Here are a few lessons I learned along the way.
Next time I’m expecting a new book baby, I’ll sit down right away and make a plan of action.
What do I need to do, and when? How much time will it all take? What are my priorities?
Keep everything. Edits. Images. Ideas. Promo materials. Information from your marketing team. You will use, reuse, rework and re-purpose these files again and again, so find a logical way to organize them for easy retrieval.
Scrivener worked for me. I stored all the flotsam and jetsam in one project, using labels and keywords to make the project super-simple to view and search. Of course, you can also store everything traditionally in folders and subfolders. Just be sure to file and label wisely.
Sure, it takes a little longer to be meticulous, but it saves you time every time you need to find something. And bonus! The next time you publish, you have a ready-made road map instead of starting from square one.
Gather the building blocks
I tucked these items in my Scrivener project, and as time went on, I added more elements:
- book cover image
- book trailer
- copy for my website and media kit
- author’s note for the teachers’ guide
- author spotlight on the Orca blog
I also collected a variety of links and bits of code:
- book page links to Amazon, Chapters Indigo, Barnes and Noble, GoodReads
- my book page and author profile on the Orca site
- YouTube embed and shortcodes for the Betting Game book trailer
Raise your profile
My memberships came in handy. I belong to national writers’ organizations like CANSCAIP, SCBWI, The Writers’ Union of Canada and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, and locally, to the Writers’ Community of Durham Region. They offer a variety of promotional opportunities.
- book and event pages
- school visit and speaker pages
- member profiles
Prepare these pages and profiles well in advance. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as uploading the same bio and photo to each site. But they all start with the same basic building blocks.
Don’t forget to update them along the way. I kept the most recent version of each profile in Scrivener. It was easier than viewing each website one by one. (Aren’t you glad you started Scrivener project or folder system now?)
Ways to work smarter
Front-end-load the tasks. For example:
- write newsletter announcements and media releases early so they’re ready to go
- prepare your website, blog and social media platforms so you can trickle out your good news
Make a book trailer
One of my best investments was Rich Helms’s Book Trailers 101. This 5-week workshop taught me the elements of a successful trailer, as well as the specialized knowledge to make one. Basic tech like how to use Animoto and Movie Maker. A bit of Audacity. Where to find reasonably priced voice talent, music and images. Tricks for uploading the final product to YouTube.
Step by step, my book trailer grew from concept to finished video. The weekly group critique helped me figure out what worked and what didn’t. I came out with more than a video. I also came up with strong tag lines and blurb text. Which, of course, I tucked away in my promo folder.
Book your launch as soon as you get a publication date. I launched Betting Game at Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge. They’re one of Canada’s best independent booksellers. As a result, they get booked up quickly.
Like many indies, Shelley Macbeth and her staff really care about promoting Canadian books and authors. They gave me great advice and support. But that’s a post of its own!
Got any prenatal advice of your own for authors expecting their first book baby? Please share it below!