What to Do One Month Before Your Book Launch

stephgiphyWhen I write this, it is five weeks, two days and twelve and a quarter hours before my novel, Idyll Threats, is published. But who’s counting? Me. I am counting. I am also making to do lists. So many to do lists.

Here are some of the things I have to do before Idyll Threats is available to buy.


Write a blog post for Femmes Fatales.
Interview a fellow mystery writer about her book, Dante’s Dilemma, for the International Thriller Writer’s September issue.
Work on my launch party dance mix.
Make a run list for the launch party.
Finish this blog post.
Recruit volunteers for launch party.
Do a radio interview about Idyll Threats. (Must go to office as they prefer a landline, and I don’t have one at home.)
Update calendar with dates when blog posts/interviews will appear so I can send links via social media.
Pick an outfit for launch party. Accept that this may not involve a top hat. (Damn it.)
Create fliers for launch party.
Ask about my bookmarks from publishing house publicist.
Make sure day job sends out notice about launch party in weekly email update.
Update my website with (good) book reviews.

Okay. Panic time. I’m going to stop typing tasks. Drink some coffee. Yeah, it’s a stimulant. Not likely to relax me. Did you see that list? It’s a partial list. I need stimulants. All of the stimulants!!! Okay, maybe not all. I saw that very special episode of Saved by the Bell when Jessie gets addicted to caffeine pills and sings “I’m So Excited.” I’m not going there.

What makes this pub date prep harder is that I’m supposed to be writing the sequel to Idyll Threats and did you see that partial list?

Deep breaths. Deep fucking breaths.

So, what have I learned? What valuable tips do I have for all you pre-pub date authors?

  1. Recruit volunteers. You’re going to need them. Don’t be afraid to employ emotional blackmail or regular blackmail.
  2. To do lists help. They regulate the chaos. Find a system that works for you. Checking off items from a list is satisfying.
  3. Stock up on thank you notes. You won’t have time to buy ‘em later and you’re going to want to thank a lot of people when all is said and done.
  4. Make notes as you go about what is and isn’t working. For example, I wished I’d made two sets of business cards. One pre-pub date, with the book’s pub date on it in bold. And the other without the date for once the book is in the world.
  5. Say no. If you’re asked to do a promo activity and it’s a hardship or it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!
  6. Remember it isn’t other people’s jobs to love your work. Some people won’t. And that is okay.
  7. Treat yo self. Ice cream? Movie date? Take breaks from promo activities. Everyone around you will appreciate these short bursts of sanity.
  8. Be patient. A few interview questions have rubbed me the wrong way. But recently I had to interview two authors and I realized it’s no easy task. Remember, people who are publicizing your work are exposing your novel to a greater audience.
  9. If bad reviews haunt you, outsource review reading. I have a ‘reviewer previewer.’ When I get a review, I forward him the link. He reads the review and tells me if I should excerpt it on my website. If he says nope, I delete the email and never read that review.
  10. Take a moment to celebrate. Even, especially, pre pub date. You did it! You wrote a book and it will be published and people will read it and how fantastic is that!?

Just typing that list, especially item #10, made me feel better. Sometimes the work you put into publishing can feel like wedding preparation gone mad. Lots of details, not enough time, and before you know it the event’s over! Try to keep hold of the happiness. And have another coffee. You earned it and you are so excited!!!


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