) Before A Book Launch

Keep Calm and Carry On - 2011-04-08I’m having one of those days in which this is suddenly starting to feel very, very real.

Which is amazing and wonderful, but also slightly (okay, very) terrifying.

When you’re two months away from your book launch, things you’ve always dreamed about start happening.

You confirm readings at your favorite bookstores.

You start seeing your book getting press in magazines you’ve read for years and years.

Reviews start trickling in.

You begin to think, OMG I MUST DO ALL THE THINGS! 

This is where I’m at currently: feeling like I want to do everything I possibly can for Chasing the Sun, but fearing that I can’t possibly do it all. Grateful for my publisher’s support and the events being planned and the readers that are excited for my book, but hoping that I don’t manage to somehow screw things up.

(Us writers, we’re such an optimistic bunch, aren’t we?)

Luckily, we may be full of worries, but we’re never alone. When I expressed my promo woes to author Therese Walsh, whose second novel, The Moon Sisters, recently came out, she gave me this piece of advice:

“Set some limits for yourself. How many hours will you dedicate to this? What are your most important promo hoops? Jump through those first. ”

And then I tweeted/asked Jessica McCann, author of All Different Kinds of Free, how authors keep from getting overwhelmed by it all, and she recommended taking it all one step at a time. Slowing down. Breathing.

So that’s my new plan. Not: book as many events and blog posts as you can. Not: tweet every second of every day.

The book launch will flow more naturally if I’m taking the time to actually enjoy it, and I can’t do that if I don’t nurture my own sense of calm. Things that need to get done will get done. But things that don’t need to get done (like me freaking out about it all) will have to get pushed aside.

Wish me luck?

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Natalia Sylvester

Natalia Sylvester is the author of the novel CHASING THE SUN (Lake Union/New Harvest, June 2014), about a frail marriage tested to the extreme by the wife's kidnapping in Lima, Peru. A former magazine editor, she now works as a freelance writer in Texas. Visit her online at nataliasylvester.com

18 thoughts on “Things You Need to Do (And Don’t Need to Do) Before A Book Launch

  1. Good luck!

    My advice (in addition to the thing about breathing) is this: Remember that you’ve already done the most important thing — the writing. In a few years, all of this will be reduced to being a few entertaining anecdotes, and the book will still be there, just as good and solid as it is now.

    • That’s really great advice, Anthony. It made me imagine the book years from now, sitting on a shelf, and it warmed my heart. Thanks for helping me put that in perspective.

  2. My advice is not worry about doing ALL THE THINGS and just focus on the things you want to do, because no matter what, it’s all never enough to us in the end. 🙂 And enjoy the excitement!

  3. Aw, Natalia, thanks for the shout out. So, so glad my simple words of advice helped you. And I know that your new perspective expressed so well in this post will help others, too. That’s the beautiful thing about being a writer – we have so many kindred spirits we can turn to when we start to freak out (which happens much more than non-writers realize because we writers often maintain a cool, calm exterior. Heh heh).

    Good luck and enjoy the ride!

    • Thanks, Jessica! I always laugh because inner me feels like an impatient-3-year-old while outer me is trying to stay cool and collected. Glad I’m not the only one!

  4. You’re at the exact point I was when I started freaking out in a serious way — two months before. But, unlike me, you seem to have you act together. You’ve got events planned already! That’s great! I’m looking forward to your release.

    Only advice I have is to try to ensure that you don’t have too much going on in the few weeks after launch. Because there’s the trickle affect, plus, if you’re like me, you’ll need come recuperation time. 🙂

    • Thanks, Lisa. I don’t FEEL like I have my act very together! But I really appreciate the advice about the weeks after launch. I definitely anticipate needing some time to decompress.

  5. GOOD LUCK (you won’t need it, though!). It’s good that you are a cool customer and an excited 3-year-old rolled into one… it guarantees an exciting ride! Can’t wait to hear more about all your launch activities (and of course to read the book!!).

    • Thanks, Julia! It’s an exciting time because there are a lot of things in the works…I’m bursting with anticipation, hoping to be able to share soon!

    • I think your monster must be related to my monster. We’ll have to swap notes on how to defeat them.

  6. Survival kit = Unlimited chai tea, unlimited popcorn (extra butter), unlimited dog walks. The rest will fall into place. Also, repeat after me: “I got this.” Because, my friend, you do!

    • I got this! Haha, this comment made me smile so huge. How is it that you never fail to make me do that? Thank so much, Lori. Big hug!

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