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Friday, July 9, 2010

Book Release Fiasco

Since I had released my first novel in an extremely haphazard and random fashion, I decided that the release of my second book would be orderly, well-planned and highly effective.


Here's what I envisioned:

Back in mid-June, I set a Release Date (in my mind) of July 31 for my new book (assuming I could get inventory of my tree books by then). I reasoned that by that date, I could coordinate local press releases, a book signing, a web release and I would have all my ARC reviews available to evidence the book's quality.

It seemed like a pretty good plan. After all, depending on your printer and other factors, there are quite a few details and time lines you need to consider. And I thought I had covered the bases. For instance:

-- It would take somewhere between 10 days and four weeks after the date I ordered my paperback inventory for it to arrive at my home for distribution to local independent bookstores.

-- It would take up to 15 days for my book to appear on Amazon after I submitted to them.

-- It would take up to six weeks for my book to be "available" in wholesale catalogs such as Ingram and Roberts & Taylor.

-- It could take up to a month for me to arrange coordinated press coverage in local and regional newspapers.

-- All of these time frames were a bit nebulous. My book might show up on Amazon as soon as two days after I posted it (instead of two weeks). It might take only two weeks for my book to be available through the major wholesalers. I might receive my book inventory as quickly as ten days after ordering.

Anyway, I thought I had all these factors pretty well covered. If the book showed up on Amazon early, who would notice? It's not like books by no-name self-pubbers pop to the top of any search lists. And the same was true of the wholesalers. The books could be available through them, but no one was likely to know about it or place any orders.

So in mid-June, I ordered my inventory and allowed the book to be posted on Amazon and placed in the wholesale catalogs. For several weeks, my plan worked flawlessly -- no one had noticed the book.

And then . . . my local newspaper was kind enough to do a story on "Summer Reads," and they gave my first book substantial ink. All good. Except there was some miscommunication between me and the reporter, who announced that my upcoming book "would be released later in July" -- very good -- and later in the article -- "was available now through Amazon and local booksellers."

As soon as I saw that announcement, I knew what was going to happen. People started "finding" my new book on Amazon and requesting it from local retailers -- who didn't have the book yet, because it wasn't supposed to be "Released" until July 31.

With customers asking for books, and local retailers feeling left out, I was forced to place my inventory with the local sellers as soon as the books arrived -- which was, fortunately, only a day after the newspaper article.

But now I had books "available" on Amazon and in bookstores. So what was left to "Release"? My ARC reviews had not yet come in. And the newspaper wasn't going to do another story about a book they had just mentioned.

The best laid schemes of mice and men . . .

So I share with you today my book release fiasco. The 19th Element is available everywhere right now, though its official Release (in my plan) will be July 31.

Hope you've had a good laugh!

I'll have to figure a bit more human error into my next book release plans.

That's it for today.

Thanks for stopping in.



  1. Thanks for sharing this. I'm looking at a similar situation in the future, and I've been wondering how many things could go wrong LOL.

  2. I suspect I have only scratched the surface of Murphy's Law in my latest attempt. LOL! Wishing you all the best in your endeavors. John

  3. Thanks, and feel free to keep me posted :-)

  4. Sorry for this bonus response, John. I'm testing out my OpenID