My big takeaway after all these years is I need clones!
Short of that - I need a "to do" list.
So this book is our to-do list. Plus some other helpful (hopefully) advice and cuationary tales.
As Randy says about her first launch: "For the secrets of debuting, I turned to the underground, where surreptitious bands of debut novelists come together in the shadows to share the secrets they’ve learned from already published brethren. I found sister-wives (and husbands) – 99% of us scared of asking too many questions of our frightening publisher-husbands. (What if they snatch away the opportunity! Only print four books! Don’t like us!!!)"
That’s what drove us as to to write the guidebook.
We saw that while there were tons of great books on publicity, marketing, ‘how to’s’ on everything from getting an agent to publishing without one, there was a missing piece: what to do when you actually catch the gold ring of a publishing contract?
We felt the need for a guide for authors, covering everything from working with your publisher, to reading in public, to help for publicity and marketing, to using (and misusing) social media, to how to dress for your author photo . . . and far more, including cautionary tales, worksheets, timelines and even. . .
Here are some excerpts:
Manners & Etiquette for Writers (from a chapter Randy wrote in What to Do Before your Book Launch:)
1) I am certain there are a number of snappish authors who advocate that dogs-should-eat-dogs, who have managed to hit every bestseller list, but I believe in nice. I recommend that ‘nice’ (which, by the way, is entirely unlike being a doormat) color your launch.
2) Get into training now. Answer your mail. All of it. When you receive a compliment, say thank you. (I remember getting When a reader complains that you are biased, don’t rant at your accuser (especially in public!). Ignore them or try to answer thoughtfully. I sent one such email to an angry woman who’d written to me because she thought I’d been disrespectful at one point in my book, and received a more rational answer. We actually found some common ground.
3) Don’t be self-important. I’ve read postings by debut authors complaining about the letters they receive. God, I can’t believe what these people write to me. They want me to send a book! They want a signature! They want me to speak to their class!!
Perhaps this public complaining is a way of showing off how Very Important one has become. Or perhaps they really are stretched to the limit. Too bad. Every job has its down side, but do you want your doctor to write about how disgusting she found your rash?
4) Don’t grumble in public. Especially in print. Never online. And never about your fellow writers. (Unless you are looking to build a reputation contingent on your cruel wit. Some do. This is not recommended for the average sarcastic person—be certain you are at a comfortable doctorate level of nasty and anti-social enough to pull this off this snarky persona.)
And when using social media:
1. Don’t be mysterious (Something wonderful is going to happen to me, but I can’t say what!) It is aggravating, annoying, and implies that you think yourself so important that others will stay awake wondering about you.
2. Use exclamation points AND CAPITAL LETTERS judiciously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. Don’t post anything ugly about other people—this includes personal rants and unflattering party photos.
4. Don’t send group blasts or group direst messages for events or anything else unless it’s a warning that the world is ending and you’re the only one who knows. If you want people to take the time to come to an event, buy your book, or spread the word, take the time to tailor your message. Otherwise, simply post your events, etc on your FB page or send out a regular tweet.
“What to do Before Your Book Launch is the new invaluable tool for writers. There is so much to know and now it’s all in one place.” –Julie Klam, New York Times bestselling author of You Had Me at Woof
“M.J. Rose and Randy Susan Meyers are two pros who have been in the publishing trenches, and their guide, What to do Before Your Book Launch, is the best kind of boot camp trainer: purposeful, no-nonsense, and withyou along the way, making sure you hit all the right moves.” –Dan Lazar, literary agent at Writers House
Laura Zigman's XtraNormal trailer for What To Do Before Your Book Launch. Watch here.
"This book is chock-full of great advice for writers—it's now required reading for all of my clients!"
—Jenny Bent, literary agent at Bent Agency
"What To Do Before Your Book Launch is both brilliant and indispensable. All authors should have it by their bedside. They should read it again, and again, and again." —Joshua Henkin, author of The World Without You