Book Launch Plan!

Launching a book is scary! So scary in fact that I’ve been putting this one off for months, maybe even years. As is the usual with me, I tend to write a first draft in about 3 months and then go into subsequent drafts and rewrites and edits that last for years…I then procrastinate about how ready the book really is, worry endlessly about whether it’s had enough beta readers and generally do everything I can to put off actually releasing it.

Why? I think because in writing a book, you put your heart and soul into it. You immerse yourself in it, become obsessed by it, fall in love with it and in releasing it, you hope to have some kind of recognition of that, in sales and reviews, and as most indie authors will know, this is by no means easy. If you have money to spare, it helps. Money will buy you an editor, a decent front cover and an advertising campaign. High sales and plentiful reviews are still not guaranteed but you’ve got a better chance. For writers who don’t have a single spare penny? It’s a much harder and more frustrating process which at times barely seems worth it.

Anyway, I digress. There are many reasons I delay book releases and fear of failure is the biggest one. I don’t have massively high hopes but I do hope and dream of decent sales and positive reviews. And if I put off the release? Well, I delay the fear and can sleep better for longer.

But! The time has come. I am currently nearing the end of The Boy With The Thorn In His Side Part 6, and when that’s done, I will have five unpublished books waiting for release dates. Five!! That’s insane. I think that says a lot about my relationship with writing! Endless ideas, addictive/compulsive tendencies and then utter fear and denial. It also explains why I’ve written my whole life but only starting publishing in my mid-30’s.

So, with that in mind, one of those five books will be released in December! I decided on December as it’s a good time to release a book, when people are thinking about Christmas presents and it’s dark and miserable outside and people want a book to curl up with. That gives me almost three months to plan the launch. I’m already daunted, although I have done this before. I am tired just thinking about it.

Having already ruled out a physical launch (as an indie author I am too afraid no one will come and very good at self-sabotaging myself) I do need to make a plan and stick to it.

So, this post is my book launch plan for YA novel A Song For Bill Robinson, potential release date Friday 6th December. I will probably add to and revise this plan as time goes on and as always, please feel free to comment! If I have missed anything, let me know! Any good ideas? I’d love to hear them!

  • Decide on release date
  • speak to cover designer again to prompt first sketch of ideas
  • go through book again for final typos etc
  • decide on a good tag line for promo etc
  • make a list of ARC reviewers and ask in Street Team and Facebook page
  • contact possible ARC reviewers
  • send book to agreed ARC reviewers
  • organise a blog tour
  • revisit Pinterest board and add to/revise/work on
  • start making release day and release countdown graphics on Canva
  • organise advertising, free or paid, decide!
  • contact similar genre authors to organise giveaways and/or blog spots/interviews
  • start making quote graphics on Canva and start sharing to Instagram etc
  • contact YA booktubers!
  • contact YA book reviewers!
  • put print copy together to release on same day as ebook
  • organise Amazon or Goodreads giveaway?
  • create a Facebook launch day event and a separate Instagram one?
  • invite other authors to event to share posts/books etc
  • create graphics for online launch events
  • create launch day competitions for Facebook and Instagram
  • Put together a series of blog posts to release up to launch day about the book
  • set ebook at 99p for one week only
  • invite people to Facebook event and hope they come!
  • submit the book to competitions/awards!
  • drink lots of wine and remember that at least I tried!!!

I’ve Got A New Book Out!

Happy Friday everyone!

This is just a quick and cheeky post to let you all know I have a new book out. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will already be more than aware of this! But I wouldn’t be doing the whole social media thing right if I didn’t post the news to my blog too, would I?

Bird People and Other Stories is a short story collection I have been putting together for about a year now. In fact, I have another blog post and the very wise words of a follower on Goodreads to thank for this whole thing!

You see I wrote this blog post almost a year ago, which was all about getting my arse into gear the next time I had a novel out. I wrote a detailed plan regarding promotion, and some kindly fellow on Goodreads suggested writing short stories related to my novels as an added promotional tool. As soon as he suggested it, I got excited. Why hadn’t I thought of this before?

My mind went into overdrive over the next few days, and within the week I had several short stories already drafted. You all know how I feel about my characters, so the thought of writing extra stories from different character points of view was too enticing to resist. I had all sorts of ideas swimming around in my head, and the pen to paper was in overdrive. It was fantastic. I felt like there was no limit to where I could go with this.

Well, here it is and I really hope you like it. For people who have already read my work, you will find in this collection, two stories related to The Mess Of Me (one story from Leon’s point of view and one from Marianne’s.) You will find three stories related to The Boy With The Thorn In His Side ; one from Jack’s POV, one from Lucy’s, and one which is actually the ending I had in mind at one time! You will find a short story called The Collection, which is a teaser for my work in progress Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature. (It’s essentially the basic plot squished into a short story.) You will also find two stories related to a book I wrote when I was sixteen and discovered fairly recently in a suitcase under my bed (blog post here) I have since plotted the book and titled it A Song For Bill Robinson. Nightprowler is a prequel to the novel, and Bird People a character snapshot. You will also find a short story called She Is… This is another fledgling idea for a novel, one that I do not have the time to write for a while, but writing the short story helped ease the pressure! And finally, Tales From Province 5 includes three short stories which are teasers for my next novel The Tree Of Rebels.

Hopefully, there is something here for everyone. For loyal readers, something new, something different, and lots to tease! And for newcomers, a genuine taste of the way I write and what I write about…all for the attractive promotional price of 99p/99c.

Enjoy! And thank you 🙂

I’ve Slowed Down A Bit…(and that’s a good thing)

For the past few weeks, I’ve felt a bit like I am on holiday. This weird, and decidedly naughty feeling has crept over me every day since I handed The Tree Of Rebels back over to my top beta reader. For those that have been following the whole saga, it was meant to be the final, final, draft, but I then decided to hand it over again, and attack it one more time once I get it back. This was meant to be a moment of relief; I’d hand over one project, (the one that’s been driving me crazy) and jump straight into the next one. The next one is the second draft of my novel Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature, a book that was consistently calling to me and generally interrupting the flow of things while I worked on The Tree Of Rebels.

You’d think I was gagging to finally, really get my teeth into that one, and you would be right. I was, and I still am. But something made me stop. It’s been two and a half weeks now since I parted company with The Tree Of Rebels, and I have still not dived into the next book, despite how much I want to.

You see, normally I would have. I would have started that second draft the very next day. I would have divided up my time and my attention, between that, and the million other things I constantly need to do, just like normal. I would have split my time in half each evening; half the time for Elliot Pie, half the time for ‘other things’, such as my short story collection, proposed articles for Author’s Publish, my preparation for the kids writing workshops I run, reviews for Underground Book Reviews, and not to mention, the big fat ugly elephant which sits and reeks constantly in my room. Promo stuff.

Promo stuff; like sorting out my websites, like finishing the process of getting all my books re-available in ebook and paperback after my indie publisher went bust in February, like researching and submitting to review sites, like building an email list, like figuring out how to best ‘sponsor’ a post on my Facebook author page, and so on and so on…

Basically, I have a constant back-list of ugly things to do, and I am constantly putting them off. Why? Because the characters in my head are so totally real, vibrant and alive, that I actually feel physically sick and guilty if I ignore them. Add to that, the very real and crawling in the pit of my belly panic that I have that I will die before I ever get time to write all of the books I want to write… I mean, really, there is just not enough life…

Anyway, I don’t know what, but something happened. Maybe common sense invaded my fucked up writer’s mind and beat the characters over the head with a club to make them shut up. Maybe I just got really tired of juggling lots of balls, and lets face it, seeing very, very little financial reward for any of it. It’s time to get real. It’s time to grow up…well, just a little bit. I love writing. I love it with every fibre and essence of my being. It is completely and utterly who I am, who I have always been, and all I ever want to be. But I can’t just sit and write my books. I have to figure out a way to sell them. I have to give the right amount of attention to other income streams.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Grown-up stuff. I’ve finished the short story collection and at some point this week I fully intend to upload it to KDP. I’ve set up my email list, and the very lovely subscribers to it will be getting a new and exclusive short story very soon, and many other goodies and sneak peeks in future newsletters. (If you are interested you can sign up here ) I’ve been adding bits to this site  and to my Chasing Driftwood site. I’ve submitted some articles, drafted a review and proposed an author interview. I’m all prepped and ready for my next two kids workshops and my adult writing group.

I’ve been turning the laptop off at nine or ten pm each night. I’ve been curling up on the sofa to watch old X-Files with my kids while they are on Easter holiday. I’ve felt calm and unpanicked, and like I am on holiday! And all because I have pushed the novel writing aside…the thing I love the most…

And yes, all of this time, Elliot Pie has been there. Dear, sweet little Elliot. Who has waited so long to get my full attention, who is there whenever I set foot on my beloved wild common with the dogs, chatting away, thinking his thoughts, writing his lists, trying to think up ways to convince his mum that the world is not such a bad place… He has whispered, and he has giggled, and he has sighed sadly and wandered off again to leave me to it. I am mental, because I really do love him. He is real. Like they all are.

But slowing down has been good for me. Elliot will still be there when I am ready. I am trying to convince myself that I am ignoring him in order to build a better future for him! (See…? Totally fucked up writer’s mind.)

 

 

Book Promo Plan (Getting my arse into gear)

It’s about time I made a proper plan.

Now, I’m not really a plan kind of person. I will freely admit that I do not have the remotest touch of OCD or perfectionism of any kind. I am by nature a messy, laidback, go with the flow kind of girl. I don’t need all my picture frames to be straight on the wall. I don’t need my books organised in height level on the bookshelves. I don’t mind a bit of dust here, a cobweb or two there, or sticky fingers on the windows and walls.

But when it comes to promoting my books, something needs to change. I need to sort it out. I need to work it out. I need a proper plan and I need to stick to it. Now, like I’ve mentioned before, I do all the right things, or at least I think I do. I pick up tips and advice all the time. I just don’t always find the time to follow through with them. I make great lists. I am a list sort of person. Lists are great, because without lists and remind-me notes, I would be living an even more haphazard life than I already am!

Just recently I signed up to a free on-line course by a successful author. Daily emails came through with tips on everything you can think of. Some of these emails contained links to join up to more courses, so I did, and one of these was a Book Launch course. No, I haven’t done it yet. I don’t have the time! I am sure I will get to it eventually, and I am sure I will make some lists of things I should be doing to promote my books. Maybe this blog post, this ‘plan’ will be the first step in me getting it together with all this. Well, I’ll aim for it.

So far, my approach to promoting my books has been sketchy, disjointed, back to front and upside down. I’m not joking. I have never done a book launch thing. Not sure how to. (Haven’t read those emails yet, remember?) I have never done the promo before the book release. Well, not really. Not unless posting on my Facebook author page counts for much, which I doubt. I don’t have a marketing strategy, and I don’t even know what one is. When I started all this two years ago, all I thought about was writing. To me, writing was, and still is, the most important thing. I learnt the hard way, like a lot of indies. Getting a book out there and patting yourself on the back for making a dream come true does not automatically guarantee you sales. Not even from friends and family. It is much, much harder than that. And I have learnt. And I have come a long way. Things have changed, and things are always getting better.

But! I still feel I am missing a trick. I see and hear other authors talking about their sales and I start to think; what the hell am I doing wrong here? How can I reach more people? I still feel like such a novice. It’s never too late for me to start better promoting the books I already have out there, but what better way to get my head around this marketing plan thing, than to start with a brand new book? In other words, try to get it right this time? So this plan will go into action as of now with my brand new book The Tree Of Rebels. This book won’t be released for some time as it is only in the third draft. But I can start the ground work now, right? Isn’t that what they say? And if it makes a difference I can then apply this plan to all future books!

So here is the plan. Tell me what you think. Tell me yours! Please feel free to comment. Let me know what else I need!

1) Write first draft (done)

2) Write second draft (done)

3) Send out to at least three beta readers (in progress)

4) Receive feedback/critique and start third draft – make better!(now in progress)

5) Fourth/Fifth/sixth – you know the score – until it is done

6) Arrange front cover (done)

7) Enter in competition to drum up promo (done already!)(noooo, this competition is now cancelled, so need another idea here!)

8) Write short stories inspired by the book to draw people in and get them interested in the whole book and post these on Wattpad and blog (in progress)

9) Post segments of actual novel on blog and share

10) Create Pinterest storyboard, make memes with quotes and images and share

11) Approach people for advanced reviews

12) Get the street team involved in promoting/sharing/reviewing in advance

13) Start a countdown to cover reveal on FB page

14) Sort out ebook and print book at SAME time so that both are available at the SAME time and people don’t have to wait ages for me to faff about getting prints done!

15) Announce a release date for both

16) Contact as many promo sites as can (free ones and pay for ones)

17) Do same with review sites

18) Create a release day event on FB and get other authors to guest and join in with q and a sessions and their own giveaways etc

19) Email everyone I know about release date and release event

20) Have release day event on day of release!!!

BOOM!!!

So ,what do you think??

Well, it’s an improvement on what I’ve done so far anyway. This feels more professional and organised, and when I forget what I am meant to be doing I can refer back to this post and remind myself. Thanks for reading, don’t forget to add your comments and suggestions re book promotions.