Saturday, March 3, 2012

Best Reason in the World for Hairy Legs

Woo Hoo - it's finally here! More Beauty, Less Beast: Transforming Your Inner Ogre, the second book in Barbour's "Take On Life" series hit bookshelves on March 1.

And its author hit the floor running.

I realize that most folks don't have a clue what goes into a book launch and why for about six weeks following the book release authors look like they just slid off their Harleys after a cross-country jaunt without a helmet or Twinkies (the bare essentials).

So now is the time to explain why I can't meet you for lunch this week, why I won't be running any extra laps around the grocery store, and why I couldn't in a million years help you learn origami this month.

Since publishers closely follow book sales during the first eight weeks after a book comes out, authors must put all their fragile eggs in one basket and throw every bit of their weight into selling as many books as humanly possible during that time period.We know that publishers will take an impressive start into consideration when considering another book contract. And a slow start can work against you in the same way.

What makes an impressive start?

Well, that varies, but most authors agree that sales of 4-5k books during the first two months would do the trick, with the goal of at least 10k sales by the 4th or 5th month. If sales don't exceed 15k by the 7th or 8th month, you really won't have much of a leg to stand on in negotiating your next contract.

How do authors increase sales? By getting out there and generating interest by:

Nook (literally) & cranny,
Kindle a fire under readers
Speak to as many groups that can stand you
Saturate the media, including radio, TV, and newspaper interviews
Blog interviews and book reviews
Plaster your book cover everywhere
Set up book signings and/or readings (See my Event Schedule at
Run cool contests with great prizes (Like my "Name My Next Book" contest at
Have a FaceBook Launch Party (mine's on March 22, 8 pm ET on my Amazon author page - join the fun!)

Yep, making your book visible (and yourself by proximity), is vital. Of course all these things take an enormous amount of time, energy, and foresight. We actually have to start the ball rolling about two months before the release date, sometimes longer. Some bookstores require signings to be scheduled 2-3 months in advance, and many newspapers must be notified at least  8 weeks ahead of book-related events in order to print notices or book release announcements.

To give you some idea of how all this plays out, I have four radio interviews scheduled during just the first two weeks of March (more later), and 13 speaking events during the 7 weeks following the release date of More Beauty, Less Beast. Notices or articles should come out in four different newspapers, and my PR gal is diligently working on several TV interviews as we speak.

Whew! It's a whirlwind all right, but you know it's coming when you sign up for this gig. Or at least you hope it will because that means you're having a book published. You tell yourself you can rest later, and hope that low sales don't dictate that this will be your last book. If things go well, and another book contract rolls down the chute, you'll be doing it all over again in about six months.

So there you have it. The reason why girl authors (even authors of Beauty books!) with new releases have greasy hair, starving families, and hairy legs.