You have a new book out in the world. Huzzah! You should definitely be celebrating. Whether this is your tenth book with a Big 6 Publisher, a new book with a smaller house, self-pub, or your very first foray into publishing, you need to celebrate this accomplishment.
Millions of people want to write a novel. Only a tiny fraction ever finish one. An even smaller fraction of those go on to publish it. Uncork the good bubbly and celebrate with your loved ones. If you glean nothing else from this article, let it be that.
But aside from a nice bottle of Veuve Cliquot, I’ve laid out some things I found useful that I want you to consider when launching your book into the world:
1. It’s OK to feel a little depressed on launch day.
It’s a moment you have been waiting for, perhaps your whole life, and it can feel very anti-climactic. There is still laundry to be done and children to schlepp around. Even if you launch an instant bestseller, it’ll be awhile before life really changes.
2. Set aside time for promotion.
Yes, you should be hard at work on your next book by the time you launch your latest, but set aside time for blogging, social media, interviews and more. If you don’t your work in all areas will suffer and you’ll just be stressed.
3. Be responsive.
If people email you to congratulate you, post a cover of your shiny book just arrived at their doorstep, or post a review on their blog, make sure to reply and share links as appropriate. People like to be acknowledged, and it will earn you loyalty from your readers.
4. Do read reviews.
This is contrary to a lot of advice, but I believe in keeping an eye on what people have to say. The key is to take none of it personally. If you see a trend, consider paying it some heed. There is no such thing as a flawless book, and if you can learn something from the reviews, go for it.
I also read to flag for spoilers and abusive comments—anything that could legitimately turn a reader away. But an important caveat: never engage a reviewer personally. If you think a review needs to be removed (and this is rare), let the moderators know and hope they’ll do the right thing.
5. Don’t freak out about the bad reviews.
Many of us feel like a bad review is a rite of passage. They lend believability to the good reviews (readers know it’s not just our friends and family reading the book!) and they might steer away others who might honestly not enjoy your book. The trick isn’t just to find readers—you want the right readers, or the bad reviews will just multiply.
6. Don’t obsess over your numbers.
Yes, there are a zillion metrics to follow—sales rank, author rank, Nielsen numbers, and more. All that math is absolutely enough to kill anyone’s creative spark. I’m not saying don’t look. I’d be the world’s biggest hypocrite if I did, but try to set specific times to check so you don’t drive yourself bonkers. Keep yourself busy and productive—and away from the computer—if you struggle with this. Family excursions are my go-to for this. It’s impossible to worry about rankings while you’re chasing kids around the zoo. I promise.
7. Take time to pamper yourself.
A massage and a nice lunch can take away any launch time jitters, but a bath and a glass of wine can do almost as well. Personally, I treat myself to an evening at the movies all by myself. It’s a favorite indulgence of mine, and I can’t check my phone for two whole hours.
8. Talk to other authors.
Especially those you think have experienced a similar publishing journey in the same genre. They can give you tons of insight into what to expect. They will also let you know that much of the neuroses you’re experiencing are all totally normal. I’ve found that one very long Facebook Message chat with a friend from the same publishing house is one of the kindest things I’ve done for myself this month.
9. Thank your publisher and agent.
A lavish gift isn’t expected or necessary, but I like to send a little something to thank my house and my agent for all they’ve done. Something for the whole office, edible, and book-themed is my usual MO.
10. Do have a launch party.
Give your friends and family a thank you for all their support, and give them the chance to celebrate your success!
What do YOU do to cope with early-launch stress? We want to hear from you!
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Aimie K. Runyan writes to celebrate history’s unsung heroines. She is the author of two previous historical novels: Promised to the Crown, and Duty to the Crown from Kensington Publishing. Her upcoming novels Daughters of the Night Sky (available now as part of Amazon First Reads!) and Girls on the Line will release from Lake Union Publishing in January and November of 2018. She is active as an educator and speaker in the writing community and beyond. She lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband and two (usually) adorable children.
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Aimie, thank you for your post. It's very timely for me as I'm getting close to putting out my first book. Great tips!!
Just take it all in stride and take good care of yourself!
Great list, Aimie. I stink at 1 and 7, but I do okay on the others. I'll take it!
The release day dumps always surprise me. So counter-intuitive!
It does seem so counter-intuitive, but it’s a common thing. I just try to keep busy... launching at the holidays has been a mixed blessing for sure. I’ve been too busy to stress out too much, but holiday cheer has been more of a challenge!
Hi Laura! I think my last response got eaten in admin land! I said: It does seem so counter-intuitive, but it’s a common thing. I just try to keep busy… launching at the holidays has been a mixed blessing for sure. I’ve been too busy to stress out too much, but holiday cheer has been more of a challenge!
Lots of great advice here! I'm keeping this post handy for the future. Thanks!
Glad you found it useful! I have to try hard to follow my own advice! 😉
Bookmarking this. Going to a movie on launch day is a GREAT idea. Or that may be the perfect day for me to watch all four extended cuts of The Lord of the Rings movies in one sitting...
I am in full support of this plan! Anything that keeps you off the interswebs!!!
I mean all THREE. Let's not make it longer than it already will be! XD
Oh, Aimie, I wish I'd had this advice three months ago. I couldn't understand why I felt "down" on launch day. It had nothing to do with numbers or any feedback--I was just sad. Thanks for your post. Saving it for the next launch!
I liken it to sending your precious child off to college. It’s a wonderful thing, but it’s still almost a loss of sorts!
Super advice...especially about pampering ourselves after a job well done. I hope you treat yourself to something nice after posting this blog!
Ha! Laundry and cleaning today. Company arrival imminent!
Hi Aimie, I'm in the middle of "Daughters of the Night Sky" right now and love it! And I'm also going to be publishing my debut novel. It should be out sometime this winter, before mid-March. Your post is so timely and helpful. I think I shall print it out and put it on my bulletin board as a reminder to myself. Thanks again.
Glad you're loving it! I sure loved writing it! Glad this will be of use to you!
The social self-promotion part is always the hardest thing....As a writer, trying to finish my first novel, it always hangs me up....Being an introvert, it just doesn;t come natural. Yet, like u say, without it, everything else will be in vain!
thanks much for this!
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