I had a dream. And that dream was to become a published writer. It’s funny how dreams always end before they really ‘end’. You’re left wondering… what happens next? On July 2nd, I’ll realize that dream with the release of my first novel, my Young Adult romance, CAMP BOYFRIEND. Even better, I know how it ends- or doesn’t, rather. In other words, what my nightly imaginings (and daytime ones as well) failed to consider is that the debut of a book, whether you are a new author like me, or a veteran, demands time and care. Shepherding a novel into the world is like having a child, once it is out, the responsibility, the worry, and yes- the joy- really begins.
Having published over fifty books, my young adult writing partner, Harlequin Blaze author Joanne Rock, is extremely knowledgeable about this process. She’s been such a blessing in organizing the many tasks and details involved to ensuring the book is properly launched. Here are a few from our cheat sheet:
Write four weeks’ worth of blog pieces for our “Camping Out” tour and give them to our publicist.
Craft a book trailer for a YouTube channel we created for the book.
Make a playlist for the novel and share it on iTunes.
Create contests that will promote the book and traffic on our website, Facebook page, Pinterest boards, Goodreads page, Tumblr account using Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn. (We are currently running five contests- maybe six- I might be losing count!). Here's a picture of one running on our current " CAMP CRUSH CONTEST" on Pinterest. If interested in the contests, the link for all is ow.ly/mp9kG
Promote said contests daily- sometimes multiple times.
Reach out to communities we belong to that would be interested in knowing about the novel’s release such as discussion groups on Goodreads, library associations, camp groups, and bloggers/reviewers who enjoy contemporary YA.
Get a cover blurb for the novel (We got a fabulous one from NY Times Bestseller, and awesome human being, Carrie Jones, author of the NEED series. She was kind enough to say, “Fun, romantic and giddy, Camp Boyfriend brings real romance to summer camp with grace, humor and passion” WOW!
Create a unit plan (actually I made two) that was aligned with the new National Core ELA standards that demonstrated Best Practices for educators. As a teacher, that meant creating handouts, assignment task sheets, directions for the lessons within each unit and so on… and all of that needed to be burned to CDs that we could put in folders with copies of each unit plan to hand out at conferences and signings
Attend conferences. Joanne and I attended BEA in New York a couple of weeks ago, we fly to Chicago on Friday to attend the ALA (Librarians Association), and then leave for RWA in Atlanta to sign CAMP BOYFRIEND there as well. Each conference means promoting and signing.
Plan and attend launch parties, readings, and signings. We have a book signing event in Larchmont, NY on July 13th, a themed book event party, reading, and signing here in our home town thrown by our wonderful council of the arts on July 15th, a book launch party thrown by our publisher in partnership with a respected, dedicated children’s bookstore in Burlington, VT on July 16th. We fly to Atlanta the next day then come back and have another book signing.
Sign books in advance of our July 2nd release for a bookstore that ran a pre-order promotion.
Take pictures, organize, and mail out prizes. In one case, Joanne and I spent a fun morning picking and choosing just the right items to put in our basket for the RWA raffle.
Ensure that book reviewers have received ARCs of the novel and follow-up to see if they’ve been kind enough to post a review.
Finally, listen carefully to the sage advice given by those who’ve done it before and done it well. Thank you so much to Tara Randel, Roz Denny Fox, Muriel Jensen, Syndi Powell, Aimee Thurlo and Jennifer Snow who are always wonderfully quick to shoot me an encouraging email when I’m lost. It means so much to write with such a supportive, savvy group of women (and David!) and I cannot wait until my Heartwarming release, WISH ME TOMORROW, in September to try this out again… lol. It is truly a labor of love.
If I’m still dreaming, please don’t pinch me. I want it to go on and on and on and on…
This week, I'm giving my appreciation and love away instead of a prize... I think the internet would explode if I added one more contest. But I hope it's valuable still :)