My latest book, a YA speculative fiction novel titled The Ghost Squad, is out this week. I’m delighted, of course–and thank you so much to WU for helping me celebrate its release with a Take Five interview!
That also got me thinking about new releases, how we go about celebrating them, and the different things authors do to highlight their book to readers, so this what I want to look at, in my first WU post for this new year. In the age of COVID, many of us are trying to come up with ingeniously new ways of celebrating new releases…
In my own case, both in the past and more recently, I’ve done a selection of many things over and above what my publishers have done, and all planned well ahead of release time. For example, in 2020 I did all of the following, to help to highlight my five new releases–it was a big year for new books for me and I had to work pretty hard to try and showcase them! Of course I didn’t do all of these things for each book, just a selection, as appropriate:
- Created simple trailers
- Written a series of blog posts about the book, starting from about a month before release—concentrating on different aspects each time– and featured these posts on all my social media accounts
- Run giveaways on social media
- Organized launches and talks, both in person and virtual
- Recorded short video readings
- Created downloadable activities around the book (I did this quite a bit in 2020, specifically to give stuck-at-home young readers something above and beyond simple marketing)
- Provided extras such as ‘offcut’ story fragments or presentations on creative process on my blog and/or You Tube
- Reached out to print, online and broadcast media (the hardest to pull off in terms of national media, but local media is usually interested)
These all had varying degrees of success, but most worked quite well. Some were more time-consuming than others, of course. And one of the things I found in 2020 when it came to publicizing my new releases was that though reviews were really hard to come by–harder even than usual–people seemed much more interested in doing author interviews. I was invited to do several over the year, both in video and podcast, as well as being included in video series—readings, talks–initiated by children’s literature organizations specifically for the purpose of supporting authors and illustrators.
In the case of other authors, here are some things that I’ve seen people do:
- Run blog tours (is it my imagination, or do these seem less popular these days?)
- Offer the book for review on Net Galley (up to your publisher if traditionally published, but can also be done by indie authors)
- Create a multi-arts event around the book
- Create specific page for the new release on Facebook
- Start Facebook and/or Goodreads discussion group around the book
- Create multiple paid social media ads for the book
- Launch the book in an unusual setting: for example, a zoo 😊
Some of these seemed to get a lot of traction, others not so much. It really depended so much on timing, especially in 2020. At the beginning of the COVID shutdowns, for example, March-May 2020, it seemed very difficult to get any attention at all for new releases, which was very hard indeed for authors, especially debut authors. For although people were reading a lot, at that point they seemed mainly to be going back to old favorites and classics, comfort reads in a world that had suddenly upended. Later, though, new releases seemed to surge again….
What do you think, WU’ers? As authors, how do you celebrate your own new releases? As readers, what do you think works best, to make you notice a new release? And did you notice any particularly interesting new ways of snagging readers’ attention in 2020?