Before we move into today’s post, I wanted to announce the WINNER of our little big of flash fiction FUN from the other day. Bragging rights go TO
Next order of business, today’s stop on the Red launch blog tour is my dear CP and BFF Susan Bischoff’s blog, Hunting High and Low (FYI, her latest book, Heroes Til Curfew is FINALLY OUT! GO FORTH AND BUY YOUR COPY TODAY!). One of the questions in that interview was about how I came to be one of those queryless, yet agented authors, in which I talk about the comment on Kristen Lamb’s (2/4/2011) post that got Laurie’s attention. In a stroke of irony, Kristen reposted that post today (9/2/2011) on her blog (go check it out and join in the conversation!). It seems like a nice circular closing kind of deal that seven months later, Laurie’s getting ready to pitch my new baby Red to publishers.
I am almost DONE with writing up guest posts and interviews for the blog tour craziness, which means my brain is about to be–GASP–clear for something resembling :whispers: fiction. And the angels sang
Given my crazy, despite my mad organizational skills, and Susan’s similar crazy without said spreadsheet but with my Super To Do List of DOOM, I thought I’d put together a list of suggestions for anybody who’s getting ready to launch a book to try and save you a serious attack by angst kittens.
- Don’t wait til the book is done to start thinking about promo ideas. I don’t care if you think there will be plenty of time or your opus will be with beta readers or editors long enough for you to work all the details out. There’s never enough time and it’s never too early to start planning.
- Start a spreadsheet. Better yet, download my Launch Planner. You wanna see my mad organizational skillz? Download and look. Obviously, you’re getting the blank template to work out your own stuff, but these are all the various things that I’ve been organizing and sorting out over the last three weeks.
- Book bloggers. Make a list of book blogger websites where you’d like to send your book for review. Ideally you will have ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) some span of time well before you actually release the book, as book bloggers are generally booked several weeks or months in advance and they will be most effective for a launch if you give them something ahead of time. But even if you can’t (I didn’t with Red), it’s still worth offering review copies. Be sure to check the policy of each book blog to be certain they review your type of book and that you follow any submission requirements they make. Note their name, contact information, the date you emailed your request, their response, their preferred format of book if you know it, and keep track of whether they have reviewed you before (because you’ll wanna know that for future book launches).
- Blog tour. Make a list of blogs where you would like to make a tour stop for a guest post or interview. A lot of these will also be book blogger sites. Same stuff applies. Make a note of their web address, contact person, contact info, when you email them, their response, whether you’re blogging or being interviewed, what date the post is going up, and what date you need to send it by.
- Blog topics. Hand in hand with the blog tour is figuring out guest blog topics. This is, hands down, the hardest part for me. Both times I’ve toured my brain just shuts down after about half a dozen ideas. The first time I toured, for Forsaken By Shadow, I had no particular theme, I just wanted to get my name out there without talking specifically about the book (because being all BUY BUY BUY does not sell books). This time, my tour has a theme (Every fairy tale has a dark side). Regardless of which you decide to do, start making a list of possible topics early. Many hosts will want to see a list of possible topics to choose from. You want to SHINE in these posts, people. You want to wow them so they’ll think, man, she sounds cool, I bet her book is cool. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an instant and automatic supply of awesome post ideas available, so it’s worth nothing them down over MONTHS as they occur to you.
- Given said shortage of awesome, it is well worth having other awesome come visit your blog in guest posts. While you’re off gallivanting on other people’s blogs, schedule some guest bloggers to visit YOUR blog. It gives them an additional opportunity for exposure, and it saves you having to think up a post for those days. Start a list of who you want to ask.
- And yeah, don’t neglect your own blog. Save some of the awesome. Keep a list of insightful or interesting post ideas in reserve for your own blog. Not that you aren’t always awesome on your own blog, but while you’re launching, you want to be extra awesome, so it’s best to be prepared.
- Keep a bank of interview questions. You may remember my Ask Me Anything post. This was handy as it helped me generate a bank of questions people wanted answered. Some host blogs will be more likely to let you interview if they don’t have to think up the questions themselves. And if you’ve got any left over, you can do a series of interviews on your own blog to fill up the space.
And finally, the most important thing to remember when planning a book launch:
Nothing happens overnight. Blog tours don’t so much sell books as sell YOU. They get your name out there, in front of people who haven’t seen it. You keep your game face on, be nice, be charming, be interested in other people (see Kristen’s recent post about how to sell more books). With enough exposure, hopefully that will translate into actual sales. But it all takes time and, most of all, a good book. Once people start talking and telling their friends, that’s when the real momentum starts to build.