Everyone dreams of getting their book published someday. I know I certainly did for a long, long time (as is documented in this blog). But what happens once you reach that long-awaited goal? In other words, what is the post-launch period like? Now that I’m a little over two months past the release of Not Our Summer, I thought I’d share some insight to what life after launch has looked like.
There are so many expectations and emotions a person is likely to deal with leading up to their book’s launch that it can be a bit of a letdown after everything is over. Thankfully, I knew to expect this because I’d heard about other authors’ experiences both on Twitter and in my debut group (shout out to #the21ders!) I had prepped myself for this emotional “letdown” so that hopefully it wouldn’t affect me so much.
The good news is that I didn’t experience any major disappointments after launch. Sure, not all of my expectations and hopes were met (hello, NYT bestsellers list . . .). Thousands didn’t flock to the bookstore to grab a copy of my hot new release. Reese Witherspoon hasn’t picked it for her YA Book Club (yet 🙂 ) However, slow and steady interest and sales have kept me buoyed.
Perhaps the best part of my post-launch experience has been witnessing the excitement of friends and readers though. Many people who had preordered NOS posted pictures and tagged me on social media when the book arrived. Others bought NOS at a bookstore and also documented the event with a photo. What I’ve been most surprised about is the number of Twitter followers, who I don’t know personally, that have bought and read my debut. It truly warms my heart when they tag me in a positive review or leave one on Goodreads or Amazon.
And seeing my book on actual bookstore shelves (or at the library) never gets old. I truly hope every writer gets to experience this some day.
From a marketing perspective, there is still much to do after your book releases. In fact, I’ve done the majority of my interviews, podcasts, guest blogging, etc. since NOS came out. I have a publicist who helps in this department, but for most of the local publications and podcasts, I’ve reached out to people myself. I can’t stress this enough–no matter who you are or how big your publisher is, you still have to pull some of the marketing weight, especially as a debut author. Encouraging readers to leave reviews is also a big part of this. Most people just don’t understand how important reviews are to authors.
I’ve truly enjoyed connecting with bloggers, freelance writers, podcasters, as well as readers since my book came out. These connections are what make writing and publishing so much fun and so special to me.
Another thing I’ve learned is that authors LOVE to hear from readers (as long as they’re being nice). Getting emails or tagged on social media is such a cool experience.
But now for the important question. You might be wondering if I feel any different now that I’m a bonafide traditionally published author? The answer: yes and no.
I do feel like I’ve definitely unlocked a new level of writing awesomeness, but in many ways, I still feel like the same old Casie. I still experience days where I deal with imposter syndrome. I still question whether I’ll be able to do all of this a second time. And though I try my hardest not to, sometimes, I still compare myself to other authors whose books seem to be getting all the buzz.
But all of that aside, I am extremely happy with how things have gone after the launch of my debut novel. I’m also excited for what’s to come. As with most everything in the publishing world, time is your friend. Good things will happen for those who keep working and have the patience to wait.
As with querying, my advice is to keep your focus on something new. I allowed myself several weeks to relish in the joy of my book launch and to focus on my launch events and other marketing efforts. But then, it was back to work. I’m currently drafting my sixth book, a young adult thriller which involves murder at a ranch camp for troubled youth. It’s been a lot of fun to work on so far.
For any other published authors who might be reading, I would love to hear what your post debut launch experience was like and for those of you still dreaming of getting published some day, I’d love to hear what you’re currently working on.