Thursday, April 12, 2012

L is for Launch launch and the launch of a new occasional series, that is.

I am very intrigued with the idea of how to put on a successful book launch, and in an attempt to gather info for one day when I have my own book launch (positive thinking!) I am starting a new occasional series of interviews with authors who have launched their own books. 

I am so thrilled to introduce my very first interview for this series - Fiauna Lund is an old friend from high school. Well, not old because that makes me feel elderly, but you get what I mean. She has always been such a sweet, funny, unbelievably supportive, creative soul and I was so happy to reconnect with her on Facebook - especially when I realized she was writing books! She is an inspiration to me, both as a writer and a mother. 

But enough of the intro, onto the fabulous interview:
Welcome, welcome, Fiauna! I'm so glad to have you!

Now tell us what have you written? 

Tell us about the book you launched. 
In the Twilight is a ‘tween fantasy-lite about a town with a centuries-old secret and one girl’s discovery that it is her duty to keep that secret safe. Fourteen-year-old Avril Holly lives in a world full of secrets. Not only is she half faery, sprouting wings at twilight, but suddenly she also has the power to read minds. When she is attacked walking home in her otherwise safe community, she finds she must learn to use her new power to keep her community safe and their faery heritage a secret. 

Who published your book? 
My book was published by Shady Hill Press, a small publisher located in Salt Lake City.

Did you have a marketing budget? 
The only marketing budget I had to stick with was what I could pull out of my own pocketbook.

When did you launch? 
The book launched in December of 2011, right before Christmas.

What did you do pre-launch? 
Pre-launch I used social media (blogs, blog tours, and Facebook) to make the public aware of the forth-coming book. I did a “radio” interview at a local studio that was released on the publisher’s website and blog. A friend of mine also put together a blog tour for a group of 20 debut authors. Right off the bat, In the Twilight was featured on those twenty blogs. That really helped me develop my community of authors for support. And, believe me, that support means a lot when your baby—oops, I mean book—launches.
Tell us a bit about the launch events. The launch was very low-key. In December, the week that the book was released, I held a book signing at a local mall book store. I handed out promotional items like wristbands and flyers to passers-by as well as pitched my book to anyone who dared to stop and listen. I also typed up a press release that the publisher used in a mail marketing campaign directed at book buyers and distributors. 

What surprised you about the whole process? 
I was surprised at how much I was required to do as far as marketing was concerned. I am a writer, not a salesperson. To say that once the book is published the real work begins may be cliché, but it’s true. And the marketing side of publishing really saps creative energy.

What worked? 
Books sell two ways: word of mouth and point of purchase. Get your books in the hands of people who will talk it up and you may sell books. But people won’t buy books they can’t find. Do whatever is within your power to get your book on store shelves. A good press release will help with that.

What would you do differently? 
Going forward I would like to find representation from a good agent. Bigger publishers have PR people to guide authors through the launch process and marketing. Unfortunately, no big publisher will look your way without proper representation.

What words of advice can you give us? 
Set your goals and have realistic expectations. You know your book better than anyone else—it’s your baby. I’ve been told that writers don’t make bestsellers, publishers do. Given that fact that annually about 170,000 books are published every year and only 2,000 of those will sell 50,000 copies, your chances of becoming a bestselling author are pretty slim. That doesn’t mean you are not a success. If your goal is to write a bestseller, get a reputable agent and get your book in the hands of the big publishers.
Beyond that, trust your gut. In order to sell your books, you must also be able to sell yourself. You can’t sell yourself (or much else) if you don’t feel right about what you’re doing or how you are going about doing it. I’ve wasted energy and time trying to market in ways that didn’t feel authentic, in ways that stopped me from being comfortable with myself. In the end, instead of selling more books, I only lost creative energy. So, I say, be confident. Stand tall. Avoid negativity. In writing your book, you’ve done something most other people only dream of. And that is success!

Thanks, Laura. You are awesome!

Aw, I'm blushing. Especially because I am not nearly as awesome as you. Thank you for edumacating us all, Fiauna! I hope you'll come back again soon!

You can purchase Fiauna's wonderful book, as I did, here. I haven't read it yet, I must confess, because my too be read pile is VERY TALL. It's about 2 down from the top though.

So what did you think about this new series? Would you like to see more book launch tales?


Kimberlee Turley said...

Wow 170,000 books published annually? Is that world wide? And how many of those are E print books only?

Sherrygloag said...

Kimberee, last night on one of the Uk news chanels they said ebokk sales last year were 10% of all book sales and this year it is precicte to be 30% so they are rising rapidly.
Lauras, thanks for an interesting post.

AlexJCavanaugh said...

It does sap energy. And I'd heard that annually almost a million books are published. That's a scary figure.

Fiauna said...

This was statistic printed in the Wall Steet Journal I believe in November of 2011, and I think it applies to US only. I'm not sure about e-books.

Nutschell said...

I love that you're thinking ahead. Positive thinking really does work, you know:)
Happy A-Zing!

Fiauna said...

Also, I would add that the best thing a writer can do is keep writing. If readers like what you write they will likely look for more work from you. So hang in there and keep plugging away!

Daisy Carter said...

This is a great new series, Laura! I'm hoping my book hits shelves soon-ish, and I'd love to hear more from authors who've been through the process.

Fiauna, where can we find your book? Is it for sale online anywhere? It sounds great!

Laura Barnes said...

FAIL on my part!! Updating the post now for links to purchase!

Jennifer Pitts said...

Great tips and tricks in this interview. Thanks for sharing. I hope to need all this information sometime in the near future.
Happy A to Z-ing!

Fiauna said...

In the Twilight is available at Eborn Books stores as well as online at (Sorry for the great, big, long link.)

And thanks for asking!

Thewarriormuse said...

I think this is a great series! And she gave an awesome interview. Perfect pointers.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Alark Betty357 said...

Awesome! Great interview! Yes,I'd like to see more - book launch tales are great! You learn so much about what others have accomplished and how they achieved it!

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