Laura, remember way back in September (in the comments), you and I sat wide-eyed and gulping in disbelief at Sara Dobie's recommendation about clustering fifteen events around a book launch?
"The media likes tangible events, as opposed to vague announcements, as in “People can buy my book now! Cool, huh?” No. They don’t care. They care, however, when you have a cluster of events coming up where people can actually meet you. What does a cluster entail? I’m talking fifteen to twenty scheduled events, clustered around a two-week period, with your launch right at the beginning."
I do remember! At the time, I thought she might as well have said 100 events!
LOL. Yeah, it was one of those things you just had to read twice to make sure you'd read it right the first time. But...after a bit of thought, and bit more gulping, we did decide to take up the challenge. Since my book has been officially released and yours will be soon, I thought we could report back and compare notes on our 15 events in two weeks.
Good idea. How'd it go for you?
Wel-l-l...not quite according to plan. As soon as I'd said, "I'll do it!", I set about scheduling events for the two weeks immediately following my February 1 release---a talk at my local library, sitting on a panel at my big city library, an online chat at the Institute of Children's Literature, and several school visits, etc. all of which came to be.
However...book availability---something I hadn't anticipated---threw a major spanner in the works, delaying my plans for two book launches (which Sara had originally suggested should be the kick-off to our event-filled two weeks), and a blog tour. Bing! That accounted for almost half my fifteen events that couldn't happen in conjunction with ones that had been set up so far in advance. The problem? It turns out that book release day doesn't always mean books are available for sale at local events or for sending out to reviewers, particularly if the author and publisher are located in different countries. For example, my Canadian distributor would only guarantee book delivery for events scheduled a month *after* the official release date, so my fifteen things ended up split, some in February and some in March. Not exactly the big cluster I was aiming for. Next time, I'll make sure the events are all scheduled a month after official release date so they can happen together in one cluster.
That is so frustrating! And places schedule events, even freebie ones, so far in advance! And once you're committed...
Exactly. I couldn't move them.
I've heard horror stories about this before, but I was hoping it was a rare occurrence.
I think it happens more often than we realize. As I talk about my experiences with other writers, stories keep coming out of the woodwork. But, you know, it makes sense if you think about it. The rest of the publishing process is glacially slow, taking months and months at every step of the way, so why should this part of the process be any different? It's just that we writers treat that release date like a starting gate bell. We're in position waiting for it to ring so we can dash, but really, we could dash a month or two later and it wouldn't make any difference in the end.
Something interesting to note about the events I did do: Each one ended up spawning either extra publicity I hadn't arranged or counted on, or requests to participate in additional events---more promotion opportunities. So, in my limited sample, at least, it seems that making the effort to get involved in events around a book release generates momentum. I can sure see how a larger cluster could give a significant push to a book's journey out into the world.
That's good to hear. Really good, in fact.
I've decided that March will be "Launch Month". I'm going to do what I can to try and re-energize the momentum I saw sparked in February. My two book launches are scheduled for March 14 and 28, my blog tour for the week of March 23-27, and I'm scheduled to be the guest blogger at the Charlesbridge blog during the month. I'm also working a couple of angles with radio [gulp] and TV [gulp], so it'll be interesting to see what will result from that mini-cluster of events.
Woohoo! Radio and TV--and you're a theater geek, so those would be natural for you! If you land anything that gets streamed on the web, please be sure to let us know!
It probably won't be streamed; these are pretty small-town affairs. But if they do, I'll be sure to let you know!
It's nice that you'll have a second set of several events, so that it's not just one orphaned little reading or something! And thank goodness you were able to reschedule! Did that cause any problems--for you or the venues/hosts?
Thankfully, the launch dates were still under discussion when the book availability issue arose, so it was easy to schedule them for later.
How about you, Laura? Are you faring better on your fifteen things in two weeks challenge? Will book availability be an issue for Stampede!?
It already has been.
Oh dear. Sorry to hear that.
When I jumped on the 15 Things bandwagon, I don't think I even knew the official pub date. It turns out it's April 6. I already had 2 full weeks of school visits scheduled in April, and I thought, "Excellent! I can not only promote my book at the school visits, but maybe I'll set up some book signings in the towns I'll be in (which are a couple of hours from my home)." These two weeks are a coordinated effort between many rural school districts, and they not only order your books for their schools, but they let kids pre-order books to buy and then have the author sign on school visit day. Fabulous!
Wow. Yes, what a terrific opportunity.
Then came the bad news. They couldn't order Stampede.
What!? Why not?
Because the pub date is too close to the school visit dates. Not only would it be hard to get the books distributed, but they just couldn't risk them not being available (I'm sure they've run into problems before). I contacted HMH's Customer Service, but they could give no guarantees. So. I'm pretty sad that the 10 or 12 schools I'm visiting won't be able to sell Stampede on pre-order. It would have perhaps been a nice cluster of sales for my newly-released book:>/
Oh, that *is* too bad. But it's exactly what I ran into, too. Is this common knowledge that you and I somehow missed? It doesn't do us much good this time around, but we'll sure know for next time.
But on to the good news. My official release date is April 6. Here's what I have on the calendar so far:
April 10: Reading/event at the Minnesota Zoo (in conjunction with their Farm Babies event)
April 11: Reading/event at Micawber's Books
April 14-17: School visits where I won't have pre-sold Stampede, but I'll at least be able to spread the word and leave promo cards
April 18: Presenting a poetry-writing workshop (for adults writing for kids) at the Loft Literary Center's Festival of Children's Literature
April 24: Storytime at a St. Paul library
April 25: Reading/event at the Como Zoo in St. Paul (in conjunction with their Go Green for Gorillas event)
That week: Looks like a reading at my Barnes & Noble in conjunction with Turn Off the TV Week (still working on details)
April 28-May 1: More school visits
I have some stuff planned beyond that, too, but that's the basic cluster of the period right after launch.
That's looking nicely clustery. Well done! But, [ahem] I do notice a distinct absence of a "book launch".
I'll also be doing an online launch party, probably on April 6th itself, though I haven't decided for sure yet. And in April I'll have interviews/features on several blogs. This week, in fact, I need to sort out what I'm doing and start answering questions! I think I'll have about 5 features, which is lovely! People have been so generous in offering to host me.
I echo that. I've been amazed at how open folks are to receiving review copies and hosting.
Hey, here's one cool thing if you haven't already seen it. It's called BookTour.com, and I use it to keep up with authors who are coming to my area to visit. And then the lightbulb went on and I realized I needed to start registering my own events here! So people can search on my name and get this page. And people who live in or near the zip codes I'll be doing events at will have my events show up on their Events In Your Area page.
Now this is very cool. I hadn't heard of it before. The homepage automatically listed the authors on tour in my area. Talk about user-friendly. And I recognize a few of the local author names, too. Nifty. I'm going to check into this one further. Thanks!
And, even cooler, I discovered that BookTour.com events feed into the local online calendar that's run by the St. Paul Pioneer Press. So people who use twincities.com to search for entertainment events will have my events come up! I don't know the details of that as I only learned it when a Google Alert showed me! But hey, anything that helps get the word out and might increase attendance is great. I'd definitely recommend signing up at BookTour.com and listing your events that are open to the public. It's nice to have an online listing that you can link to from your site or blog or something that says, "See my upcoming events." I haven't done that yet, but will as it gets a little closer.
So, that's my progress on 15 Things. Overall, I'm happy with what I've got set up. Once the Barnes & Noble plans and launch party plans are complete, I'll be set for April. Yea!
This task sounded overwhelming at first, but it's not been too too hard:>)
I agree, my split clusters notwithstanding. One step at a time, one event at a time, it was manageable.
So, dear readers, have you ever tried to cluster so many events in such a short time around a book launch. Have some good advice on how to do that? We'd love to hear from you.