What it Feels Like to Launch a Book

If you have a book coming out, CONGRATULATIONS!

When you first get the offer for your book, you may feel all floaty and excited.

Now you may wait days or months to sign your contract.

Once your contract is signed, and you’ve announced it with the world, celebrate some more! Also, once you’ve celebrated, try to take a social media break before marketing ramps up later.

You may get to circle a date for when your book will born into this world. The date may change a little or a lot!

Join an author group, maybe a debut one if you’re a debut author, it is a great resource.

If you are publishing a picture book, you may get to give input on illustrators. So much fun. Or you may get notified of who will be illustrating your work and get to peruse their blog, portfolio, instagram and get lost in art. You may see their character ideas.

For middle grade, you may get to give input on a cover artist.

While you wait for updates, work on something else. anything else!

Attempt writing your new book. The best marketing you can do for your first book is write another book. It’s easier to write without reviews bouncing in your head.

As more months go by, you may get to see interior art sketches and give input there too.

Soumbal Qureshi illustrations!

You will go through rounds of copy edits. For picture books, your editor may dissect certain lines to tweak. Sadly, this will take you hours. Such is the world of picture books. Or you may be lucky and have minimal edits. Each book is different.

For middle grade, your first round of edits will probably be with your main editor for plot related things. Then, you will think you are done. But you are not. Rest assured, copyeditors will comb through your entire manuscript for teeny tiny punctuation things. There will be lots and lots of comments.

For middle grade, you may get to choose fonts and headings. You will go through a few more rounds of edits of cover, book jacket, the story, and then you will have to write acknowledgements which some say is harder than writing the book! Keep a document of who helped you along the way if you can. IF not, try to remember and you will be fine!

For picture books, you will get to see final art. This is the part where you see your character come to life, when your story becomes a real book. It’s MAGICAL.

For Middle Grade, you may receive a box of arcs (Advanced Reader Copies) in the mail! Make sure to get a reaction video or photo! Don’t change into something fancy, there will be time for that at your book launch!

Connect with arc groups and get your book out there in the world to get some reviews. ie. #bookposse #bookexcursion #bookallies #litreviewcrew. Get some blurbs from authors you admire and love!

Closer to the publishing date, usually within 3 months of the book coming out in the world, there will be ACTUAL REAL PEOPLE not your critique partners, editor, or family, but REAL random people reading your book. They can give you reviews on Net Galley or Good Reads. This can be stressful as you may obsess over what people are saying about your book. There may be people who love your book and some people who don’t really care for your book. Such is life. You cannot please everyone.

You will start to get trade reviews from BIG places like Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, ALA Booklist and more. If you are one of the super lucky ones, you may get a starred review! It can be rare and there’s only a small percentage of stars (I think for Kirkus, it’s ten percent of ALL the books they read.) These reviews are the ones pasted on all the websites that you buy from (think Amazon) and more. Pray for a good review!

Each reviewer is different! One person may love it, one person may like it, one may dislike it. Hopefully you will get good enough reviews to balance out if any big reviewer doesn’t like it. If you start to feel doubts about your book, look up a book you love. Most likely there will be a bad review for that book, the book you loved. Then you can shake your head and wonder how in the world, someone didn’t love the book you loved.

Usually 2 months before the book is released, you may want to try your hand at marketing. You may hop on Canva and spend time playing with fonts while typing up blurbs for your books. Promoting yourself on social media feels weird, but if you promote other books you love, it will hopefully make it less weird.

You may do a cover reveal or interview on a book blogger’s website (i.e. Mr. Schu who will hype you up for life!)

You may pass your Monday nights at 9 pm EST chatting with awesome educators and librarians and authors about middle grade on #Mgbookchat on Twitter. This is a great chance to read new upcoming books, connect with book loving people, but also share a little about your book! These people are passionate about good books and you’ll have so much fun!

As more reviews come in for your book, this is when the book starts to feel real. Almost like those early contractions before you have a baby; this book is coming!

You may get a knock on the door with a big box full of YOUR books. After ALL That editing, you may not read your book for months, instead just hug it for a selfie.

You may eat too much closer to book release date. You may eat too little.

You may look at your phone too much.

You may want to write something new, but it may be harder to focus. A lot harder. It may not be your season to write something new and major and that’s okay.

You may get emails, emails, emails about interviews, podcasts, and more. You may not get so many emails and that’s okay too. Some books launch quieter than others.

You may want to polish up your author website. Have a Press Kit, a new author photo, Author Visit info (for virtual or in-person!) Interview your illustrator and cover designer and feature them on your blog!

On Book Release Date, the online world may wish you Happy Birthday to your book baby! You may have to remind members in your family that it’s a big day for you. It may be busier on social media. There may be people congratulating you. You may be v. absent minded and have a v. messy kitchen. Your day will be normal and not-so-normal at all!

You may pop in to a bookstore to see your book! (Call bookstore before coming to make sure your book is there and they know its location in store so you can avoid awkward fumbling!)

Atlanta Barnes and Noble in Buckhead location

You may choose to celebrate (please celebrate!) with cake. You may get a cake with your book’s photo on it. Whatever the case, you did it, eat cake!

You may have a virtual book launch. You don’t want to be scrambling for zoom ID and makeup the last few minutes before you go live. Try to plan your outfit beforehand and give yourself extra time to get zoom-ready. After many pajama days, it takes you a longer time to get dressed. You won’t remember how to wing your eyeliner. But you will be excited about your story and that is what people will hopefully remember.

You may feel exhausted and sort of brain foggy after it’s all done!

That weird excitement, jittery feeling, will be there for some time after the book is released. Now, the book is in the REAL WORLD. There will be many more reviews for your book.

You may start lurking on Amazon too now since reviews can be posted there after your book is out in the world. Try to not lurk too much on Amazon or Good Reads. Instead, host a giveaway for your book, for teachers #teachertwitter or for the general public! Think of the readers who are connecting with your story.

My grandmother Nana – the Nana from UNSETTLED is based on her!

If You wrote a picture book, you may get tired of reading your story aloud over and over! If everything is still virtual, you will soon learn the best place to record! Lighting > background!

When you get tired of mailing books out, this may be a good time to take a break form marketing and do what you do best, write. One day, you will feel this inkling of a new idea. Could it be?

You will turn to your laptop or a random journal, find a pen that works. Doodle down some ideas.

This is your next book.

Write.

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