Top Five Launch Day Lessons

ideaAre you an author? If so, do you have a debut novel coming out from Spectra? Is your launch date August 31, 2010? If you answered yes to just about any of these questions, then it’s likely that you’re me, M.K. Hobson, (author of THE NATIVE STAR) or Darin Bradley (author of NOISE.) And if you’re me or Darin Bradley, you’ve probably learned some very valuable lessons about how to make your launch day a smashing success. And because you’re so generous, thoughtful and intelligent, you’re going to share them with the world. Or at least the part of the world that reads Suvudu.

1) Timing is everything. If you sleep on the sidewalk outside your local bookstore all night so that you can run in as soon as the doors are open to see your book on the shelf, do NOT then go to the store manager and inform him or her, in curt and frenzied tones, that you are a real author and this book proves it and would they like to have all the store copies signed BY A REAL AUTHOR? Because the store manager will be frightened by this. You will not look like the calm and composed picture of you that is in the back of the book. Your hair will be wildly mussed, for one thing. And you will probably have sidewalk imprints on your cheek. Wait until you’ve showered and gotten your first bad review on Amazon before even attempting such an introduction.

2) Don’t go overboard. Pricing out ad banners on popular websites is a sensible exercise. Pricing out ad banners that fly high over beaches behind small twin-engine aircraft could mean that you’ve gone too far. Maybe.

3) Use the power of friends and family. Your friends and family are your greatest allies on launch day. Exploit them mercilessly. When you ask how many books they bought and they say “one …” quickly interject “…hundred?” with a highly meaningful arch of your eyebrow. Ask them fifteen or twenty times a day if they’ve posted, tweeted, facebooked, or myspaced about your novel. They’ll love the feeling of being included.

4) Never forget those two little words. “Thank you.” Those two simple but important little words will put a smile on everyone’s lips and a song in everyone’s heart. And as we all know, smiling singing people are much more likely to crack open their wallets and buy books. Especially books like NOISE, a haunting debut from a brilliant new voice sure to be as captivating as it is controversial or THE NATIVE STAR, a rollicking Wild West bustlepunk romance.

5) Finally, don’t stop thinkin’ about tomorrow! Words that are as true today as when Fleetwood Mac sang them way back in the stinky, fringey Seventies. Sure, it’s tempting to lose yourself in the fun of promoting your debut novel—writing blog posts in quantities that would shame a Usenet UFO conspiracy theorist, doggedly haranguing your critics, and obsessively ego-surfing Google—but don’t forget that this is just your first book. Hopefully there will be many more to follow. And you’ll want to have launch day promotions for all of those too. So get planning! Price out one of those twin-engine airplane banner thingies—you’re likely to get better rates if you get your reservations in early. Track down your friends and family’s new anonymous email addresses and unlisted phone numbers—let them know you care. Oh, and maybe go and write another novel if you can spare the time. I hear that’s a good marketing maneuver.

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