As it’s nearly time for the publication of Gerrard Cowan’s excellent political fantasy THE MACHINERY, he’s gathered advice from his fellow writers on how best to
survive celebrate his publication day.
It’s almost upon me – publication day! I’ve known the date for over a year now, so I’ve had plenty of time to ask myself the important questions. How much should I talk about it on social media? When will the film deal come through? How much beer should I get in?
I soon realised that I can’t answer any of these questions, as not only is this publication day for THE MACHINERY (available to order NOW in all good electronic bookstores) – it’s actually my first ever publication day, full stop. But I’m in luck, as I’ve had the good fortune to befriend a group of other HarperVoyager authors who have already been through the process. And so I decided to pick their brains and get their top tips for the day.
Sell, sell, sell!
Social media is all-important in this digital age, and any author worth his or her salt is expected to be online promoting their work. However, there are ways and means of doing this. No one likes sell links or price promotions shoved down their throats all the time. Well, these rules can be bent a little on publication week, says Michelle Hauck.
‘You know how you’re not supposed to be all about “buy my book” and interact with people instead? It’s bad manners to post buy links all the time. Well, on your release week, for a few days, you can be as loud about it as you like and no one can complain! In theory at least…’
So, if I’m more annoying than usual on release day, it’s Michelle’s fault.
It’s a big old world for English-language books, and the author must bear this in mind, says John Ayliff, who is an Englishman based in Canada and therefore knows what he is talking about.
‘Have the announcement ready to post on all your social media channels, and work out the best time to do so based on the time zones of your audience,’ he says. ‘I tend to post things around noon Pacific Time, when North America and Europe are both awake, [and] at midnight Pacific Time to get my UK audience when they were waking up.’
Today’s author can also keep an eye on the performance of their books on Amazon and other online bookstores, which seems to be both a blessing and a curse.
‘I like to monitor Amazon by refreshing the sales screens multiple times until my finger cramps and my eyes roll back in my head,’ says Teresa Frohock, channeling images of The Exorcist.
Beth Cato takes a different view.
‘Some authors like to constantly check their Amazon stats on release day. I can’t do that, or I will go bonkers. I try to ignore that the stats are there at all. I try to distract myself instead – work on promotional posts, or fresh fiction, or get away from computerized devices completely.’
Get back to work!
Beth’s approach is a popular one: just because you’re now a published author, that doesn’t mean you can slack off, writer. In fact, getting stuck back into work is just what is needed, says Auston Habershaw.
‘I think one of the more important things to do to get over the release day jitters (which are surprisingly powerful) is to dive into writing new work. This book you’re releasing, success or failure, is just the first step of a much longer journey. Keep walking!’
Liana Brooks agrees.
‘Publication day? Great. Pull out your work in progress, sit down, write. The book that is being published is done and you have work to do.’
Have a party with giraffes and tattoos!
Of course, being a writer isn’t all work and no play. You should take some down time, says Brooke Johnson.
‘Celebrate! I went out and got a tattoo on my release day, partly because it was a commemorative occasion, but partly because I was so nervous about getting my tattoo that I forgot to be nervous about my release.’
Good move, but I’m too cowardly for that. I will probably follow Nathan Garrison, who recommends I should ‘curl up with your drink of choice and celebrate!’
But don’t forget there are other things you could do, other than (or in conjunction with) getting drunk, says Laura Liddell Nolen.
‘Take some time to celebrate outside the house. I recommend the zoo. Giraffes, while inspiring and exotic creatures, are remarkably unimpressed by the publishing credentials of their visitors. It’s great perspective.’
But you can’t get tattooed or seek the literary criticism of giraffes on an empty stomach, as Nancy K. Wallace makes clear.
‘Remember in addition to the euphoria of being a published author, it’s also your book’s birthday. Eat cake!’
Have patience with those who JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND
It is possible that the rest of the world might just carry on as normal, as if this day did not represent a major moment in literary history. Bishop O’Connell knocked me cold with his revelation that it can be ‘kind of a let down, without fireworks and trumpets.’ Kelley Grant warns of the same disappointment, pointing out that I should ‘be aware of the let down you might feel – there are no fireworks or trumpets on release day. If you are digital first, there isn’t even a book to hold! You have to make it a day of celebration!’ Terry Newman counsels that I should ‘try not to get upset when everybody doesn’t realise the full significance of the day.’
Still, it’s all upside, as Bishop points out. ‘At the end of the day, you’re now an author published with a huge publisher. No one can ever take that from you, no matter what else happens in your life.’
So, there we have it: excellent words of advice all round. I’m off to the zoo via the tattoo parlor. Does anyone have any fireworks and trumpets?