Guest Post: Why Building Relationships Before Your Book’s Launch is Important

Today I've got a special guest post from YA author Vicki Leigh, whose debut CATCH ME WHEN I FALL was released this past October! Take it away, Vicki! 

A lot of time is invested in making a book launch successful, especially when it’s your debut. No one knows you yet, and you've only just begun to network with authors, librarians, the media, and other publishing professionals. And while a lot of energy should be put into marketing your book on social medias (hello, Age of the E-book), it’s those people you network with that can make or break your launch. Here’s just one example why:

About three months prior to Catch Me When I Fall’s debut, I contacted my local Books-a-Million about hosting my launch party signing; it was important this was solidified with ample time for the store to order copies of my books. I met with the store manager, and they had an opening the Saturday after my book released. They seemed legitimately excited about hosting me, so when I left the store, my launch party was a go!

Or so I thought.

I knew my book was going to appear in Ingram’s system one month prior to release. The moment I knew Catch Me When I Fall was in Ingram’s database, I contacted the store and let them know we were all set to order books. But little did I know, Books-a-Million cannot order through any other system than their own, store-specific warehouse. And there was at least a four-week processing time on book submissions—and they could still decide not to stock my book. Which meant my book would never be at their store in time for my book launch signing.

(You’d think that piece of info was something the store manager would’ve told me right from the start—when we had three months leeway. Or he could’ve at least corrected me when I repeatedly mentioned Ingram. But I digress…).

Yeah, I crashed and burned. After bawling for a good thirty minutes—which, for someone who rarely cries, is a lot of tears—I frantically called around to other bookstores to see if they could accommodate me within a month while my publisher contacted Books-a-Million’s corporate office and tried to convince them to bend the rules about Ingram just this once. (Obviously, they said no). When it seemed like I wasn’t going to have a launch party at all, my poor CPs listened to me vent and patted my shoulders and talked me off ledges. This was my debut, and I’d worked so hard to make it a success. Seeing it fall apart was like watching a beloved pet die.

Then my agent asked me, “What about the library?” And that’s when the light bulb clicked on.

See, in the three months leading up to my book launch, I’d also made a point to contact my old high school about stopping by for an author visit, and the week before everything fell apart with Books-a-Million, I’d spent the day with my high school’s book club—which was run by my town’s teen librarian.

Having already built a relationship with her, I called the teen librarian at my public library and shared what had happened. With open arms, she welcomed me to reschedule my launch signing and helped me promote it in newspapers and through word-of-mouth around town and at the high school.

And everything turned out to be a success, after all.

This is why it’s so important to build relationships with book lovers of all professions before your novel’s even on shelves—because you never know what will happen, and it’s the people in the writing community who can help reroute your plans when they take an unexpected detour.

So, next time you stop by your local library and bookstores, make sure you buddy up with the librarians and store clerks. You never know when those relationships might be the most important ones.

Adopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. If she couldn’t be a writer, Vicki would be a Hunter (think Dean and Sam Winchester) or a Jedi. Her favorite place on earth is Hogwarts (she refuses to believe it doesn’t exist), and her favorite dreams include solving cases alongside Sherlock Holmes. Her YA debut, Catch Me When I Fall. You can find her at her website or on TwitterFacebookGoodreadsYouTubePinterest, Google+, and Instagram.

Twitter-sized bite: 
YA author @vleighwrites talks about the importance of relationships with local bookstores & libraries. (Click to tweet


Gwen Tolios said...

Great advice! I really need to network more in places other than the web.

Vicki Leigh said...

It's definitely hard to do, with how connected we are via social media! :)

Ava Jae said...

It's something I definitely need to work on, too!

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...