As a high school teacher, I often find myself picking up slang that’s thrown around by my students. (The first time I saw something I liked and said, “Sweet!” my husband laughed for a solid minute.) After the release of my first Carina Press book, I adopted one of my students’ terms—Hell Week. I’ve heard it used by band members the week before state championship competition. It’s used by drama kids the week before a school play. The week before Spring Break is always called Hell Week, and—trust a teacher on this—it lasts forever. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate term for the week of a book release.
Authors can’t assume their publishers will bear the weight of publicizing a newly released novel. Although I have to say that Carina Press has been fantastic about marketing Rules of the Game. It released on April 2nd. They had me prepare ahead of time by composing several Facebook and Twitter posts that included personal information and book quotes. Then they posted them throughout my release day. That helped create buzz about the new title. Carina also has a weekly newsletter and my book was the “featured release.” There are ads on the Carina homepage and on several review sites. They have definitely gone above and beyond what many publishers would do.
But don’t assume what’s being done by your publisher is enough. This is where an author can make a huge difference in getting the word out there. It’s also why I call it Hell Week. For the week of Rules of the Game’s release, I had to stay glued to the Internet. Now, some of that was necessary and some was simply my own baggage. I did need to stay close to answer posts on Twitter and Facebook, and if you’ve got a lot of followers on those sites, it’s a great way to interact with readers.
I’m also a bit obsessive about my books, so I was checking more than Facebook and Twitter. I compulsively checked Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Carina website to see if I had sales. (I strongly recommend you NOT do this. It’s truly creating your own misery.) I popped on and off Goodreads to answer posts and, of course, to check ratings. Having a book available to reviewers on NetGalley gave me one more thing to patrol—review sites. I had to find new write-ups about Rules of the Game.
I haven’t even mentioned blogs yet. Whether you have your own or are guesting, Hell Week is a super time to post. It brings attention to your release and helps you reach more readers. Yet another responsibility that seems to hit at the same time and takes your focus away from your writing. And you want to answer any comments left on those blogs.
Exhausting, isn’t it?
You will get out of Hell Week exactly what you put into it. I saw the benefits of the combined efforts—all Carina Press did and all I did—in sales. Rules of the Game was Carina’s #1 book for most of the week it was released. It rose fairly high on Amazon’s list as well. Invest the time in getting word out about your book.
All the work was worth it.
*Leave a comment to win a copy of any of Sandy’s e-books!*
Rules of the Game—on sale now!
Kathryn West has it all–she’s a confident, bestselling author living it up in New York City. Too bad she doesn’t actually exist, and is only timid Maddie Sawyer’s pseudonym. Determined to attend her high school reunion with a man right out of one of her racy romance novels, she plots to find a sexy bad boy who’s up to Kathryn’s standards.
She finds Mr. Perfect shooting pool in a biker bar. He’s a blue-collar hunk who just happens to look great in leather. But the mysterious Scott Brady has some rules of his own: he won’t agree to her deal unless she poses as his girlfriend in front of his family and friends first. As the reunion nears, Maddie tries to maintain her carefree façade, knowing she’ll soon face some old ghosts. She’s torn between her growing attraction to Scott and the nagging feeling that he’s hiding something important. Will she still want him when she finds out his secret? What about when he discovers hers?
* The Reluctant Amazon—Book 1 of The Amazon Sisterhood—coming September 3, 2012
Sandy James lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband of thirty years. She’s a high school social studies teacher who especially loves psychology and United States history. Since she and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses, they often spend time together at the two Indiana racetracks.