5 Lessons Learned from KILMOON’s Book Launch

launchKILMOON launched March 18th, so this week’s topic comes at the perfect time to think about my lessons learned. What can I improve upon for the next release?

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!

Author: Lisa Alber

Lisa Alber is the author of KILMOON, A COUNTY CLARE MYSTERY (March 2014). Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, dog walking, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging at Lisa Alber's Words at Play round out her distractions. Visit her at www.lisaalber.com.

14 Replies to “5 Lessons Learned from KILMOON’s Book Launch”

  1. “I should have kept working on Book #2” is the one I hear the most often.This is probably related to the fact that second albums are so often inferior to debut albums. You make the first album, with the best songs you’ve honed through your early career, you tour and tour in support of the first album, and then it’s time to make the second album and you haven’t had any time to write new songs, so Album #2 ends up being largely the songs that weren’t good enough to make it onto Album #1.

    Oh, and yes, binders and tab dividers. When I was in school, the end of summer vacation was always a little sad, but there was always the great compensation of New Notebooks and Pens!! 🙂

    1. Anthony, so true! And that’s why there’s Second Novel Syndrome. For music, I think of the Dave Matthews Band. Loved their first album, and then … nothing (for me at least).

  2. All great points, Lisa. I started a long time ago, and even have my raffle baskets together, in the process of determining SWAG, but still I feel like I AM way behind too! You give us all some great tips. Thank you!!!

  3. I think you did A-OK and then some! Have a fantastic time at the launch party tonight and soak in every moment, even the nerves. This is the dream, right? Even when it’s scary, we’re lucky to be living it.

  4. Great advice, Lisa. I thought your release was amazing, so whatever you felt like was lacking didn’t show! I agree that a launch takes some serious long-term planning and that ain’t easy when we’re trying to whip up another brilliant novel. lol. 🙂

  5. Lisa, congratulations again on your launch. It must be an exciting time for you!

    I think each connection you make with potential readers is worth it. There is no useful way to compare the value of big event exposure, where people get to know your book, to small events or social networking where people get to know more about you if you let them. Contact with individuals can result in a very loyal following of people who will happily spread the word about wonderful you and your fabulous books.

    Do you recall when Louise Penny’s first book was out? She tackled everything, perhaps more than you want to, but the message I got from her was develop all resources of potential readership. She used to take her laptop and drive up the hill near her house where she could make an internet connection. She would sit in the car and chat with a book clubs via Skype to get the word out—about herself and her book—in a personal way.

    I think that you as a person, will sell many more books than your books can sell for you, at least until you have that huge following that we all hope for. That will bring new issues and decisions that most of us will never have to consider. But right now you, yes the introvert you, have yourself to present in a way that will speak well for anything you might ever create.


    1. Hi Reine! Thanks! I wish I had time for all that I COULD do, but I don’t. The most important thing is getting the next book written. My day job takes a lot out of me too. I’ll keep going and improving as I go.

      1. Hi Lisa,
        I wish I had put that more simply so that you would have understood that I wasn’t suggesting you do more. I was suggesting that you substitute a some of one thing for another, scattered throughout your approach. They were simply observations like the kind we have shared in the past. But you’re doing great. Congratulations.

        1. Ah, I see what you’re saying, Reine! That’s a good point. I feel like I’m experimenting–a dash of this, a dash of that, trying to figure out the best mix for me. Wow. What a learning curve! Thanks for always being there!

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