On My Book’s Launch Day, Michael Jackson Died

New authors often anticipate their book’s launch for months or even years. About six months before the pub date, the advance reader copies (ARCs) begin to circulate and preorders roll in. The author asks for endorsers and influencers, sets up media events and dreams of the day they’ll hold the book in their hand. Everyone is excited and tension mounts.
But sometimes, just as that launch day arrives, something happens to steal your fire. In my case, some of The Fence My Father Built’s promo splash was sucked up by the King of Pop’s untimely demise.
Last October, when The Fence My Father Built hit stores, it had good reviews, a great cover and good buzz. But the very week my book hit shelves, Michael Jackson (And Farrah Fawcett) both died. It was harder than usual to vie for attention with everyone glued to the TV, processing the sadness of Fawcett’s struggle with cancer and Jackson’s bizarre and sudden end.
What’s an author (especially a new author who needs to build a readership) to do?
Writing Tip for Today: Common sense says you do what you can with the hand you’re dealt. Think of how paralyzed the nation was for months after 9/11. I remember wondering if anyone would ever publish a book again. Yet, somehow, the book industry has soldiered on. Perhaps we as authors (new authors!) are wise to shoot for as much word-of-mouth buzz as possible. For if we aren’t a branded author, opportunities for first wave publicity shrink quickly after a book’s release. Think of yourself as a pebble, start small and let your contacts and promotional ideas ripple out. It may not be a perfect marketing plan, but sometimes (thanks Jacko!) it’s all we’ve got.

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