Monday, July 11, 2011

I May Be Stupid, But...

Okay, so I launched a book. Hopefully, it was helpful to some of you. Maybe you're like me, and you took notes of what you think might work for you when you launch your book. See that positive thinking there? *wink*

Anyway, I feel like I worked my fingers to the bone during pre-release. Sure, I wrote another book in only three months (yes, drafted, revised, sent to betas, revised again, sent to my agent, and revised again), but that was done in February.

In March, April, and May I focused on promotion. I mean, that's what we authors hear, right? Gotta do this thing, and that thing, and build build build the buzz buzz buzz buzz!

Right?

Right.

So I did all that.

And then June 7 came.

And went.

And the book came out. It was all kinds of glorious and fun and parties and stuff.

When I had a chance to sit down and think, it suddenly hit me: My job isn't over. I still need to write another book, sure. (*panic face* When am I going to do that?) But the business side, the marketing, the promotion still isn't over.

An author has to market their book after release as well. Who knew??

Not me. I do now, and I feel like a moron for not realizing it earlier. Maybe I wouldn't have exhausted myself so thoroughly pre-release. Maybe now I wouldn't feel like crying at the thought of marketing my book.

Maybe you won't make the same mistake I did.

Have you thought about this? What's your marketing plan?

Also, in an attempt to continue marketing, there is a Goodgrounds Approved contest going on until the end of the month. Zenn and Vi explain everything here.

62 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

That is true. That's one reason I don't feel bad that I interview some debut authors more than a month after their release. Because often there isn't much buzz on the Internet after the release of books. But your release was awesome. The work never ends, does it?

Miranda Hardy said...

Marketing is a necessary evil. To me, this will be the moat difficult process of all. Most authors don't realize how important this part is, but Elana you've done well in marketing yourself. Keep it up.

Gina said...

I wish! I'm too busy worrying that when I finally get the guts to query, I'll be instantly rejected by all agents who see my ms is about college-age girls. Argh!

But congrats to you- you're book is definitely on my radar and I can't wait to read it!

Jessica Bell said...

LOL, oh dear. Why didn't anyone tell you this? Seriously? I was full warned by my publisher that marketing will last the entire first year of my book's release and to not exhaust it. LOL, oh you poor thing. Have a couple weeks off. Completely! Don't even look at a computer screen, and begin refreshed. That's what I would do.

Laura Pauling said...

:) There's always something we don't realize or miss about the process. I think your blog is a huge marketing tool for your book and that's something you do anyway! Good luck!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Oh no - I knew it kept going! And it was the prospect of writing another book that freaked me out the most.

Alison Miller said...

You HAVE done an amazing job of promoting your book and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy and read it.

Promotion is never-ending. I'm sure it's exhilarating and exhausting at the same time, but just breathe and refresh once in a while. I'm a teacher and one of the nice perks is the time to renew after an intense ten months. I find that I have to take a week off of EVERYTHING just to catch up with myself and reflect and redirect.

Good luck! And don't forget to step back every once in a while and ENJOY IT! :)

Heather Kelly said...

Hmm. A marathon of marketing, not a sprint. Although I bet it feels like you've already done the marathon. Maybe we should call it an Ironman rather than a marathon.

Take a small vacation, rest up, and then let us know what we can do to help.

I know what I can do--I'll give away a copy of POSSESSION on my blog during the Tour de Writing. :) I'm posting the start up post today, and the prize post on Wednesday. :)

But seriously (although that was serious), do let us know if there are ways in which we can help.

Matthew MacNish said...

My project is intended as the first in a series, but I'm kind of terrified that if I can ever sell it, I'll be absolutely stumped as to what to write for the second one.

It's kind of a recurring nightmare.

John Waverly said...

Yep. I visited with a debut author the other day. His book has been out for quite awhile. He said, "The biggest problem I have right now is obscurity."

I'm sure you'll figure out a way to use your unending supply of Awesome, even if your energy reserves are depleted.

Danyelle said...

*hugs*

To be honest, this hadn't occurred to me before. Keep me in mind if you need anything. :)

Christa said...

Yes, this has occurred to me. And it occurs to me that when you are "done" with this post-launch promotion, you will need to do pre-launch on your next book. I don't think this roller coaster ever ends. Perhaps we could ask Margaret Atwood???

Jemi Fraser said...

A plan? I'm supposed to have a plan??? Help! :P

There's so much more to every step than we expect as newbies! I'm so glad I've got people like you who are so willing to share your ideas and expertise!! :)

Steena Holmes said...

Its never ending isn't it! Eat some chocolate covered bacon darlin, things will look better after that!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

And this is why I'm soooo happy to be where I am right now. I can still enjoy writing every day. ;)

Oh, and ignore Steena's advice; otherwise, people will either thing you're pregnant or you'll be puking your guts out--and that's never very productive. :D

Christine Fonseca said...

I so get it! I have to consciously work on promotion every week...and still figure out time to write in order to switch genres etc.exhausting......

Caroline Starr Rose said...

When I was on sub (and again this summer) I read PUBLICIZE YOUR BOOK! It's a great resource that helps you think through a personal marketing plan (something you can share with your publicist or simply use on your own), target audience, etc. What I loved is the tangible ways the book gave me to think through the whole promotion phase, from those golden six months before release and beyond.

I think you, my dear, have done an amazing job.

storyqueen said...

Seriously...what else are you supposed to do? Stop random strangers on the street? (Um, actually, that is part of MY marketing plan).

You are doing great. It might be easier to think of ways to "connect with your readers...old and new" as opposed to "marketing".

Hate the term marketing...hate feeling like I am trying to sell something. but I do love to connect with kids, librarians and schools!

Sometimes a turn of the phrase makes all the difference

Good luck, my dear.

Shelley

Javid Suleymanli said...

Debut authors always struggle about promotion. anyway, if the work is good, it will promote itself :)

Taffy said...

I'm watching you for my marketing plan :)

kathrynjankowski said...

You might find THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER by Carolyn Howard-Johnson helpful.
Remember to breathe. ;-)

Sara McClung ♥ said...

Hang in there, Elana! Your promotional efforts have been AMAZING--and maybe someday soon they'll seem like second nature to you.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I'm taking lots of notes from you if I ever sell a book! lol I think you've done a fantastic job promoting so far! :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Marketing. The thing that scares me even more than querying, which is saying a lot.

Jen said...

I'm so with Donna on this one *nervous twitch*

Natalie said...

Marketing? I'm afraid to even think about it. I think you did an AMAZING job. I still can't wait to read POSSESSION! I have my copy just sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me to finish edits. SOON!!!

My sister-in-law read it last week (in 2 days) and thought it was awesome. She has REALLY good taste.

Mindy McGinnis said...

My marketing plan is to push my boobs together and smile. That'll work... right?

Teresa aka Journaling Woman said...

If anyone can do it, you can!!!

I hope someday I will have the opportunity to be freaked out like this. I'm saying that now, will I later? Hmm

Shari said...

The thought hasn't even crossed my mind. I'm kind of a loser like that. One day I'll be screaming "Elana help!!!"

Shari said...

The thought hasn't even crossed my mind. I'm kind of a loser like that. One day I'll be screaming "Elana help!!!"

Joylene Butler said...

Elana, you are so cute. Thanks for the chuckle. I'm having a party on Saturday to launch my second book. I want to sleep for a week, but maybe I'll get a chance to in November. LOL.

I'm one up on you. I started my 3rd book while I was waiting for the publisher to iron out the wrinkles on my 2nd. Which reminds me, I better get back to work so I can query them with this new book in say... 3 months.

Elle Strauss said...

It does feel like an impossible hill to climb, where you think you're almost at the top, but when you break through the batch of clouds, you see that you're not even half way there.

I'm wondering how a person can market their book outside of the circle their that own personal blog reaches. I would think that after awhile, everyone who has ever been linked to your blog through blog marketing will already have heard about the book. Are there other avenues to exploit? I'm going to check out the book Caroline recommended.

Sarah Allen said...

Don't let it get you down too much! Just do what you can, and don't stress about the rest. And seriously, the best marketing is a good book, and you've got no worries there.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Christine Rains said...

I knew it had to happen, but what scares me is trying to find the time to properly promote a book and write another at the same time. I only get an hour or two a day to do so!

Colene Murphy said...

Huh...never thought about that. Good point...Well, you excel at everything you do writing related (I'm sure other stuff too, but I don't physically stalk you. Could excel at house work, or grocery shopping but...I donno) I'm sure you'll do amazing at post book release promotion!

Jessie Humphries said...

Ughhh...I feel totally sympathetic for you? You need a vacay. And some bacon. That'll give you the strength to get through:).

L.T. Elliot said...

I don't think you're stupid at all. I just think no one really knows how to prepare for just how much work there really is behind the scenes. It's a tough gig, this biz. All the same, I'm so proud of you, E.

Elana Johnson said...

Thank you, all! You always make me smile, and allow me not to feel so stupid.

I <3 you!!

ali said...

Yeah, I've been thinking about that recently too as I realized I haven't done anything to update the fansite. And then I was thinking "well, what the heck do we do now???"

So I'm learning too . . . !!!

And STUPID is one thing I NEVER think of when I think of you!

Jennie Bailey said...

I'm too afraid to think too much on it. I don't want to jinx myself. But I have bookmarks. Ooooh, so many bookmarks. I've been reading and watching and listening - paying attention to what worked, what didn't work, what should be tried. Once I have a release date, then I'll be scouring those bookmarked pages!

The Golden Eagle said...

I don't think you're stupid--at all! Could anyone really keep track of every step of the process?

I haven't really though about marketing much. I'll allow myself to feel terrified once I actually finish an acceptable draft. :P

Patti said...

To be honest, the marketing part of being an author is what scares me the most.

Marsha Sigman said...

Marketing? What the hell?

I'm hoping I can hire you.lol

Theresa Milstein said...

Good luck with your next round of promotion. Since I don't have an agent yet, so you're many steps ahead of me. I haven't thought of it.

At least you have friends who have had books out for a longer time. They can give you advice.

Stephsco said...

I hope you're encouraged by all the progress you've made so far. Your blog was a gateway for me to a lot of other author and publishing blogs because I found your blog linked from Publisher's Weekly back in February or so. I learned about blog tours from you and all kinds of crosso-promo stuff I'd never heard of.

The foundation you laid has to mean something! Maybe just keep on what you're doing and work in times for breaks. A think a lot of us readers appreciate interviews and book reviews months after a book comes out b/c it's so hard to keep up with new releases. I have 8 already-purchased books in my TBR pile, and while I constantly update my wishlist on B&N and Goodreads, I need reminders of those books I'm waiting to read.

You've done a great job and stay encouraged!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Marketing and promoting are necessary evils. It's always a good thing, though, when an author thinks outside the box and makes it different for readers.

Regina said...

I did a review on my blog during the Show the Possession Love Tour. Now I posted it on Barnes and Noble and it was on my Goodreads account awhile back. I like doing what I can to help out!

Jeff King said...

I am a fool… so no I have not thought about it, (I wish you the best though) I just hope to make it past book #1.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I haven't thought about it AT ALL. Not that I'm in a position yet to have to worry about that. But I mostly just figure that it's more exciting to just be blindsided by that kind of thing, right? ;)

LynNerd said...

You're anything but stupid, Elana. You persevered with all those queries. Still boggles my mind. You conquered. Your launch was awesome. You're doing everything right. First, you need some time to recuperate, time for fun, time for you. Then brainstorm about promoting. I don't think you're going to have to kill yourself, maybe just offer those skype visits sometimes.

You have a great following, and word of mouth is the best advertising in the world. But if you still feel like you need to do something, you might want to start your own Youtube channel (if you don't have one yet), and do some video clips that are two minutes or less. Make it fun or you'll get stressed and burn out. Sleep on it and see what ideas come to you. I've made two pretty nutty videos, all in the name of promoting my beloved babies, making myself look like an idiot. But I'm having fun & being my goofball self, so it's turning out to be another creative outlet. Whatever way you chose to do to promote your book, make sure it's something you enjoy doing.

I think bringing the subject up on your blog is a great move. Look at all the support you're getting. You're a good role model for us. Go easy on yourself!

TirzahLaughs said...

Promotions, contests, interviews on well known blog sites and related sites. Advertising on FB.

And so on.

Get book clubs to read and hopefully promote the book.

See if independent bookstores will let you do a reading and a book signing--or even a library reading.

Tirz

Caledonia Lass said...

Elana, I've been lurking, but that doesn't mean I don't keep up with you. But you know what I have to say about you feeling stupid for not realizing this? Oh well. You are not stupid. This was your first book out, right? This is how we grow as writers and authors, this is WHY we BLOG our mistakes.
Lord knows I made some pretty big ones myself. I got scammed first time around. But you are taking your mistakes and tucking them away and sharing them with us.
Everything happens for a reason, don't beat yourself up over it, kiddo. ;)

A Backwards Story said...

You did an amazing job, though, and the buzz is still building. I still hear about people discvoering your novel! I've been holding off on my review a bit, so that will be some more after-buzz :)

Take a break so you don't burn out!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Elana, I really appreciate this post. The thing about being a published author is that the work is never ending. There is always marketing and always writing and work and editing to be done. I try to look at in the way I see McDonald's and Subway, Nike, etc. market their brands. They are HUGE, but they keep marketing. They never stop. That's how they stay huge. As tiring as that sounds to me, it's something I've headed into that I can't back away from.

I think you did such a great job going into your launch, and I still see you doing an amazing job. :)

Lydia Sharp said...

Aw, Elana, you're not stupid! *hugs*

Michelle Fayard said...

I've been putting together the marketing plan for my first novel, a historical YA set on the Kansas-Missouri border on the eve of the Civil War. I'm so glad I read your post when I did, Elana.

Even though I had my plan divided into subcategories such as Before the Book Pubs, Once I Have a Contract, Closer to the Street Date and After the Book Pubs, the last category doesn't have a year's worth of ideas--yet. I'll be "poaching" your ideas for The Underground Gift. :)

A big congratulations on your novel, Possessed; your success is very well deserved.

Michelle
http://michellefayard.blogspot.com

A.G. Wright said...

It seems once we start to market ourselves, our writing gets put on the back burner. And all we really want to do is write! It's a hard balance but you've shown us - it can be done - thank you!

Melodie said...

Elana, you're my inspiration when (not if!) I first publish. There's always another mountain to climb but you definitely have the tools to make it. Thanks for sharing your climbing experience with the rest of us.

Melodie
http://foreverrewrighting.blogspot.com

Nisa said...

So much pressure! And I just want to finish writing my first book... lol! *hugs* Good luck

Carol Riggs said...

Gah! No, not stupid. I hadn't realized that either--haven't thought much past just Writing The Thing (well, and going on sub in September *shudders*). Thanks for pointing that out; it's nice to be aware of what's gonna happen in the future!

Claire Dawn said...

I hadn't thought about it either. Wow, I'll need to figure it out. There's one benefit to not being at the query stage yet. :)

Ishta Mercurio said...

Oh, Elana. Get some rest! Mental rest, as well as physical rest.

I kind of thought about this, but I don't have a book coming out yet, so I don't have to think about it as much. But yes, I worry about how I will fit it all in without neglecting my kids and my husband. Or my next book.

OK, now I'm panicking. :-/ Time for some chocolate...

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