Eight months out from the launch of my second book, I’m starting to think about promotions. It’s a task that must be done, even though it makes me uncomfortable. I’m always embarrassed promoting myself. (In fact, it’ll take all my guts just to stick my book’s cover image at the end of this post.) Luckily, I learned a lot from the launch of my first book – and from watching other authors launch theirs.
First, DO be part of the conversation on social networks, not a one-track self-promoter. DON’T comment on people’s blogs by mentioning how their post reminds you of your book and providing a buy link. (I’ve seen this done!) Participate in conversations without dropping your book title all the time. Just get yourself out there and be visible.
DO thank every blogger who hosts you with a guest blog or interview. You may have provided content for them, but they took the time to set up the post. When my first book launched, I couldn’t decide whether or not I should comment on blog reviews that I stumbled across through Google Alerts. Did it make me look like a stalker if I did? Did it seem aloof if I didn’t? In the end, I came to the conclusion that no one can take a simple “Thanks!” amiss.
DO respond to people who contact you about your book or mention you in FB and Twitter posts. The months before and after a book launch are super busy – especially if you have a family and a full time job as well. But it’s important to block out time to respond to the readers who reach out to you.
DON’T respond to negative reviews by arguing with the reviewer. Not ever. No matter how hurtful, inaccurate, or unfair the review is, DON’T do it. Even if the reviewer gives you a 1-star rating because the UPS man ran over her dog while delivering the book: Just. Look. Away.
DON’T judge the success of an author appearance by how many people show up or how many books you sell. An experienced author once told me that connections you make talking to people (readers, store owners, other authors) are often more important than the signed books that walk out the door. One time, a 20-minute conversation with a woman who did NOT buy my book that night resulted in her book club choosing to read it four months later.
And finally, DO remember that no matter how important your book launch is to you, it’s not the center of everyone else’s life. DON’T be hurt by family, friends, and co-workers who fail to rush out and buy the book on the release date. Of course, the ones who do will hold a special place in your heart (and sometimes you’ll be surprised by which ones they are), but everyone else wishes you well too, no matter when (or if) they read your book.