It’s been just a smidge over one month since we launched my novel, Waiting for Jacob. (I say “we” because it was definitely a team effort. And that’s a post for another day, because my launch team deserves their own space!) What a fun ride! I can’t wait to do it again. They say your first novel is a learning novel, and I can certainly echo that truth. Here are a few lessons I learned that I’ll put to good use the next go around:
Start Working on the Paperback Before the Ebook
I was so nervous about wrapping my non-techy head around converting my document to an ebook, that I didn’t even consider paperback formatting. Turns out, I had more trouble figuring out pagination and trim size for a “real book” than I did with the ebook. (For a list of all the software, YouTube videos, and free resources I used for ebook *and* paperback, sign up for email updates using the button at the end of this post!)
People Really Do Want to Help — Ask Them!
When I read that I should ask my friends and family to help promote my novel, I cringed. I mean. . . I didn’t want to be that guy. My friends and family are all pretty busy with their own cool stuff, so I meekly offered them my humble project. And even though I thought I knew how wonderful they were.
So, don’t hesitate to ask for help. When an author is getting a book ready for publication, he or she is immersed in the world of books, editing, and publishing. We forget that a book project isn’t something most people get to navigate. Many find a behind-the-scenes look at book production interesting. And even if they don’t, they find *you* interesting, because they love you.
And be sure to help promote your friends’ passion projects later on!
Get Comfortable with Self-Promotion
I’m an introvert. (An INFJ, if you want to know.) But I called the newspaper and let them know about my book, and that I’d be hosting an event. I told them they were welcome to send a reporter down to the location at such-and-such time for an interview. Then I hung up the phone. . .and freaked out a little. The night before, I took an EmergenZzz just so I’d get a little sleep. And I talked to so many people that night, I lost my voice. That’s what kind of introvert I am.
When the article came out, a few of my students told me I looked like The Joker in the photo, because I wore red lipstick. Thanks, guys.
If you want a healthy launch week for your book, you have to ignore all that awkwardness the best you can and self-promote like it’s your business. Because it is your business! Fear, nervousness, awkwardness — those are all short-term problems. Those are the potholes you swerve around so you can reach your big goal. It would be crazy to turn your car around and head back home every time you encountered a pothole. Likewise, you need to swerve, tiptoe, and finesse your way through the sometimes-scary landscape of self-promotion so you can keep driving toward your success. Get a little snobby about it. You didn’t crush every milestone and write a whole darn book just to let it languish unread because you’re too shy to tell anyone about it!
You can worry about the haters, but you know what? I didn’t have any. (I’m sure they’ll show up eventually, though.) Instead, a lot of people I thought weren’t even paying attention told me they were proud of me, and were inspired. Some even admitted they’d like to do the same, but didn’t know if they could. So if you’re scared to promote your project, don’t do it for you. Do it for the ones who need to see someone win. Then, they’ll know they can win, too.
Are you ready to launch, but too afraid to click ‘Publish’? Make a plan, then take the first step, then the next, then the next. It won’t be perfect, but you’ll come out the other side with valuable experience and a broader skill set.
What’s keeping you from your book launch? Click the button below to tell me, and to download the list of resources I used for launch prep!
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