As you might have guessed, Part8 of WHAT TO EXPECT gives us a glimpse of what happens (or doesn’t happen) AFTER THE BOOK IS BORN.
Two “First Trimester” friends (see part 4) — JOANNE LEVY and GAE POLISNER are back, and I’m also thrilled to introduce my writing pal, ELANA K. ARNOLD,
mom of two, part-time writing instructor at the University of California at Davis, and book-Mom of some amazing YA’s—
Look for her third book, SPLENDOR, a sequel to SACRED, this November!
But back to POSTBOOKUM …
WHAT ELANA EXPECTED
Elana: “Waiting for my first book, SACRED to launch was sort of like living a dream. All my life I’d wanted to publish a book, and honestly when I got a book deal, I kind of assumed I’d be dead before the pub date. Because, come on, could I REALLY live to see such an amazing, transformative, miraculous day?”
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
Elana: “November 11, 2012 finally rolled around. I did not die. My book was on the shelves, and friends and well-wishers posted on my Facebook page. I went to a bookstore and held my breath until I saw it there–my book, real, and in the world outside of my head, its own creature both separate from me and still made of the meat of me, the best I could give it.”
“Days passed. My book existed…but nothing was radically, earth-shatteringly different. My dishes still needed washing; the laundry did not fold itself. My children continued to ask me to get them glasses of water, even though they were totally capable of getting it themselves, even now that I was a published author.”
GAE concurs: “After the book is born, just like the baby –and even if it has a weird nose (or say, you hate the cover)–you love it anyway, truly, madly deeply, and you want so badly to share it with the world. But unless you’re Stephanie Meyer (okay or John Green or Libba Bray or a handful of other big sellers) there’s not a whole lot of money the publishers are going to spend on you. Not even for school visits. Which is –yes– a catch-22.”
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Gae: “THE PULL OF GRAVITY has an Of Mice and Men connection, so I spent hours upon hours finding schools that teach the book, and contacting the librarian or English teacher(s) about mine.
- Does your book have a theme–Magic? Dogs? Find clubs and groups that share those interests.
- Craft a professional, brief email or mailing.
- Include bookmarks if it’s snail mail. Offer them if it’s email.
- Offer free Skype visits to schools, libraries or book clubs if they order more than ____# (insert magic number here) copies.
- Use social network–but IMHO for it to work, Social Networking is a two-way street.
These are all great suggestions. (thanks Gae!) I think we all agree about using Social Media.
Build relationships. (This is actually a lot more fun than work.)
Do NOT clog the internet with BUY MY BOOK tweets.
And –like parenting–expect the unexpected.... (Hmmm, I think I’ve said that before….)
“My book birthday for SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE was amazing and pretty much everything I’d hoped for. I ate stuff to celebrate and tons of people I love came to my baby shower (er…launch party), ate cupcakes, and cooed over my baby. ”
Joanne’s book didn’t get into Barnes & Noble bricks and mortar stores right away.
Joanne: “This was a huge disappointment that I’m sure affected sales and happens to plenty of authors. My heart nearly broke when I saw someone on Twitter say, ‘I’ve been looking for it, but can’t find it in any store.’ Ugh.”
Joanne: “After a few months, stuff just sort of fizzles. Your baby isn’t new anymore. Any reviews you were going to get, you’ve gotten, and no one seems to care or want to talk about your baby anymore. Your baby is now an adult child that has moved into your basement; the neighbors know it’s there but no one talks about it because it’s gotten awkward.”
WHAT TO DO?
Joanne: “Give your first baby a sibling! So much is out of our control in this business, but I think the good news here is like pregnancy, book-birthing pain is easily forgotten and we can keep on getting knocked up. And that’s the fun part anyway, right? The writing I mean–I’m talking about writing. ; )”
May I add that Joanne’s book has just been nominated for a Forest of Reading award by the Ontario Library Association?
And Gae’s new baby, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, is due out this Spring 2014.
As Elana says: “Publishing a book did change me, but not in the glitter-and-bells way I had imagined it might. Most immediately, what being on the other side of the publication line did do was light a fire in me to publish another book. It’s like that line from the Nicolas Cage movie, Raising Arizona... when one guy says his wife needs another baby because the kids they already have are “getting too big to cuddle…” There is something addictive about the process of pregnancy and birth, as painful as it is, be it human child or book child.”
Follow these awesome authors— @JoanneLevy @gaepol and @ElanaKArnold –and come back next week for our latest adventure in WHAT TO EXPECT part9–because we’re talking about all things book-birth here so there must be a part9, right?