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Surviving Your Book Launch

The most wonderful thing has happened, the thing I always wanted, and I’m in here under the covers hiding from the book launch day for my first novel, The Renaissance Club. It was published on January 23 by Fiery Seas Publishing, a wonderful new publishing company.  Your book launch may not be as scary as mine, but probably it will be. You might find yourself hiding like I am because after all the effort to write and rewrite a book, suffer rejections from agents and publishers, finally find a  publisher who finally sends it out in the world, you just have too much wrapped up in this thing. All I’m thinking right now is how can I survive the attention?

Actually, surviving was a combination of being an introvert who shuns personal attention and coming down with a bad cold on the actual day of the book launch. Some people party and pop champagne corks. I pretty much slept through my own debut.

How to survive your book launch without losing your marbles or worrying about Amazon ranking, sales, and whether or not you have that thing called an “author platform”?

The best way is to realize that Day One of a book’s release doesn’t really matter. The real launch starts months and even years before.As you can see from my post when pre-orders went up on Amazon, I was already in a hyper state. I had this sinking feeling that I should have done so much more by this point! And yet I had done a lot. I had built a new website, was active for years on Facebook as a poet, and was active on Twitter too.

Book marketing experts talk about “author platforms”, as if you and your book are a missile to be launched from someplace like Cape Canveral. But an author platform, I discovered (as I built one) is a much more subtle thing. Jane Friedman’s terrific article on this topic helped me a lot. And it takes a lot longer than the few months  before your  book launch. An author platform is who you are as a writer, and it’s taken me decades to figure that out. I’ve written all my life, but only at this point, after the book launch, have I really figured out what I want to write and how to position that in the world of social media.

A good thing to remember is that the best thing you can do for your book is write another book, as I mention in this blog post.

After the Book Launch, What’s the Most Important Thing?

The best post-launch thing to remember is that your book will be out there in the world for a long, long time. If you plan to write other books, this is the opening inning of a long game. You need to play toward the end, and don’t let this first swing at bat throw you. Okay, enough baseball metaphors.

What I’m trying to say is that though I was tempted to worry and obsess about sales and Amazon rankings anbd reviews in the first week or month after my book launch, I’m trying not to worry now. I’m writing something new and enjoying that when I see friends, the first thing someone says is, “I’m halfway through” or “Why does time fold for George St. James?” or “I’m in Florence now!” They’re reading my writing and liking it.

I love the fact that real people — and people I know and people I don’t — have this book in their hands and are following the story of May Gold and her artist hero, Gianlorenzo Bernini, as it heats up, and as time folds, giving my young heroine time and a fresh chance to start living her life as she always dreamed. I love that I have a new novel  nearly finished, a completely different story about two half-sisters and the ghost of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and that I have even begun outlining a new novel that’s a spinoff from The Renaissance Club. I love that I can see myself as a writer and my path ahead. The launch I survived is the launch of me, the novelist.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve launched a book, I’d love to hear how you experienced yours.



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