Before I start my post I want to say that publishing my first book has been a HUGE learning experience for me.
There have been positives and negatives. There are things I will do again and there are things I will avoid doing next time. I did concentrate heavily on my book, actually I will be honest – I fell head over heels in love with my book in the last few months and everything else fell away, including my common sense. I didn’t expect such strong feelings for my book and they took me by surprise. In hindsight perhaps I should have thought more about marketing, promotion and reader buying habits but I now believe the saying, love is blind.
There are things below which I am sure a lot of you will already know. Please bear with me as I am at the start of my journey and publishing my debut novel was like giving birth to my first child; an exhilarating and terrifying journey into the unknown, which changed me as a person and one I will never forget.
This will probably be the first of many insights from what I am calling the book front line. I do hope you enjoy them.
So here is what I discovered minutes after I published my book:
- As I mentioned above, publishing my book was like giving birth. In my book launch plan I didn’t prepare for a huge emotional outpouring which went on for about a week, and included buckets of tears and more importantly feelings of exhaustion and emptiness. The week before my book went live was chaotic and I did push myself but I didn’t expect to feel like something had physically left me. I suppose this book had a gestation period of three years so the birth was always going to be traumatic. On launch week you need to be energised and ready to hit the ground running – not struggling to stay awake and doing a good impression of a zombie. Next time I will make sure I put some self-care measures in place for the week before launch.
- Seeing my book in paperback for the first time floored me. When my book went live as an e-book I did get a little emotional however when I actually held a paperback copy in my hands – I did some serious ugly crying (snot everywhere and streaming eyes). I can’t explain what that moment is like when you see your book in your hands but all I will say is that don’t wear mascara that day!
- A LOT of people don’t own a Kindle and a LOT prefer a paperback. More than you think if you haven’t published. I initially published my book as an e-book exclusively through Amazon (thinking everyone was like me and had a Kindle) and was not going to consider paperback until a few months in. Well, the day I launched I was deluged with messages from readers asking when the paperback version was coming out and readers telling me they only used KOBO or Google books. I did not plan for this.
- There’s a lot of what I call author admin once your book goes live. I was surprised by all the things I had to do and I think this is why you need to be in a decent state to do all this. Trying to do everything and feeling exhausted at the same time is when problems occur. In my case I found claiming my book on Author Central, sorting out my Goodreads author page, setting my author profile up, linking my books, sorting out social media and turning the Amazon book description into HTML code (I still haven’t mastered this) tough going. I wished I had read up on this before the launch.
- Trying to throw myself into writing another book in the week after my book launched was pointless and ended in tears. The creative well was well and truly empty. I didn’t have the energy and my mind was elsewhere.
- In general people do not read books like me. This has been a huge learning. I devour books. I eat them for breakfast, lunch and tea. Having two on the go is how I roll. Reading a book in forty-eight hours is my norm and if it is a good book I have been known to stay up till the small hours. My life revolves around books and my TBR pile. Other people have other things going on in their lives. They read books when they have time and at their own leisure. I am just going to say patience is a virtue.
- People coming up to me in my local supermarket when I am buying sausages and saying they’ve bought my book (I live in a tiny town) has been interesting. My normal reaction when someone came up and said they’d read my blog posts was to either change the subject quick or cast them a terrified expression before running off into the distance like Forest Gump. You can’t do this when you publish a book. This is your product which this person has taken the time to purchase. You are your book’s ambassador. This means you have to stop yourself from running. You have to stand very still, thank the person for buying your book and try to talk positively about it. This has been a steep learning curve. I didn’t plan for this.
- Getting my first review from a complete stranger made me get emotional again and it brought back the tears.
- Thank goodness for coffee, chocolate, my family, my friends, my dog, a good brand of deodorant and Twitter!
- Reviews can take a few days to go up. They are not instant. People will tell you they have left you a review and it will take a good few days to appear.
- Promotion. Deep breath. It’s tough. Wish I had paid more attention to this.
- Videos on social media which promote your book – another big learning. I thought tweeting about my book was tough but once you start seeing authors talking into a camera – oh my goodness things get scary. I have done a video and was planning to put it on my Author FB but some friends said it needed more work and more humour so I chickened out. I desperately want to share it but have lost my bottle. If anyone has any thoughts on this let me know? The video is me in my true northern accent with my humour.
- As I said, this launch was like a birth. A few days after my book birth I swore blind I would never do it again. It was too traumatic and I don’t think I could put myself through all that author stress again. The memories have started to fade and I am finding myself telling people that I will have another book baby 🙂
I hope someone out there will benefit from my honest blog post 🙂
Have a great day!