by Carrie Lofty
Copyright © 2010 Carrie Lofty
Originally published by 1st Turning Point
Launching a new book can be an intimidating prospect. So much rides on a thriving release, but so many variables stand between an author’s best intentions and success.
A caveat: I have not released a hundred books, or even ten, but I’ve done all my own work. Although I’d love to have the resources one day to have a publicist to call my very own, that isn’t my reality. Everything that I’m going to share has been learned through hard work and trial and error. I hope you can glean something from my experiences.
Do you know that woman in your chapter who never shuts up about her latest project? Or maybe the last time you were at a conference, she was the lady at your luncheon table who nattered on about her work? It’s embarrassing, isn’t it? ”Oh, not again,” the rest of us think in unison.
Part of our fear in promoting our own work is to be “that author.” But I’m convinced that part of the key to avoiding being “that author” is to simply be aware that such people exist. It’s a natural social filter that allows us to recognize when we’re being completely uncool. Knowing is most of the battle!
However, we often take it too far. We don’t talk about our work at all for fear of boring those who really have other, better things on their minds.
I run a multi-author blog called Unusual Historicals where we feature guest authors every Sunday. That’s 52 guest spots that I must book each year! When you’re on the hunt for potential blog sites, consider that flip side for a moment: they need authors or else they won’t have site content. It’s a two-way street! Approach site managers politely and well in advance. They’re sure to give you a wonderful reception, if only because your initiative saves them the hassle of tracking down guests. The same goes for newspapers, especially local papers. They need column inches. It never hurts to ask.
That “well in advance” thing is key. Some sites book months in advance. I’d suggest starting your search and booking dates as early as when you first receive your cover art, and certainly by the time you have pre-order links.
Once you have your guest spot booked, feel free to talk about your work as much as you want. After all, that’s the reason you’re there. Show off your reviews, your trailers, your excerpts-anything that can hook potential readers into picking up a copy of your book. To bore luncheon-goers is one thing; to talk when you’re supposed to…that’s good business!
Next, consider who you approach for interviews and stories. The broader you can make your sweep, the better. If your book is about a heroine who loves gardening, consider soliciting interviews from those who run home and garden sites. People who garden, knit, play sports, love dogs, or enjoy any other hobby might not consider themselves active readers. They may never visit a book review site. But if they learned of a romance or mystery that featured their favorite leisure activity, that might make them curious.
Consider other options to coincide with your release date. I recently wrote an article for Romance Writers Report, the monthly trade magazine of RWA. As compensation, I received a half-page ad in that issue. That not only saved me money, but people who valued what I wrote may be more likely to remember my name in the future. The same goes for the two workshops I’ll be teaching during my release month, with more planned throughout 2010.
And always, always, people love free books. If you can order copies of your book at cost, you’ll be able to give them away like candy! For debut authors, it helps get people past their hesitation about trying someone new, and for more established authors, one free book may be what sparks a reader’s interest in your back catalog. Everyone wins!
Try to be everywhere at once during those weeks surrounding your release. It’s time-consuming, especially if you have other deadlines, but the commitment will generate reader interest. You want to push readers to that tipping point where they simply have to read your book…or risk feeling left out!
Just remember that no matter how arduous your promotional tasks appear, just remember what you’re actually doing: you’re launching your book! How cool is that?
Since 2008, RITA-nominated and RT Reviewers’ Choice-winning author Carrie Lofty has over twenty books to her name—or four names, to be precise. Currently with Pocket, her historical romances have been described as “nuanced and superbly realized” (The Chicago Tribune), while her “Dragon Kings” paranormal series, written as Lindsey Piper, is “sexy, brutal and somehow innocent” (All About Romance). In May 2014, Carrie celebrates the release of her first New Adult romance, Blue Notes, featuring a shy piano prodigy and a New Orleans playboy.
As Katie Porter, all five of Carrie and co-writing partner Lorelie Brown’s “Vegas Top Guns” contemporary erotic romances received 4½ Stars from RT BookReviews. They have been honored with a Reviewers’ Choice award for Best Erotic Ebook, and the first m/m nomination for RT’s Book of the Year. Back-to-back releases of their La Femme Nakita-inspired military romance series will begin in May 2014 from Samhain.
During her junior year abroad, Carrie lured an unsuspecting Englishman to the Midwest, where she’s kept him a happy ex-pat for sixteen years. With two pre-teen daughters and a master’s degree specializing in Old West outlaws, Carrie is a movie buff, a former ballroom and bellydancer, and a woman in desperate need of a maid service.