It only took 24 hours for the elation of selling my book (KINGDOM OF SECRETS, coming from Delacorte Press in 2021!) to morph into sheer panic. Despite having fantasized about this outcome for years, I didn’t know what to do with myself when it actually happened, after I’d responded to the congratulatory messages and updated my social media bios. At long last, I had a book deal!
It’s not that I lacked answers to that question. In fact, I had too many answers to that question. Every marketing idea that had ever blipped on my radar now came rushing back at me until my head was spinning. I had to make a book trailer! And do a blog tour! And find an ARC-sharing group! And figure out what an ARC-sharing group was!* It was all very exciting but also completely overwhelming. So, being an insufferable listoholic, I started in the obvious place. I opened a blank document and inserted a bullet point. And a marketing plan was born.
First, I wrote down all those ideas cluttering up my brain, even the ones I couldn’t act on for ages (like finding an ARC-sharing group) or that were totally outlandish (like hiring a hot air balloon for the book launch…why not?). Next I spent days scrolling Twitter and scouring blog posts to read up on what other debut authors have recommended. Every time I found another nugget of wisdom, I added it to my list. Fortunately, writers are very generous about sharing their hits and misses.
(But let me emphasize that this isn’t one of those helpful posts where I reveal what worked and what didn’t. On the contrary, I’m in the thick of it, writing about all this in real time. So if you don’t want to read about me fumbling through this process, come back in a year and a half, and I’ll tell you what I’ve learned. But if you want to join me on my debut year misadventures… read on!)
Now then…once I had a long list and a clear head, I set out to drill down into what I should be doing right now. As I write this, I’m waiting on my edit letter. Normally the snail’s pace of publishing is frustrating, but in this case, it’s been a relief to have time to take care of loose ends before I dive into revisions. Below are the things I’ve done (or am doing) during this relatively quiet waiting period:
And there you have it – that’s what I’ve been up to since I found out I had a book deal three months ago. It’s still overwhelming, but having a written plan – even one that’s evolving – has calmed me down immensely.
Stay tuned for future posts about this wild ride. Next up: edits (gulp)!
*An ARC-sharing group is a group of readers (mainly teachers and librarians) who receive and share advanced readers’ copies (ARCs) of upcoming books. They also discuss them online, building excitement prior to the book’s release date.