My Disorganized Book Launch
First, I want to thank Teresa for having me by to talk about book launches. Next, I want to say, “Of course! Of course she wants me to write about my book launch!” That last part was sarcasm. Not because it’s not a good topic – it’s a great topic – but because it’s hard to talk about something you’re not sure has happened.
Yes, my book has “launched,” as in its published and available for sale, but it wasn’t a terribly organized event. In fact, it was a disorganized event – a disorganized event by an public relations professional. I might even feel a little shame.
It didn’t start out that way. I had lists, goals, and deadlines – the whole nine. I swear, I did. But at the last minute, my agent convinced me to submit Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda to publishers and, of course, I leaped at the opportunity.
There was a catch, though. It meant putting nearly everything production and marketing related on hold, for many reasons – like not interfering with the submissions process, or spending unnecessary money on costs traditionally covered by publishers. I couldn’t even hedge my bets and distribute advance reader copies (ARCs) to book media as one typically would two-to-three months out from a title’s release.
Most authors would send the manuscript in a PDF or Word file, but Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda is a choosable-path novel where the reader dictates the plot, making it heavily interactive. With hundreds of choices and sixty endings, it was critical I have a rigorously-tested retail version of both the paperback and ebook before I circulated them for critical consideration.
Roughly a month after the acquisitions process began, I declined multiple offers for the Once Upon a Themeseries, resuming my independent publishing plans. Unfortunately, all of the carefully vetted vendors I’d lined up had moved on to new projects. I’d missed the chance to pitch my dating culture-inspired novel for Valentine’s Day coverage. I had the final manuscript, but it would be two months of hair-tearing, insomnia-aggravating delays, and trouble-shooting before I had that bulletproof ARC to offer.
In the PR world, I’d be packing up my desk.
This was all compounded by chronic health issues, which mean that even when I plan and plan and plan, I don’t really have much control over my day-to-day activities, so two months behind is actually four. Rather than do an “official” launch, I just checked things of that list one at a time, reminding myself that if I didn’t do it that day, I may not get another chance for a while.
I launched the ebook in April and was finally able to get review copies out. The paperback and the official site followed in May. It’s now August and I’m still playing catch up on those lists, this tour is my first (and welcome!) opportunity to promote my work to a large audience and, since I’m writing this two weeks into the event, I can say it’s been a relief to finally get some feedback on the title from readers and reviewers.
I’m not sure why anyone would take advice from someone who kind of bricked her own launch, even if it was inadvertent. Nonetheless, I’ve been scratching my head trying to come up with at least one scrap of advice or wisdom to offer, and it’s this: Don’t panic.
There were a number of times I considered throwing out those lists, hoping that if I reduced the volume of executable items that I’d somehow be more successful. I ignored that impulse, and stuck to my big picture ideas, eventually realizing that the alternative would be the equivalent of lighting a sparkler when you’re impatient for a grand fireworks show. A brief spark of excitement that fizzles out quickly and that few people would see.
So…yeah. My book launch – I guess you’re on it.
Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll pick up your copy of Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda and check out a great social Eco-system for the series at www.doorflower.com, including original ecards, Spotify playlists and grown up versions of your favourite childhood games.
Be good to you,
Tara Lee Reed
Tara Lee Reed is the accidental writer from Toronto, Canada, not that chick from Sharknado. When her career in public relations was forced into hiatus by a jerky plot twist, she wrote the first in a series of interactive novels. When she received offers of single and multi-book deals from top houses, she turned them down to publish independently. Because she’s crazy.
She was voted Most Sarcastic Female at her high school prom, which she went to alone. (Not that she thinks about it.) She can fit her whole fist in her mouth (which makes the prom thing surprising), and she can sing with her mouth closed, but she can’t do both at the same time.
Her tweets on The Bachelor have been aired in a live broadcast and picked up by national media. She once appeared on the cover of a romance novel with her longtime partner, who has done 79 more – with other women. She thinks that’s qualification enough to write this book.