I can’t believe my Debutante year is almost over. It’s been quite a ride, especially at the beginning because my book launch week was also my first week as a Deb! I’ve learned so much in this year. There are a million things I would do differently if I knew a year ago what I know now. Here are a two of those things.
Don’t try to get people to come to you. Go to where people already are. Other than my launch party, I really struggled with bookstore events. My launch at Books Inc. was amazing! Over 100 people showed up and they sold out of books. But every other bookstore event I’ve done has been an uphill battle. Even if you friends and family double swear to you they will be there and bring a ton of friends, life happens and most of the time I was talking to a very small crowd, half of which worked at the bookstore.
Bookstores are amazing places for authors. Where would we be without the booksellers who love our books!? But bookstore events are very difficult unless you’re already a big name. But what I’ve found it going to events where people already are can be a huge success! I’ve been speaking at local writing organizations lately. Also I’ve been invited to several meetings at retirement communities where over 100 people attended. Book festivals have been amazing opportunities for me to introduce myself to readers. So looking back, I would definitely not focus on bookstore events and look more at groups who are already gathering.
You’ll never know what people are going to love on social media. But when you find it, the result is awesome. When I first started my social media accounts as an author, I picked five themes in my novel and posted all about those themes. I also posted about book giveaways and other book news I thought readers would be interested in. Makes sense, right? Well, the reaction was a little quiet. And one day I posted a picture of a flower in my garden. Boom! Huge amount of engagement. Same for a video of my dogs. Boom! These things helped me make a personal connection with my readers, and I love that. I’ve gotten to know so many people over our mutual love of nature and animals. It’s been terrific. When I was in high tech, I worked for a time in social media strategy, but what I’ve learned this past year was to stop thinking like a brand and start thinking like a human.
Regardless of some things I’d do over, I’ve had an amazing year as a debut author. I’ve learned tons and all of that will help me with novel #2. And because of that, it really was a year of moments of everything.