I feel like I’m about to give birth again.
Of course a book arriving on bookstore shelves–and eReaders, too–is not the same as having a baby. Having done both, though, I can appreciate the similarities. A novel and a baby take months of nurturing and special care before they make their debut. Parents and authors care enormously about what they’ve conceived and have many of their hopes and dreams tied up in them.
The third trimester of pregnancy is a time to gather energy, to prepare for a baby’s arrival and the work that’s about to ensue. One week away is nesting time. In much the same way, an author prepares by doing promotion, organizing future book signings, giving interviews, fantasizing about results.
While my baby days are behind me, in a week a new book with my name on the cover comes into the world. Between a week of brainstorming with my author friends, a cottage that needed a lot of TLC when we arrived and a two week trip from Florida to New York, I haven’t had nearly as much time to prepare as I’d hoped. At the same time, I haven’t had as much time to worry, either. And like any mother who’s already had several babies, I’ve learned that once a baby (book) is already in production, there’s not a lot we can do. We wait, we hope, we look forward to the birth.
My publisher took the reins and organized some lovely promotion for me. For instance:
- The blog Thoughts in Progress did a fun interview about the book, and others are scheduled.
- Red Carpet Crash did a flattering review and others are beginning to appear as pub date approaches.
- Booklist, a review site for librarians in public libraries, had this to say: “Richards (When We Were Sisters, 2016) deftly shifts from women’s fiction into domestic suspense, but she doesn’t sacrifice the emotional acuity that her fans expect.”
- TLC organized a blog tour in June and July
- Three bookstores set up signings–dates and time in a later blog.
Today BookBub sent out a preorder alert. Don’t know about BookBub? It’s a terrific way to find new authors and books and to follow your favorite authors (ahem…) to find out what’s coming up next and be the first to know when discounts apply. They’re professional about only sending what you ask for. Give them a try.
One of my publisher’s biggest promotional thrusts was through NetGalley, where reader-reviewers are chosen to receive Advanced Reading Copies months before a book goes on sale so that they can post reviews at places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others. I’ve enjoyed reading those reviews, many on Goodreads, which, although not necessarily 100% positive, are thoughtfully produced.
And yes, unlike some authors, most of the time I read my reviews for valuable feedback. I can tell the difference between a critical review from a reader who just doesn’t like the kind of books I write and isn’t afraid to say so, and a reader who has thought carefully about what he/she regards as a problem in a book and stated their opinion without sarcasm. Luckily there aren’t many of the former.
This time I noted that a few of the hard core mystery and thriller readers weren’t as happy with the women’s fiction elements in A Family of Strangers. By the same token some of my women’s fiction readers wished there were fewer suspense elements. I found that instructive, but being human, I particularly loved my many Goldilocks readers.
You know, Goldilocks readers, right? They’re the ones who found the book “just right.”
I happen to be one of them.
A Family of Strangers can be ordered now for delivery on June 25th:
- Barnes and Noble
- Indiebound–your favorite independent bookstores
- Apple Books
Next week celebrate the launch with me and find out some of the secrets behind the story.