I'm preparing for takeoff, which is now nine months away. The same amount of time it takes to grow a baby, coincidentally.
Here's a list I was given by a published mystery author friend--things I should be doing to prepare for my book launch in May:
1) My main advice is BOOK FIRST.
That's not an issue until I get some edits to work on. The novel is written and the publisher has it. So I'll go on to the next suggestion.
2) Then...get as much PR done now as you can, a day at a time.
OK, PR now, since I don't have any work to do on the book. Sounds like a plan.
3) Guest blogs? Line them up now and write them now. Don't do more than 12 and only do the ones that are friends or have big audiences. Don't say yes to every Tina, Denise and Harriet.
It's probably too late for that. I've accepted the first three blog invites, two of them interviews. I'm not sure I can be that choosy--not sure I know 12 people whose blogs have huge audiences. But I'm very pleased with the interview that went up Friday!
The second friend who asked wants to do an interview in September and another one closer to my publication date. Isn't she smart? That will be at this blog, Writers Who Kill. The first one should go up September 8th, I think. It will be a two-part interview! Not sure when the second day will be.
A third blogger invited me and I'll do hers next week. She has a feature called Made It Moment, where a writer relates the moment they considered they had made it.
I've been reading all three of these blogs and am very pleased to be on them!
So I guess I have 9 to go. I hope I can find 9 more places to blog, besides my own.
4) Don’t do too many conferences. Do only the main ones where the audience reads your style.
That's not much of a problem. I can't afford to go to many, unless that Texas Lotto comes through for me. Before I got the contract, I had already scheduled Left Coast Crime, mostly because it's going to be in Santa Fe next spring. I was on the fence about attending Malice Domestic again, although I love the conference, have gone many times, know lots of people who attend, and have a daughter and her family close by. I'm going now, of course. I may even be able to sell some books there, if they are printed in time. The publisher says that's a possibility!
5) Hit as many bookstores as you can - close to home. Go in now, have some artwork, a postcard, a PR package. Make friends. Shop first in the store so you're not just "an author" coming to pitch a book. Buy a book. Take in bookmarks, of your book, of friends' books.
I guess I can't do that until I have a cover. Shopping in the local bookstores is not a problem--been doing that for years. But I don't have any PR material until some things get finalized.
6) Start making lists of people you know and can send an email or snail mail to a month to two months ahead of publication as a reminder. Make it so it can be a label-producing list.
Ah, this I can do now! In fact, I've been copying off the email addresses of all the people who congratulate me. I figure they might possibly be interested in a newsletter and in buying my book. After I post this, I'll bet I won't get any more emails for awhile.
I plan to send an initial email to the whole list I've collected and ask them to opt in if they'd like. I hate opt out programs and won't do that to anyone.
7) Lastly, start making new friends on twitter and FB, about 20 a day and you won't feel overwhelmed.
That's an awful lot! I think if I did that many I'd be overwhelmed. But I am trying to accumulate followers and I follow lots of people, too. Many seem to magically appear and I have no idea where they came from. But I'm glad they're following me.
It also occurred to me, when I got an email about donating items to the charity auction for Left Coast Crime, that I could now do this! Maybe. My book won't be published until two months after the conference is ended, so I emailed and asked about that. I want to donate a gift basket that contains a preorder of my book and other items people might like. I have no idea if this is good form or not. I hope the coordinator will tell me if it's not! I did ask her to.
I visited Archie McPhee's, which I just learned about a week or two ago, and found some items that would be perfect for a charity basket. Or for just general publicity give-aways for CHOKE.