There are five major things I needed to do before my book release I wish I’d done sooner. Here’s hoping with this list, you won’t be taken by surprise like me. These five things can be done anytime. There’s no such thing as doing them too early, and when your first book does come out and you’re neck deep in promo and editing, you’ll be super glad you’ve taken care of them already.
Though my pages are far from ideal, I’ve included links to mine to give you an idea.
1) Set Up An Author Website
Everyone told me to get a website set up early, and I should’ve. Don’t be like me and scramble the week of your deal announcement to get it going. It comes in handy too when your book goes up for pre-order and you have to redo your home page with buy links. The home page needs to be updated every stage of the game, for a cover and blurb reveal, on pre-order and release day. You don’t have to have a blog, just an about page and links to your social media profiles is a great start. If your website is already set up, it makes those days of quick updating much easier.
2) Tweet a Lot
Assuming you’re already on Twitter, which you should be, tweet often. I’m shy and self-conscious about tweeting, but it’s all about getting your voice out there. Don’t wait until you’re hawking a book before you start getting into Twitter. No one clicks on the “buy my book” tweets anyway (I have the analytics to prove it). It’s about providing interesting content and engaging with people. Don’t be shy. Don’t be fake. Be yourself. But be smart.
A little tip: participating in Twitter chats is a great way to do this. I run one with my friends for romance writers #RWChat. Even if you’re not a romance writer, check out the FAQ section on the page for how to do a Twitter chat. #Storycrafter and #Storysocial are others.
3) Set Up A Goodreads author page
This is different from your standard Goodreads reader account page. An author page will link directly to your book so that readers can read about you and see all the series you’ve published. It allows you to have “friends”, but it also allows readers to “follow” you and get email updates from you. As with the Facebook author page below, you can set this up today. There’s no such thing as too early. Setting up author pages the night before your book goes up for pre-order…like I did…not recommended.
4) Set Up a Facebook author page
This is different from the Facebook page with your pen name. (A different one from the one you use for my high school and college friends and family.) You also need an author page. It’s more a business page, than a social page. It has a “Shop Now” button that links directly to buying your book. It’s a good idea to do this early so you can have as many “Likes” of the page as possible before you’re scrambling to get it set up for pre-order sales.
5) Request Reviews
This one technically can’t be done until after your book is finalized, but it’s so important you should know it now: getting reviews is hard. I had no idea how hard. It’s almost like querying. Some publishers do this for you—count yourself lucky. Trying to get them yourself—exhausting. Start early. As soon as the digital copy of your book is finalized, start sending it out. Even if your release is three or four months away. Some reviewers have wait lists 3 months long. Beware though, Amazon doesn’t allow reviews to be posted until after book release, so you’ll need to send friendly reminders to those reviewers who are posting early on your Goodreads page.
When they say to start your author platform early, try.
But don’t panic. If it freaks you out or you can’t find the motivation, writing your book is more important. Don’t let the pressure to stack that platform bar you from writing. This is just a handy guide of things to expect, and maybe others will learn from my mistakes.
Let us know if you have other tips to share.
Robin Lovett, also known as S.A. Lovett, writes contemporary romance, and her debut novel, Racing To You, will be released July of 2016. She is represented by Rachel Brooks of the L. Perkins Agency and has a forthcoming series releasing with SMP Swerve in the summer of 2017.
She writes romance to avoid the more unsavory things in life, like day jobs and housework. To feed her coffee and chocolate addictions, she loves overdosing on mochas. When not writing with her cat, you can find her somewhere in the outdoors with a laptop in her bag. Feel free to chat with her on Twitter.