Looking Back is a Historical Author’s Favorite Past Time, Unless We’re Talking Launches

launchI’m one of those people who analyzes and picks apart, and reanalyzes something until it’s practically gray matter. So when I think about looking back at my debut launch (even though it hasn’t been that long ago), it all seems a little fuzzy. The weird thing is, I’m a historical writer and I really love to derive meaning from past events and apply them to the present. Not in this case. Overwhelmed, exhausted, frantic over a looming deadline for book two, and just generally clueless about how to send a book out there in the world, I can hardly remember what was happening. But let’s give it a college try. Here are the things I would do differently for book two:

For Craft:  

Well, I already wrote book two, the ARCs are out, and it’s in production. Still, when I think about how I crafted this novel differently, one thing really jumps out at me. My first draft was still shitty, but not *as* shitty as my debut’s first draft. I’ve learned so much about craft between book one and two, and really pushed myself for Josephine’s successor, Rodin’s Lover. It took me about 6 drafts and 15 months to write book two, instead of 15 drafts and 3 years to get it right. It’s a relief to look at those numbers. By George, some sort of progress has been made!

For Marketing:

I read a ton of blogs and contacted marketing people and watched my fellow authors to figure out where my money would be best spent as well as my time. I’ll certainly ditch a few things that I did last time, like book blasts. They don’t accomplish much and they cost money. I’ll also be more careful about where I’ll set up signings. I don’t have the money or time to sign in an area where I don’t have many connections in the community. All of my signings were a relative success, but numbers are what I’m after. This time around, I’m chatting with several bestselling authors to get the skinny on their marketing efforts in terms of dollars, where they decided to spend them, and their timing. I also plan to collaborate with a few other authors to get a lot of bang for my buck.

 For Sanity:

I was glued to my computer on my launch day, until around 5 p.m., when I headed out for New Year’s Eve festivities. It was an extra-special celebration for me of course, and I paid for it the next day…So that day was pretty great, but the few weeks before my launch I was bursting at the seams with stress. The next time, that ain’t happening–I WILL get a handle on it all, come hell or high water. I pledge to enjoy it more and worry less. After all, by the time it releases, we have little control over how our babies will be received.

 

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Heather Webb

Writer, Editor
Heather Webb is the author of BECOMING JOSEPHINE, her debut historical (Plume/Penguin 2014). A freelance editor and blogger, she spends oodles of time helping writers hone their skills—something she adores. You may find her Twittering @msheatherwebb, hosting contests, or hanging around RomanceUniversity.org as a contributor to the Editor's Posts. She is also the Twitter mistress for the popular Writer Unboxed. She loves making new reader and writer friends. Stop on by her website, Between the Sheets!

This article has 5 Comments

  1. This is such a great way to look at — with the benefit of experience : ) I can only imagine the stress that comes in those last couple of weeks pre-launch, and though I have months to go, I’m going to remember what you said in that last “For Sanity” section. Very wise!

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