You may have had the same author daydream I have had. When your book is about to be published, your agent will have set up a grand launch event with crowds, a brief book-reading, and maybe finger sandwiches.
The reality is somewhat different when you are self-published.
First of all, there is no agent setting up anything. Instead, it is you setting things up, along with your fond and faithful spouse. Secondly, while self-publishing has come a long, LONG way since the early days, there are still hiccups that make a true book launch a series of events rather one big day.
I belong to a lot of author groups and follow even more author blogs, so I have read about the difficulties of coordinating a book launch. Authors will self-publish on different platforms for different reasons such as one platform is better for paperbacks while another is better for bookstore sales, so there are logistics to deal with there. Then there’s the question of which platforms allow pre-sales because there’s no point in creating pre-launch buzz if no one can place a pre-sale order.
Coordination is important because racking up pre-sales and lining up pre-launch reviews can be extremely influential when the book is officially launched. An author also wants to have their associated marketing ready to go, including press releases, blog tours, podcast interviews, and naturally, their own website and social media platforms. I suspect this kind of planning is most important for authors who write a series of books in a specific genre. No rabid fans are breathlessly waiting for this, my first installment.
Still, I wanted to be prepared. Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub all have author profiles you can create, but there are caveats. I already had profiles at each of these for my Illinois history books, but I made the decision to use a different author name for the Agatha Annotated series, and that was a bit of a problem. At Amazon, you can have separate author profiles for your different pen names, BUT not until you have published the book and can prove that you are, in fact, the author. Goodreads and BookBub have their own rules to deal with. Working with the Goodreads librarian was a quick and pleasant experience. I’m still waiting to be approved by BookBub.
We’ve been doing a lot of testing, too, even though the book and website are live. My husband/publisher has been working very hard to streamline the technology to make the glossary website fun and easy to use. Some friends and family played with it and passed on further suggestions that have also been implemented. Social media accounts have been updated and blogs are being posted, of course. Most recently, the newsletter, with all its forms and RSS feeds, is now live and is ready for signups.
So, I guess Agatha Annotated is launched?
Throwing a launch event in addition to all this other activity and our day jobs sounded exhausting, so I’m not doing that. Instead, I’ve got my nose to the marketing grindstone to get the word out.
Even with a quiet launch and little marketing, there have been sales, which is super exciting! And scary. For months, I’ve been going back and forth between “other Christie fans will like this” and “this is the stupidest idea you ever had.” Now it’s time to see which one is true.
Here we go!
Photo by Pixabay