Musings on the Launch of Book Two
I thought bringing out book two of my Samuel Craddock series couldn’t be as exciting as my first book, but I was wrong. It’s better, because I’m more clearheaded. When my first book came out last July, I felt like I was walking over a river that had just iced over. Was I on thin ice? Would I fall through and be swept away by the tricky combination of launch parties and bookstore readings and promotion on social media? Could I behave in ways Miss Manners would approve of?
As it turned out, the debut experience was awesome and exhausting—so much so that I barely remember it. People tell me that the launch party I had for old friends familiar with my long road to publication was wonderful, but I was too out of it to notice. No, I didn’t have too much to drink—I was drunk on delight.
With the launch of the second book in the series, The Last Death of Jack Harbin, today, January 7, I’m excited, but I’m also more aware of what it means to launch a book. Here are a few lessons I learned:
1) Launching a book isn’t an event--it’s an ongoing process. I had some hazy idea that all activity prior to the book launch was preamble, and that after that day everything would settle back to normal. Not true. There were wonderful pre-launch surprises—enthusiastic reviews; heartfelt support and promotion from fellow-writers; amazing support from friends and family—that were as thrilling as “the launch.” More importantly, the “launch” kept going for months afterwards. This time around I’m stretching my readings over several weeks rather than feeling desperate to do them all at once.
2) There really is an audience out there. I knew that writers got emails of appreciation from strangers, but somehow I didn’t think it would actually happen to me. I figured that my friends would buy my book, but once the launch was over few copies would be sold and the book would sink into oblivion. Surprise! I still get notes every week from people who just bought the book, or whose book club just chose it for their next read.
3) I lucked out. My publisher, Seventh Street Books, has done far more in the way of support—editing, cover design, promotion, and sales—than many publishers I hear about. That doesn’t mean I can sit back and let someone else do the work of selling my books, but it means that I actually have people in my corner!
4) I can’t do as I please anymore. Oops. That’s a big one. This is not exactly a complaint—it’s more like an adjustment. I spent years writing books that came very close to publication—but never made it. What that meant was that I could follow whatever writing whim struck me. Now I have not only contractual obligations, but also obligations to my readers. And that last part is big.
“My readers.” What a great phrase. Probably the most exciting part about launching book two is that I have something to offer my readers. I hope they love it.
Bio: Terry Shames is the best-selling author of A Killing at Cotton Hill and The Last Death of Jack Harbin, Seventh Street Books. Her books are set in small-town Texas and feature ex-chief of police Samuel Craddock. Terry lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband and two rowdy terriers. She is Vice President of Norcal Sisters in Crime and on the board of MWA Norcal. For more information, please visit her website: www.Terryshames.com.