The hard work is FAR from over once your book gets published. You have to remember it’s going to be competing for attention with about a gazillion other books. Below are a few high level thoughts on making your book stand out to readers.
For more tips, check out the blog posts on HOW TO PROMOTE.
It may surprise you to hear that many authors no longer have book launches (at least not in a bricks and mortar store)—particularly if the book is their second or third or fourth or—let me stop there before we ALL get jealous!
If you DO have a book launch, it’s safe to say you’ll be the one organising it. Publishers will likely help (by providing advice or working with the bookstore to ensure copies are received in advance), but they have multiple books coming out every month and bubbles and nibbles for your nearest and dearest, as well as a few passerbys, might not be at the top of their priority list.
For my first children’s book, I found a book launch at my local independent bookstore incredibly fulfilling—both emotionally and financially (I have no doubt it helped my book shoot into the publisher’s best seller list that week).
You should approach your local bookstore WELL in advance if you want to hold a book launch. They will often set up the food and drinks, and will also invite those on their mailing list.
You should do as much as you can to promote your book launch as well—including sending invites to every single social network contact, old school friend, long lost cousin and the guy who served you at the shops last week.
Your publisher will mostly manage getting your book into the hands of reviewers. They have various means of connecting reviewers with their latest releases, including platforms like Netgalley.
Make sure you revel in the good reviews as they come in (print them off, stick them to your bathroom mirror, memorise them word-for-word), and take a deep breath in preparation for the bad reviews, which are as inevitable as DEATH and TAXES—and about as enjoyable.
REMEMBER: there are seven billion people on the planet—the chances that your book will be to everyone’s liking is HIGHLY unlikely.
Very few authors will have a tour organised by their publisher (count yourself VERY lucky if this happens to you).
They may help you organise a virtual tour, however, or you may like to organise one yourself. In my opinion, book bloggers are the MOST wonderful thing to happen to the writing world, particularly to young adult fiction. Their blogs are a great place for people to share their passion for reading.
Do you need a website? The short answer is, YES. You can have all the social media in the world, but at the end of the day people are going to be searching for a .com or a .com.au or a .co.uk with YOUR name on it.
A website is easy enough to set up through a platform like WordPress (which I am using to host this blog!). The amount of time you want to invest in it is completely up to you. If you don’t have much time I would recommend a static website without a blog—there’s NOTHING worse than the last post being 18 months old, which I admit to in the past!
You should AT THE VERY LEAST have either a Facebook or a Twitter account. This will help you connect with readers and writers.
You would be surprised at how often social media networks are checked by prospective agents or publishers, who are curious about whether you have a fan base already and how you engage with readers and those in the writing community (i.e. don’t be a jerk).
Other networks you might consider are:
If you write for children or young adults this is a GREAT way to get the word out about your books. You might like to approach the schools directly or go through an association like the Children’s Book Council of Australia. You should request a speaking fee (not doing so devalues your time and affects other authors), however, it’s appropriate to waive this if your visit is part of a book release tour—just make sure the school can work with you to make your books available for sale on the day (I have come across a few AMAZING school librarians who are more than willing to work with a local bookstore).
Not everyone can land a spot on breakfast TV, but you would be AMAZED at what a small story in your local rag or an interview on your local radio can achieve (spoken like a true former public relations consultant!).
If you are inexperienced with working with media, leave the media releases and liaison to your publicist. You should provide them with any angles or leads, however (e.g. where did you grow up or go to school? The local media always loves good news stories about their own).