When I was a little girl and first dreamed of being an author, I pictured riding to a fancy rooftop restaurant in a limo, stepping onto a red carpet in fancy heels and greeting excited readers at my book’s Launch Party.
Yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds. I was only six!
Of course, as an adult, there were those episodes of Castle that made me think maybe such things do exist.
I’m here to share with you today that they don’t … at least not for me.
What? I’m still a dreamer!
While I’m fantasizing, let’s switch out that vision of the limo for one of me driving up in Dom’s car from The Fast and the Furious. I’d rather boots and jeans with a leather jacket than heels anyway.
But I digress.
What does a real-life Launch Day look like?
Since I’ve survived three of them, I figured it was time to share my experience.
Any Good Thing
My first Launch Day.
*moment to pause for a sigh over that sweet first*
I woke up to the reminder that I was now—and forevermore—officially a published author. Before the next thought could come, the overflowing laundry basket caught my eye.
Never have I loathed that thing more. We’re talking serious resentment, friends.
As things got going, I made sure scheduled emails and posts were ready and checked my book’s order status. I juggled a full day with many, many social media posts—one every hour or some ridiculousness, including three live Facebook posts—while still teaching my kids a regular full day of school … and that doggone laundry.
Around 10 p.m., I posted one last time before my husband and I popped a cork to celebrate that milestone. I was exhausted and felt a little silly for my overabundance of posts.
Finders Keepers: A Practical Approach to Find and Keep Your Writing Critique Partner
This was my sweet co-author’s first Launch Day—yay for my dear friend, Mea Smith!—so, I wanted her to have some fun. We started ahead of the big day because that was the lesson I learned after Launch #1. We tried to host a special watch party on our YouTube channel, but YouTube decided to go ka-plooey during that hour. So, we had a mad scramble to come up with a backup plan and ran that puppy on Facebook instead.
Stress sweating was involved.
We planned out various posts throughout the day and had fun chatting back and forth. I rearranged my kids’ school schedule, so we had less work to do together that day. I did not do laundry. It was less stressful than my first launch.
This Good Thing
Launch #3, and I was feeling like a pro. I planned out a few posts and scattered them throughout Launch Week. No big deal. I planned a giveaway and decided to make it low-key and simple. I’ve learned those things have low ROIs (returns on investment), so I took a new approach and just had some fun with it.
My kids got another light Tuesday in school. I didn’t do the videos that week that I had originally planned. You see, every time I get stressed (though I honestly didn’t feel stressed on that week), I have a giant fever blister that pops up on my lip. So, we had no videos, a few posts, no special wine—that night was a daddy/daughter event for my husband and oldest, and we were having a tight bank account week—and I had a blog post to write.
In case you wonder, I didn’t even glance at that laundry basket.
With each launch I’ve learned something new. The first taught me to chill out; the second taught me that technology will likely fail and a backup plan might be better concocted ahead of time; the third reminded me that life goes on, even on Launch Day, so I better just roll with it.
Another detail I’m pondering is how, traditionally, Tuesdays are launch days for new books. I read why somewhere, but I’ve forgotten the reason. That is how bookstores are set up, and I do love the Tuesday “New Release” photos many of them post on their social media pages. But … from my practical standpoint, why on earth am I launching my books on a Tuesday?
You know what people do on Tuesdays? They go to work. They go to school. They have meetings. They fight over homework while cooking supper. And, doggone it, they have to do laundry.
It just seems like a lousy day to promote a book. The last thing on my mind in the midst of all that mess is what new book I can get my hands on. So, day of the week is a detail I will be considering as I plan the next launch.
Another thing I want to do more during future launches is find ways to get readers involved. I want to actually have a launch team, for one thing. That’s just been one more thing to attempt to coordinate, which is why I haven’t followed through with them yet. I’ve had so much to learn as I started out that I’m just now getting to a place where I feel I can add a more organized team to the mix. I’ve also considered having a launch party online—maybe Facebook, or even Instagram (if I can ever figure that platform out). Once again, though, who has time on a Tuesday night to sit around and play games and chat online in honor of a new book? What night would be good for that?
I would also love to have an in-person launch party one day. Originally, I had planned one around the time of my first release, but very few of the people nearest and dearest to me were able to make it and money was tight. I hope to throw it one day as a thank you to all the people who have been so supportive and instrumental in my success as an author. We probably won’t dress up or be served by waiters in tuxedos or have an amazing car to race around in, though.
You know what else won’t be there, though?
Now it’s your turn! How can I make future Book Launch Days more fun for you? Do you have any suggestions on ways to get readers involved or a better day of the week to launch?
What are some fun things you’ve seen other authors do? If you are an author, what have you done that’s worked well or been well-received by your readers?
And, most important, how can I make that dreaded laundry basket disappear?