On Releases

Hello all! As you know, I released my debut novel on the 27th of last month. I’ve been published previously in anthologies, but this was the first time it was all me all the time. It’s been a great experience so far. There’s nothing quite like having your book in your hands and seeing all the selfies of people with your book. So I thought I’d talk to you a little bit about what it’s like to release and some of the things that helped make mine what I would consider a success. I mean after all, I did set a modest goal for sales in a month and met it in the first couple of weeks. So let’s look at some of what I did.

Obviously this isn’t going to be an extensive list of what I did, but I did want to share some of my thoughts. I used to only use my Facebook author page to communicate on Facebook about my writing. But I realized a few months ago that people on my personal page were excited about my book coming out and wanted to know more. So I started sharing stuff on my personal page and found a lot of support from friends and family. Now that’s not to say I spammed them with buy my book links. In fact, I made sure not to post about my book at all more than once a week. And I didn’t start telling them about it six months or more in advance. I started teasing stuff out like excerpts and my cover reveal two months before release day. And I definitely didn’t include the links to buy each time. I tried to make it more personal and engaging than that, and it wasn’t all about getting people to buy my book. It was more just sharing my book and my excitement with the world, and I really think that translated well. I’m friends with a lot of authors on Facebook, and quite frankly, we all get sick of the book links spamming that goes on every day over and over again. I didn’t want to be that person. So keep in mind your friend list cares about you as a person, and not just an advertisement for you to get their money.

I’ve also been working hard behind the scenes to do local signings. A lot more people than you think like to support local authors and people in their community. Now I deal with a lot of anxiety, especially social anxiety, so this isn’t the easiest thing for me to go out and do. But I know it’s good for me and for the community. The first signing I set up is at a local library branch. I’m offering a Q and A on writing and publishing, since I work for a small press, so I’m hoping to help people better understand the publishing process and not just sell copies. And we are advertising it this way, as an opportunity for others to learn a bit more on how to get published and not just to meet little ole me. I’m also happy that the library will be doing its own advertising for the event. So it’s not just all on me (though you should be prepared if it is). I’ve started to let people know that I have an event in January coming up and will start to seriously promote it as it draws sooner. I find if you invite people too early, they forget about it and just don’t think about it. I’ve also got two more venues asking me to do a signing with them. It’s nerve wracking, but also exciting.

I also did special things to celebrate my release. On the day of, I hosted a small Facebook party where me and some friends talked about Angelborn. My editors and some friends who had read it all participated, but it wasn’t your typical takeover event. The focus was on my debut novel and not just them selling their books to my audience. This gave more people a real idea of what my book was all about and didn’t take the focus off of it. They did still introduce their writing at the end of their segments, along with where you could find them online, but it was really my special day. Not saying that everyone can take that approach. I think these people really loved me to do things this way and have so much to say about my book, but it’s something to consider if you really want to acquaint your friend list to your book. It also really made me feel great on release day. I kept it short, only 4 and a half hours long. I find that things really die off when events go too long. And afterwards, I was able to enjoy my night, going out for sushi with my sissy and spending quality time with the fam. I also made my party feel more like a real party. Since my guests were all talking about my book, I didn’t have to go crazy trying to “sell” it. I posted pictures of the special cake my sissy made for the day and shared some cocktails another friend of mine had designed for my series. Team Angelborn and Team Demonkind drinks special just for me! It made for a more fun environment, and I liked the laid back approach. Think about ways to get engagement up.

But the party doesn’t stop there. I decided to host an in-person event for people to help celebrate my release. It’s on Sunday, and I am so excited for it to happen. I will be selling copies of my book for people to have signed by me, but it’s not the focus. There will be lunch, prizes, games, making bookmarks, and a small reading by me before the signing. It’s a tangible way to have people show their support for you and really celebrate all the hard work you went through to get to this stage. I’m a big believer in celebrating these victories in your writing career. We rented out a hall for a great price (while supporting veterans) and like I said we have prizes! My publisher uses Red Bubble for their merch and my amazing designer came up with some fabulous stuff. (Here’s the link to check out my pub’s merch for ideas, and my specific merch, the Angelborn merch based off my cover and Team Angelborn and Team Demonkind merch so people can pick a side to rep). I’m doing some small and big prizes based on raffles and the games we have going on. It costs a little money, but with people out in the world showing off your merch, that’s free advertising. Plus I’m happy to share this awesome stuff with my family and friends, because I really do love their products. And the best part of Red Bubble is there’s no up front costs. As long as you have the designs, you just upload them. They don’t print until they have an order, so you don’t have to pay to make a bunch of merchandise to have to turn around and try to sell just to get your money back.

Well, that’s all I have time for to talk about today. Maybe I’ll let you know later how my in-person party went and more about my local events. Hope you find this helpful, and if you do want to snag a copy of Angelborn, it’s on Barnes and Noble online.

Happy releasing!

Julia

Find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for inspiration, memes, and weekly prompts.

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