Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Coming Soon - Preparing for a New Book Release

Pre-Release Checklist

Ever wonder what an author is doing the last few weeks before his or her book is released? Think she’s just sitting around with a smile on her face, eating chocolate-covered strawberries and waiting for the accolades to roll in?

If it were only that easy.

So what really does go on behind all the lights and glamor? (Oh, if only there really were lights and glamor…)

Technically, the author has been working his or her tail off not just for weeks, but for months before the book comes out. She needs to get ARCs (advanced reader copies) out to reviewers in hopes of getting folks to start talking about the book before it hits the street. These days, a lot of readers rely on not just the book’s back cover blurb, but also reviews. I know I use reviews to figure out if there are elements in the book that either appeal to me or don’t appeal to me before I purchase it. I find the one-star reviews the most helpful in figuring out if there’s some element I’m not going to like. I don’t care about the number of stars, per se, but I do care about certain gruesome or horrific elements (or erotic) that don’t appeal to me.

Blurbs and Taglines
Some publishers are kind enough to have some poor editor create the snazzy, tantalizing blurb you find on the back of the book. Others leave it up to the author. So if it’s in the author’s hands, she must to write something that is going to make readers buy her book. The blurb is generally just a paragraph or two, about one hundred words long. Most of the time, it presents the central conflict, e.g. Jane finds a dead body, is discovered standing over it, and is arrested as the prime suspect.

The blurb is sent to the publisher (for the back cover) and used by the author on her website and for any promotional/marketing activities.

In addition to the back cover blurb, the author needs to come up with a sentence, i.e. tagline, that encapsulates the brilliant premise of the book. Jane must find the real murderer before he finds her! Jane sees dead people! Whatever. It sounds really easy, but trust me, it’s not. This tagline (plus the blurb) has to be so enticing that readers are hooked.

The Final Few Weeks
Right before the book is released, there is a flurry of activities.
  • Updates to the author’s website 
  • The new release should be listed (coming soon!) on the main web page, with a link to the book’s web page 
  • A web page should exist for the book with the following information:
  • Cover image & publishing information (e.g. release date)
  • Back cover blurb and tagline
  • Purchase links which the author will activate when the book becomes available for purchase
  • An excerpt (optional)
  • Links to any reviews (from the ARCs the author sent out)
  • Tweet, blog, and otherwise socialize—the book is coming soon!
  • Figure out a marketing plan including any contests, e.g. GoodReads, from your website, Facebook, etc.
  • Line up blogs with other bloggers to spread the news – but just schedule blogs for now. Don’t actually start blogging too heavily until the book is out and has a purchase link, otherwise “I want it now!” readers will forget all about it by the time the book is released. 
Timing is everything. In this digital world, there is an expectation that there should be a “buy now!” link on any blog or other social media note about a book. This can actually be the hardest part: holding back until the book is “live” and folks can actually buy it!

I know I can’t wait to start talking about Christmas Spirit which will be out in November. There’s no buy link, but it is coming soon to an eReader near you!



Jacqueline Seewald said...

Good luck, Amy! Sounds like you're very well prepared to take on the challenge of a new release.

Amy said...

If only that were so! LOL I keep adding to my "to do" list and wish it would get shorter rather than longer. There are never enough hours in the day to do everything you should, as most authors are painfully aware. In fact, that's probably the number one problem for most people, period, whether they are authors or not!

I just wish I had a better grip on things like promotion, etc. I'm truly lousy at that end.

Thanks for stopping by!