(republished from The Class of 2k12)
So, SCARLET has not yet launched. It will do that quite soon (ahem! Valentine’s Day! ahem!) but this is a blog of debut authors, so I’m going to go ahead and give you the down and dirty details of what I’ve done so far–and maybe at the end of the year I can tell you what really paid off and what didn’t!
Don’t hold me to that.
Join a group. Like…um…this one. I’ve never had a kid, but I imagine it’s kind of like having a baby when NO ONE YOU KNOW HAS EVER HAD A CHILD and trying to figure out how to go from there. Get help. Get friends. It’s going to get confusing, exciting, frustrating and thrilling, and you need someone who is going through the same thing.
Pick swag. For me, this was tshirts, postcards, a few stickers and a few hair combs. You DO need something for giveaways. You DON’T need to spend much. Buy something fun (I love my tshirts) so you can say yes when people ask–which they will. Be ready.
Buy Photoshop (and learn how to use it). From swag to stickers to postcard layouts, to website banners, headers, footers and everything in between, I use Photoshop constantly. The cheap one–don’t go crazy. I’m not graphically talented, but it saves me a lot of time and effort with a designer. I DO design my own website (on the supremely easy SquareSpace) so this really comes in handy.
Send postcards. I sent postcards to all the indies I could find (and Indiebound lets you find a lot) and could justify the cost of sending to. This has paid off. I sent them to schools; this has NOT paid off. Find English teachers’ email addresses and email them–it’s much, much more effective. (If you want to know what to do with them, Saundra Mitchell explains it wayy better here)
Plan a party and schedule a vacation. Somewhere in all the interviews, contests, reviews and copy edits, you’ll have this flicker of a moment where you’re just like “wasn’t this supposed to be the funnest thing EVER?” because it doesn’t feel like it. Which is when you get over that feeling, and schedule yourself some fun time. I’m having a pre-launch family and friends party to take the night off and actually celebrate (because I have NO IDEA how to do that) and…welll…scheduling a vacation is still on my to-do list. But I already recognize how much you need to schedule some down time into the madness. Plus I've been sending my two best buds emergency Mexican-and-Margaritas-night-needed texts.
Say yes to everything physically possible. Interview? YES! Donation? Yes! Giveaway? Of course! Kidney? Ye–wait, what? YES! Right now I have no idea what will pay off, what will get my name out there, what will be that magic ticket to the Willy Wonka factory (which is where we’re all trying to go…right?).
Find some way to reinvest your heart. I haven’t launched yet, and this is madness. It’s such a learning curve, it’s such a crazy new process that I have no experience in–and that gives me anxiety! And then add on the squishy feeling of this thing that was once super personal becoming super public (and weirdly unattached to you) and it’s easy to get emotionally depleted. So whether it’s time with your family, committing to a passion project (cough GLOW!!! cough), taking time off, or even working on something that will never see the light of day, find a way to protect your heart and have it do little heart push-ups. This is an amazing process, this is a growing process, and your heart needs to be Schwarzenegger’ed out to survive with your creativity intact.