Surviving Release Day
You worked hard, typing until your fingertips are calloused. You now have a novel—or at least the first draft of one. Edits. Revisions. Rewrites. Hair-tearing. Re-edits. Beta readers. Critique partners. Final draft. And off it goes to your editor. Time to relax, right? Ha!
If you’re going the indie/self-publishing route, your work is just beginning. You need to design or hire someone to design your cover. Then you need to worry about formatting. Marketing. Scrounging up reviews—which may or may not be up by the time your book is available.
But you survive all that. Your editor has returned your manuscript. You make corrections, you get it formatted. You copy edit, line edit, proofread. You upload it to various platforms for sale. And wait. If you’ve set a date definite for your indie release, you’ll want your book to go live before you actually announce it. That way, when people swarm to buy it, it’s actually, you know, AVAILABLE. There are “horror” stories of authors doing releases and sales, going all out to splash the title across the internet only to discover this seller or that one hasn’t made it “live” yet. No bueno, if you know what I mean.
Swarm. Such a nice, positive word. :nods enthusiastically: Sorry. I distracted myself. Readers waiting with bated (or baited if they’ve been eating sushi) breath to buy a book is the dream of every author. Realistically, unless you’re a New York Times best seller, not gonna happen. :disappointed sigh:
So the day arrives. You have blog appearances planned (and written!). You have giveaways. You hope to generate a lot of buzz because that’s what sells books—word of mouth and industry buzz. And your family and friends rush out to Amazon, et al. to spend their hard-earned money. So that’s like…six books. At least in my family. And half of them are cheap. They’ll wait for Christmas when I hand out ARCs as presents. LOL Only not really that funny.
It’s hard being a “writer in waiting.” But there are times when it’s just as hard if not more so to be a full-time writer. This is my job. I pay my bills and get to do extra things based upon the income I bring in from royalties on the books I’ve published. So release day? Yeah. It’s nerve-wracking. Nail-biting. Stomach-knotting. And strangely satisfying. Because there’s a new book released “into the wild” and it’s filled with endless possibilities.
So how do I cope?
1. I never refresh the Amazon sales page. Nope. Don’t do it. :looks shifty-eyed: Much. I shouldn’t. It’s an exercise in frustration. As mentioned, unless you’re a top tier author, sales will be slow. They’ll build. Slowly. And hopefully surely.
2. I beg for reviews. I’m not above groveling. Reviews make the Indie publishing world go round.
3. I drink. Coffee. Though that bottle of wine in the fridge is looking mighty tempting. It’s cocktail hour somewhere in the world, right?
4. I make myself work. This is a business. It’s based on creativity and when stressed, it’s sometimes hard to get the ol’ Muse up and moving but that’s the smart thing to do. Make her/him exercise the imagination. Work on your next project. Or do something a little silly but ultimately can be chalked up to marketing. I play with “postcards”—quotes from my books on a background or appropriate background. Or little writing tidbits. I’m doing a whole series of 30 for National Novel Writing Month.
5. Don’t judge a book’s sales based on previous books you’ve published. This is especially difficult when a book is near and dear to your heart. An author never knows what will ignite the reading public’s interest. Do your best work. Put it out there. And hope for the best.
I leave you with one last word of advice:
Silver likes to walk on the dark side and coffee. Okay. She loves coffee. LOTS of coffee. Warning: Her Muse, Iffy, runs with scissors and can be quite dangerous. She's the author of the award-winning Moonstruck series and other books, including a new series, The Penumbra Papers, coming Fall 2013*. She's been a military officer's wife, mother, state appellate court marshal, airport rescue firefighter and forensic fire photographer, crime analyst, technical crime scene investigator, and writer of magic and mystery. Now retired from the "real world," she lives in Oklahoma and spends her days at the computer with two Newfoundland dogs, the cat who rules them all, and myriad characters all clamoring for attention. She writes dark paranormal thrillers, time travel romance, and light contemporary with a kiss of suspense. Want to know more? Visit her at www.silverjames.com
* Silver's latest book Season of the Witch released on Halloween. I'm about a third of the way through and it's wicked awesome. - B.E. (Update: Finished last night after scheduling this post. It was wicked awesome all the way through.)