I have been officially launched for three and a half weeks, or three and a half months if you count the e-book.
The most important things about your debut book being launched are
- It’s truly great.
- Except it isn’t every minute. It can be a real roller-coaster. Literally, a set-back can send you down, a good review soaring up, in the time it takes to cook a casserole.
- You did it! Yay!
- So you can finish the second one! Aaargh! Tricky Second Album.
- Be proud but also, stay humble. Just one of the paradoxes.
- Try to enjoy its absurdities and unexpected felicities. Old friends getting in touch. Marvellous reviews in odd places.
- Keep focused and working on the next project.
- RATION SOCIAL MEDIA.
Some other thoughts
It has social cachet. People vaguely know it’s a good thing to have published a book.
People do say the weird things you are told they do. Some are just awkwardness. ‘You must have done a lot of research’ for example.
It’s worth remembering how individual responses to a book are. Some people won’t like it, some will buy it but not read it for three months, some won’t finish it, and some who promised to review it won’t. Everyone else’s life does not rotate around your book.
Nice surprise, publishing is full of people who like books and like talking about them. It’s very concerned about the bottom line, but they do like books.
Covers really matter. You see booksellers decide to stock on a two sentence description and the cover.
Self-publishing still has a poor reputation out there. Some people know some self-published books are good, but traditional publishing still has cachet.
I wouldn’t say ‘Nobody in publishing knows anything’ but they cannot predict clearly which books will soar and which won’t. In fact, the current traditional publishing model is to do lots of books that do OK or badly; lots of debuts which may not lead to solid book a year careers; and the cluster of high performers and surprising new hits which keep the show on the road.
There is a great glowing galaxy of book bloggers, and your publicist lines them up to write about the book, a great flood of reviews for about two weeks. In my case, I got tons of splendid blog reviews and a couple that were a bit off, but people are entitled to their opinions.
I got positive reviews in the Guardian, Daily Mail, Weekend Sport, Grazia, Mature Times, Candis,My Weekly, and the Irish Independent. In the SFF world, Interzone and SciFiNow were great. Pleased to see the coverage in Financial Times and SFX. So this is magnificent work by the term.
The good thing about my reviews is that the negatives largely cancel out. A few people don’t like Cory. Many fall passionately in love with him. All those people who found it gripping need to talk to the people who found it slow. Etc.
Then you run into distribution. Truth is, bookshops can’t stock every new novel. Many, if you are lucky, have a single copy, placed spine out on a low shelf. Being surname Co… puts you on the floor level in Waterstones New Fiction. You endlessly tell your friends, “order it – usually comes next day or so… Don’t wander around town looking for a bookshop with thousands in a pile.”
The author thanks you for your support. Honest. They’re just trying to remember why they agreed to write that article for publicity to that deadline. And figuring out the next book.