Today’s return guest is author LynDee Walker, whose second novel Buried Leads released just two weeks ago.
LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, LynDee traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in High Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. LynDee is a member of Sisters in Crime and James River Writers. Her debut novel, Front Page Fatality, is an Amazon multi-chart #1 bestseller.
Said Style Weekly of LynDee’s book:
Walker’s years in a newsroom obviously have paid off: Her pacing is expert, her knowledge of police and court procedure evident, and her dialogue natural…Tight, fast-paced and funny…Immediately draws the reader in, provides plenty of twists, and keeps its audience guessing up to the end.”
LynDee approached us a few months back to ask if she might write a post about her second-book experience.
“It’s from the ‘Things I wish I’d known before my debut launched’ file,” she said. “WU has been so much help to me over the years, I hope I can help make another writer’s launch smoother and less nerve-wracking. “
The Second Time Around
*Author’s note: I wrote this post before Buried Leads launched. From this side of release day, I agree with the points below even more.
My debut novel launched in January, and my second comes out next week. In December, I have a novella in a super-fun Christmas collection, and a third novel launching in April. Are you counting with me? Three (and a third) books in fifteen months, folks.
I do still have all my hair, but it doesn’t get washed as often as it used to (I’m kidding. Sort of).
So, what have I learned?
Currently, I’m learning that if you think you won’t be as nervous before your second book launch, you’re probably wrong.
I have checked and double-checked everything, and obsessed over numbers and sales ranks until my eyes are nearly bleeding.
Where has it gotten me? Nowhere. I’m still sitting here in front of my computer.
Why am I doing it? Well, first, I am a neurotic worrier by nature. Y’all should have seen me when my oldest monkey was a baby. That poor pediatrician. I wasn’t as bad as Rachel on Friends, but I called a lot.
Second, I feel a different kind of pressure this time. When my debut launched in January, no one had ever heard of me. This time, that’s no longer the case. Front Page Fatality did well, and people are waiting for this book. I want those people to like it.
So, here’s my advice for you today, fellow unboxeders: don’t be like me.
Logically, I learned a lot from the launch of the first book, if I could only make myself apply the logic.
Here’s the biggest lesson I learned: you can only do so much. If you’re a control freak like me, you’re covering your ears and shouting “La la la la LA!”
But it’s true. You can post and tweet (if you go to the WU archives you will find excellent advice about how to not annoy people by constantly posting “BUY MY BOOK!!” Take note) and write guest blogs ’til your fingers are bloody nubs, and it doesn’t guarantee you anything. For such a small industry, we produce a lot of books every year. So my best advice for you is this: do everything you can, and then turn off your wifi.
I’m borrowing that from one of my idols, to tell the truth. I had a chance to have a chat over cocktails in May with one of my favorite authors, and of course, I smiled and said “yes, please!” when he asked if I wanted some advice.
“Stay off the Internet and don’t watch your sales numbers,” he said. “If you want to sell more books, write a better book next time.”
While it is undeniably fun to watch a sales spike, the inevitable downward drift is not as much fun. So when it starts to dip (and it will, I promise) do yourself a favor and stop looking.
What to do instead? Write another book. Nothing fuels sales of the first one like the launch of another.
Another thing I learned, which most of us tell ourselves before a launch, but few of us fully understand ’til it happens to us: there’s no book that is universally loved. It takes longer to create a book than it does to create a baby, y’all, and the process is just as emotional. When you send it out into the world, you want everyone to love it.
But not everyone will.
Get good with that before the first sale. And don’t read reader reviews. They’re for readers, not writers. Some people won’t care for your book. Some may even actively dislike it. Who cares? There will be people (people besides your mom, even) who love it. You will get fan mail (it is the best thing ever. Next to chocolate and baby kisses). And that’s what matters.
My last bit of advice for you, which I am going to close this laptop right now and try to take to heart myself, is simple: enjoy it.
You’ve worked hard to get here. You’ve worried and sweated and probably shed some tears. Your launch is the payoff. Book birthdays are fun. Do something to make it special. I like to go to the indie bookshop that offers signed copies of my books online and sign preorders, grab lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, and chat with readers online. You should find a launch day routine you love and celebrate.
Then try to remember all this advice for next time, and enjoy it more.