Book Launching (Saggy Springs or Not)

Wait, is there a string attached? Photo by whiterussian on morgueFile

Wait, is there a string attached? Photo by whiterussian on MorgueFile


I’ve been bustling around (can’t you hear it?) this past week, trying to get my “how to find your writing voice” book together for publication next week, and it does make me wonder if most self-pub book launches—though mine might be more of a wayward toss—are as scattered and haphazard for other writers.

For instance, I’ve yet to fix my title, in my mind or on the page. It’s gone through a paddlewheel of possibilities, but my mind’s oar has cracked its handle here toward the end. Right now, it’s “Think Like a Writer: How to Write the Stories You See.” That’s all fine and good, and does capture some essentials of the book. But like any wavering candle, I’m subject to title-insecurity winds.

No, Can’t Be—ANOTHER Typo?
And my goodness, I’m a professional editor, and have the gall to charge people for things like proofreading. And yet, even though I’ve proofed this dang thing on the screen, proofed it in hard copy, and proofed sections on the screen again (I’m trying to sound Churchillian here: “we will fight them on the beaches …”) I’m STILL finding some typos and glitches. Gack!

There are umpty-trillion and one things you’re “supposed” to do to get ready for a book launch, but there’s not enough coffee in Kona for me to do them all (or even do most well). What I’ve done is:

  • sent out advanced copies to readers willing (I hope) to write a review
  • written sales copy for the Kindle description page
  • set up some guest posts on some relevant writing sites (which will appear after publication)
  • asked for a few blurbs from some writerly darlings I know (or know at least well enough to ask)
  • designed a landing page that still needs some guiding lights
  • and prepared cocktails on Fri/Sat/Sun eves for weeks on end

Oh wait, I always do the cocktail thing. But why break a good rhythm?

The Truth (and Good Help) Is Out There
There’s a bunch of other minor things I’m doing (eating more toast), and a number of things I’ll do post launch (eat less toast), but I won’t list them here now. What I do want to list is a few of the writers and their sites that I think give good guidance on book marketing and book launches.

Tim Grahl has a series of great (free) book launch posts and marketing lessons (like setting up an effective mailing list). And check out his good Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book

Joanna Penn always has great publishing industry/book marketing/book launching advice (in text, podcasts and video), much of it free.

Check out Sean Platt, Johnny Truant’s and David Wright’s Self-Publishing Podcast for info on how they’ve pretty much created a self-publishing empire, from tech tools to marketing to the ethos behind it all.

Naomi Dunford’s Itty Biz has all kind of juicy bits about marketing and product launching, and she’s quite funny too.

And my old pal, Joel D Canfield, has been there whenever I’ve asked some puzzler on publishing.

So, thanks to those folks for doing me solids. I’m rounding the corner on this launch stuff, and glad of it. I will probably continue with the cocktails though.

By the way, lately I’ve been making a real beauty: the Vieux Carré, an old New Orleans song of spirits that’s heady and just durn good. Note, this recipe shows it over rocks, but it’s great up as well, shaken or stirred. Maybe it will head the list at the book-launching party. Cheers!

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3 thoughts on “Book Launching (Saggy Springs or Not)

  1. When my first book was 5 years old I started recording an audio version.

    About a dozen typos before I started crying. And we had 3 proofreaders. A real word in the wrong place is just so hard to find.

    And yet, I’ve been called on it exactly once, in one of my more recent books. By a reviewer who begins every review with a list of errors they found in the book. I’ve moved on, eh?

    I keep trying to create a liquor cabinet so I can mix fancy drinks, but by the time I can afford a second bottle the first one is gone. Which do you think: KickStarter or IndieGoGo to fund my project?

    Your book is a pleasure to read on every level. Note to self: promote Tom’s book far and wide. Note to Sue, too.

  2. Joel, I know what you mean about the proofing, sadly. It seems that you can’t catch ’em all, no matter if you have eagle eyes. (At this point, I might have sparrow eyes.) I know I’m still a good proofer, but that’s not always enough.

    Of course, I take some minor solace in that reading ANY book, published by the Big Five or by the Big Lebowski, I will find typos or other errors. The beast’s nature, I suppose.

    I’d love to be involved in the Kickstarter to fund your booze cabinet, as long as I can be a guest mixologist sometime. Thanks for the nice words on the book!

  3. Steve Pressfield, while announcing the paperback edition of his excellent The Lion’s Gate, mentioned the correction of a few typos.

    A book written by a brilliant guy, edited by the marvelous Shawn Coyne, then gone over with a microscope at Penguin, and still, typos. (Not that Penguin is necessarily the be-all and end-all, but I’m hoping the still employ professionals.)

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