HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: How many of us have been there? The week before pub date. When all your plans, all your calendars and to do lists and planning seem to be—ridiculously unfinished or wrong-headed or misguided or simply…worthless. Ah. But the fabulous Dana Kaye has guided so many authors through the terrifying maze of publicity. Taking care of them, reassuring them, thoughtfully and knowingly pointing them in the right direction.
Well. Ha. Now she’s (also) one of us. On the other side of the page. And because she is such a rock star—she gets it.
Riding the Publishing Roller Coaster
(on What She Learned From Publishing Her First Book)
I’ve worked with authors for over a decade, first as a book critic and now as a publicist. I’ve seen debuts launch their first books and seasoned authors launch onto bestseller lists. I’ve seen the rise of e-readers, the decline of newspapers, and the social media explosion.
But seeing the publishing process from the outside did not fully prep me for what it was like to experience it from the inside. On the rollercoaster of publishing, the author’s seat is the scariest spot on the ride.
There are many ups and downs, plenty of dark tunnels, and lots of screaming. There is a huge build up as you move slowly up the first ascent, and then once you come over the peak, you move faster than you ever imagined.
While I have lots of experience helping our authors launch their books, there were a number of things that surprised me when it was time to launch my own book: It’s all in the details.
As a publicist, I never had to deal with retailer metadata, writing back cover copy, or fact checking multiple rounds of edits. There are so many things to consider when successfully launching a book, and so many of them are small, seemingly minute details.
But each of those small details makes an impact, and if not treated with equal importance, can turn into a major problem. It is a lot of work. This should have come as no surprise.
I’ve run PR campaigns for almost 100 books and I know the hours it takes to create press materials, pitch media, create social graphics, newsletters, and so on. But I didn’t quite realize how time consuming the result of those PR initiatives were for the authors.
I am thrilled and grateful for every interview, guest article opportunity, and feature that was requested. But those hours add up quickly! It’s easy to spend an entire day fulfilling publicity requests and it can be challenging to fit everything in while working a day job and writing the next book.
How nerve-racking it is.
I know authors are a delicate breed. In the days leading up to a launch, I know I’ll receive several calls and emails from the author, making sure no stone was left unturned and that nothing was forgotten. I know they’ll frantically check their Amazon ranking, analyze every Goodreads review, and stay glued to social media most of the week.
I knew all of this about authors, I just didn’t know that I was one of them! It’s so easy to get consumed in the launch process and dwell on what you could have done differently or what you need to do now. It takes practice to be able to step back, breathe, and know that everything will work out in the end.
Making my publishing debut has been an exciting and fascinating experience that will no doubt inform the relationships I have with our clients. Launching a book takes more diligence, hard work, and nerves of steel than most people realize.
But I can safely say that most of us authors wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world, and no matter how scary and out of control the process can be, that we’d all gladly stand in line to ride the roller coaster over and over again.
HANK: Dana--hurray! Tell us about THE BOOK!
And writers--how do you handle pub day? What's THE most important thing you do? What's turned out to be effective? And Dana can tell us if we're right…:-)
Readers--does it matter what an author does? How do you decide what to read?
Dana Kaye is the owner of Kaye Publicity, Inc. and author of Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales. Known for her innovative ideas and knowledge of current trends, she frequently speaks on the topics of social media, branding, and publishing trends, and teaches online courses at KayePublicity.teachable.com.