A Once in a Lifetime Type of Release
The Kickstarter campaign, in and of itself, worked as a marketing tool for the book because it generated some presales of the novel as well as interesting some of my local media outlets in what I was doing...something that might not have happened without taking a trendy approach to this book release. With the funds raised from the campaign, I will be able to push the book in targeted markets. With the extra donations, I will be able to enter fiction contests and try to win some accolades for the novel. These are techniques I hope to employ with every book I release from here on.
So what advice would I give to authors considering "going big" on an event to promote their books?
1.) Give yourself a LOT of time to get it together. Think about what it takes to plan a wedding. This Kickstarter and event involved almost as many logistical details. If I ever do this again, I will give myself a minimum of six months to pull it together so I don't skirt the edge of a nervous breakdown like I did last week.
2.) A private event like I did was lovely and fun, but if you can find a way to do your release event in a public area where you can snag passers-by, do so. You'll sell more books. But you'll also have to be flexible in how much food and drink you can offer. You may run out, or you may be eating spanakopita for every meal for the next three days. There's no way to know. But if you do an "open" event, be sure to specifically invite and get firm RSVPs from a core group of attendees, if at all possible. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.
3.) Wear corrective eyewear if you need it for your reading. I wasn't wearing my glasses because I was in costume, and realized I didn't have them on about 2 minutes into my reading. It was a struggle. I think I covered it well, but the fewer worries and headaches, the better.
4.) Don't MC your own event. I am hugely grateful for a friend who guided our time. It's way better to have someone else talk you up than to do it yourself.
5.) Remember to have fun! The folks who come will be there because they like you, your writing, or because it all looks interesting enough to linger. Enjoy those folks.
6.) And lastly, if at all possible, build in a day to do nothing after the event is over. Especially if you are naturally introverted like me. I was an exhausted mess on Monday, and had I not just started a new job, I would have benefited mightily from a day to stay in my jammies, write a few thank you notes, and generally recharge.