Publishing a book is a thrilling thing. After spending years dreaming about a story, writing it, and then spending the time and effort bringing it to life, launch day is a bit like a birthday. Your book is out in the world and it’s time to celebrate! Holding a copy of your book never feels like it will get old. But then…reality starts to settle in. Yes, your book is out there. But—now what?
To extend the birthday metaphor a bit, your pub day is probably someone else’s pub day. There are chances other people celebrating book birthdays might have fancier parties, more guests attending, or more fanfare. And, even if your book gets the celebration you’ve been hoping for, in the days or weeks after launch…everyone else seems to have wished your book a happy birthday and moved on. What happens next is perfectly natural: the after-launch blues.
So how do we deal with those mixed or sad feelings after pub day? Here are some things to consider:
Focus on the Things You Can Control
So often, authors get down after pub day due to a number of things that they have little control over—things like critical reception, number of reviewers, types of reviews, and sales numbers. Publisher’s Weekly might accept your book for review and give it a starred review…but chances are, they may not. And, even if they do, the review may not do anything to really move sales. You may work with an advanced review copy website like Netgalley or Booksirens to try to increase reviews. But even if your book gets hundreds of downloads, you can do nothing to force reviewers to post on the websites you want.
What you can do is find ways of promotion and marketing that work to your strengths. Maybe your book appeals to a great niche—you can reach out to podcasters who talk about that niche and pitch your book. You can pitch guest posts to blogs about a topic you have a level of specialty in, especially if it relates to your book. You can try your hand at ads or newsletter swaps or promos. Once again, the results may not be in your control, but persistent work will pay off.
Write the Next Book!
Of all the forms of promo that you should focus on, the best thing you can do to work on promoting your book…writing the next book! The more books you have in your backlist, the more avenues of income you have. What’s more, one book may inspire readers to read your other books. This is especially true if you are writing in series, where your books directly will lead to-read through of future books.
But even if you’re not writing in series, writing the next book gives you a place to focus your time and attention. (And it can keep you distracted from checking those reviews and sales numbers!) The truth also is that most writers don’t become authors because they love the business of writing—they do it because they love writing. Going back to what you love doing is one of the best ways to remember why you’re putting yourself through the publication process.
Remember that Publishing Is a Marathon
If there’s one mantra that you should repeat to yourself throughout any part of the publication process, it’s this: publishing is a marathon not a sprint. After those pub day blues hit, remind yourself of this often. Each step you take is building the foundation of your author career. Results may be slow, but by constantly moving forward you will get closer to the finish line you seek.
And if you still can’t shake those after-launch blues, try to be gentle on yourself. You published a book, after all, and that’s a tremendous accomplishment! As a writer, that’s the job you’re supposed to do. And when you’re ready, pick up that pen, and keep going.