Posted in books, writing

The (Almost) Launch Post

Back in September when I first started looking at publishing Crimson and Gold, there was an entire list of questions to answer. From the cover to the formatting, did I have everything I needed? There were also questions about whether or not I should do pre-orders, blog tours, ARCs and so many other little things it felt almost like I could easily drown in all the uncertainty.

Writing books is hard. Editing them is harder. Publishing is harder still.

I am however, incredibly happy to announce that all of the pre-launch chaos is almost over. Crimson and Gold officially releases on January 15. I know I’m not the only one wading through posts on how to do a book launch or how to create buzz for a story, so I’m hoping my experiences here will help anyone else with questions.

Building the Plan
The first place I started was figuring out what I needed to do to get ready to launch. That involved digging around on the internet and finding out what others had done for their launch plans. There were a few things I noted were key components.

  1. Time.
  2. Marketing
  3. Preparation

All three of these are things I knew I had to put into my own plan, which is why for something decided on in September of 2019, the end goal wasn’t feasible until at least January 2020.

Preparation was the biggest factor for how much time I needed. I needed time to make any final edits and to format the text. Additionally, I needed time to write any posts related to the launch. There were also several weeks of work to go into creating the cover.

Because Crimson and Gold is just over thirteen thousand words, I opted for fairly light marketing, utilizing just my twitter and the blog. I went back and forth on whether or not to open pre-orders (more on that a little bit below). Although that certainly reduced the amount of time I needed between deciding to publish and actually clicking the button, there was still a lot of work to go into it.

Behind the Scenes
A lot of the work going into launch day was technical work and learning as I went. Cover creation required not only editing and processing an image but also adding a few new skills to my repertoire of digital art. Learning those skills added several hours to an already lengthy process.

There was also formatting. Once the final edits were made, I needed to add in an appropriate table of contents and make sure it would properly transfer over to an e-book. That was likely the easiest portion of the entire process to complete.

I also had to upload both the manuscript and cover files, check those for errors and make any necessary corrections. Namely my initial cover wasn’t saved at the proper size, making it too small to upload.

All of that took up the months of October through November. Because I wanted the cover reveal done in December, I had to make sure that was completed and ready to go and became the primary reason the cover wasn’t revealed until the 30th. Before I could reveal anything I needed the cover and I needed a description.

The countless hours already put into writing and editing the story had to shift from checking word choice and grammar rules to trying to talk about the story and manipulating photos.

What’s Next
Officially, Crimson and Gold is launching on January 15th. I spent a lot of time debating about opening pre-orders. Ultimately, I decided on yes. It made things a little easier since it meant I could set the date and forget it, not needing to worry that anyone looking for the book wouldn’t be able to get it right away.

Beyond the 15th however, things get a little murkier. I’ll still need to do promotion and marketing. There’s plenty more to learn ahead.

CRIMSONANDGOLDREVEALCOVERCrimson and Gold available January 15th, 2020. Pre-order it here! You can also check out my other works here.

Twelve years ago, a wolf attacked Scarlett. Twelve years ago, Grandmother Rose chased off the man behind that attack.

Now, Ethan is back and Scarlett is the one responsible for defending Fairvale.  Doing that means finding the fairy spring and the only person who knows how to find it is the woodcutter, Carter. Carter has is own reasons for not getting involved with fairies and wolves. If Scarlett can’t find the fairy spring, Ethan gains control over some of the most dangerous creatures in the entire First Kingdom.

The same creatures he used to attack her twelve years ago.

Posted in books, writing

Creating a Launch Plan

One of the most daunting tasks I’ve faced so far with Crimson and Gold is figuring out how to share it with readers. It’s a little too long for most short story markets, and longer than I want to post here. The story itself doesn’t fit into a serialization either. That leaves few options, of which I’ve settled on self-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Shorts.

The next hurdle: figuring out how to launch it. Although I could easily just hit ‘publish’ and call it good, advice and evidence both say that’s not the best option. Like anything else,  it takes work to make sure it doesn’t get buried before readers even go looking for their next read. There are plenty of guides catered to launching full-length books, but what about something that’s only just over thirteen thousand thousand words?

It turns out finding any sort of short story launch guide is difficult. I won’t say impossible, but I also didn’t find any myself either. There are dozens of book launch plans however, and they all start months before launch, and some of them start years beforehand.

Given the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of publishing anything, that makes a lot of sense. Cover designers need time to work. A final copyedit and readthrough needs time. Buzz takes time to create and spread. All of that can take weeks and months to create and implement, so number one rule of creating a launch plan: Start several months before launch. 

The next part is figuring out what your launch plan needs to do. Do you have a social media presence to utilize? Do you need to start one and work on building it? What about getting your book or story formatted? Do you have a cover or any teaser images you can use to create buzz? Remember the more your launch plan needs to do before launch day, the more time you need.

Another part of how long you need is going to center on what you plan to do to create buzz. Are you going to have events or items at your local library, school or bookstore? What about a blog tour? Pre-Orders and reviews?

For Crimson and Gold, given how short it is, I’ve opted to keep my focus on making sure it’s formatted and put together. While I won’t be doing any massive blog tours and I’m still iffy on doing pre-orders for a short story, I do want to use teaser images and a cover reveal to get the word out. Those are all things that need to be timed and ready weeks beforehand. That means for something I started planning at the end of September, I’m looking at the end of January at the very earliest.

To actually create and write my launch plan, I gave myself goals and deadlines for each month and the weeks leading up to the intended launch date. Once I had the general goals, I could break each goal down into what needed to be done to complete it. I added general deadlines to each step and ended up with a pretty good structure of what needed to happen and when.

What are any tips or tricks you’ve learned for writing a launch plan? Any experiences you want to share from your launches?