Back in January 2008, when I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME was released, I was excited. Sure, scared too, but mostly excited. And so many people here in this wonderful writing community were excited for me.
YA was on the verge of exploding - in that coming year and the year after, many of YOU would have your first YA sale! The class of 2k7 was the first group to band together and see what the power of numbers could do. The class of 2k8 followed, and YA author Liz Gallagher and I were the first releases of that second class.
Excitement is a good thing when a book is released. Excitement is contagious. And excitement, not just mine, but yours, carried me far. In just short three months, over xxx copies of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME were sold. (I had a number here, then wondered if that's tacky? I'm clueless sometimes as to what is okay to say and what isn't. Please forgive me!)
Fast forward a year, to December, 2008. Out in the world, a lot is happening. The stock market has plummeted. People have lost jobs. The world's financial market is on the verge of collapse. It feels as if at any moment, the rug is going to be pulled out from under us and it's going to be one big free-fall.
And there I was, with a second novel, FAR FROM YOU, to be released amongst all of that.
I was afraid.
Afraid of what was happening out there.
Afraid my second book wouldn't be liked as much as my first.
Afraid to promote because who wants to ask people to buy a book when the world is falling apart?
It will come as no surprise that I now can say quite confidently one cannot effectively sell a book (and yes, that IS our job once the book is released) from a place of fear. Especially when there is another author around every corner who is happy, excited, supported by others, and is anything BUT afraid.
I have learned a lot over the past two years. Some of it because of what I have experienced personally and some of it from watching all of you. I believe the keys to successful promotion are as follows:
1) Write the best book you can write. It really is THE most important thing.
2) Be excited. Be proud. And don't be afraid to let that excitement and pride come through.
3) Make a plan to promote your book and work that plan hard
4) Figure out what you are best at as far as promotion and DO THAT. And do NOT kick yourself because you can't do this or that as well as Miss Marketing Guru over there. It's okay.
5) Find ways - ideas, services, articles, presentations, etc. - that reach out and help other people. Author Kate Messner and Shelli Johannes-Wells have really taught me about this one. Round-about exposure is often the best kind.
6) Band together with other authors as much as possible. There really IS power in the numbers.
7) Think outside the box. Look for new, creative ways to bring exposure to your book(s).
8) Support other authors as much as possible. Be an advocate for YA literature whenever you can.