Good Things Are Happening…

Miranda had a big day yesterday, sharing the news that:

We just got off the phone, and she described her husband’s reaction to her comment to him. She said: “This means that at least 100 people I don’t know will read the book!” He, clearly, encouraged her to think a bit bigger than that.

This process reminds me so much of the reason Miranda stated for wanting to work with me, and work so hard on the book launch: “I just want to feel that I did everything I could.”

This week, the one before her release date, suddenly seems otherworldly, the kind of thing authors dream of. It is amazing to consider how at once this comes down to the simple fact that Miranda wrote a wonderful book that is resonating with people; but also that she has so many people on her team at Crown working so hard to share this book with the world.


The Calm Before Publication Date

It is funny how for both Miranda and I, now that we are firmly in the “book launch” period, it has felt less natural to update this blog!

I suppose that could be because with a year’s worth of preparation, things sort of “happen” now. There is a LOT of behind the scenes chatter about book reviews and placement that has been confirmed, but I am never sure what can be shared publicly, and when.

Miranda and I had lunch earlier in the week, and stopped to get a shot of ourselves afterwards. I couldn’t quite get the exposure right, so you will have to blend these two images in your mind:


I think that once publication date arrives, (um, REALLY SOON!), we will be able to reflect more on what has worked best in this process.


Two Weeks Until Publication = All The Feels

Dan and I had lunch together yesterday and it was this kind of amazing firestorm of Ohmygoodnessit’shappening!!! combined with Howarewesupposedtofeel??? crossed with Whathappensnext??? In between, I stole his french fries.

So what do I feel? Well, of course I feel excited. In two weeks the bookstore I walked into today will (hopefully) be selling Bittersweet! But if there’s one thing book publishing has taught me is that there are many other feelings, good and bad, that come along with this whole big old process. I’ve been talking to a few other writers who have books coming out in the next little bit of time, and they’re running the gamut of feelings too, perhaps best summed up in this fantastic Facebook post written by Porochista Khakpour, whose novel, The Last Illusion, is the featured book in today’s OMG! All The Books! Giveaway:

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Here are my feels for today, in no particular order:

– I’m feeling guilty that I haven’t been posting on this site in recent weeks!

– I’m feeling nervous that none of the possibilities that my publicist mentioned in our phone meeting today might come true.

– And then I’m feeling chagrinned, because *one* of those possibilities will probably happen, right? Right???

– I’m feeling a general wash of anxiety when I first wake up every morning. I’ve learned the best solution to that problem is to just get my butt out of bed and start the day, but the anxiety still comes in little waves of ohmygoodness as the day goes on.

– I’m feeling distracted- I can’t really focus on much of anything for a long period of time. So I’ve started lots of small projects in my house, but my husband can attest to the fact that the dishes really aren’t being washed all that regularly. Still, I like to think that all that distraction is making me a fun mom, since I’m much more likely to curl up with a book or suggest we watch some Tom & Jerry or be up for a trip to the ice cream shop.

– I’m feeling moved and honored to see so many people I know and love (and a growing number of people I haven’t met yet) feeling enthusiastic about Bittersweet as we near publication.

– I’m also prone to burst into tears much more often than usual. Like, about anything.

My mantra for these next two weeks: be easy on yourself. A good mantra to adopt for the rest of my life, I suppose, and yours too!

Status Update: Two Weeks Into a Month-Long Giveaway!

It’s funny how much a daily giveaway just becomes a normal part of your daily existence. Julia, Miranda and I now coordinate in the mornings and evenings every day, and there is often a flurry of emails with the participating authors to just check, double-check, and triple check a million details.

So how are things going so far? Well, let’s look at some basic data:


Included here are the number of entries per day, and then the TOTAL website traffic for this time period. We saw around 75 entries per day in the first week, and around 50 per day the second week. Also, you can see that the site overall had a lot more traffic in that first launch week.

Does this mean the giveaway is a roaring success or a pathetic failure? Well, for that, we have to consider the qualitative stuff:

  • To enter the giveaways, people need to answer a question related to the books being given away. The answers have been incredible to read. Many are very personal, and have been so much fun to read and share (anonymously) with the authors.
  • There is a lot of conversation about the contest on the authors’ social media feeds and the #OMGbooks hashtag on Twitter. That’s just fun to have a reason to promote these authors’ books each day.
  • Private emails between Julia, Miranda, myself and the authors have been so much fun. Lots of enthusiasm and encouragement.

The result: this feels like fun! And Google Analytics can never tell you that.


The Fog of Book Launch

It’s funny that it has been quiet on the book launch blog here, because there has been SO MUCH going on that it becomes difficult to stop and reflect on it.

With Bittersweet’s release date now less than a month away, the publicity and marketing that Crown setup has really bloomed. Miranda announced two magazine features yesterday. An excerpt in Cosmo:


And Martha Stewart Living has chosen Bittersweet as their May book club pick:

Over on the OMG! All the Books Giveaway! things have been going really well. Each day we have had 50-75 entries, and the best part is all of the interaction and conversation on social media, and what people share in answering the questions to enter each giveaway.

Plus the first Amazon Vine reviews have come in:
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There is so much else going on, but I wanted to share a few highlights.
More to come…

How the OMG! All the Books! Giveaway Is Going So Far

We have completed two of the 25 giveaways for the OMG! All the Books! giveaway, so I figured we can share how things are going now that we are past the launch.

In purely quantitative terms we have had:

To me, that is pretty awesome, especially considering how short each giveaway period is: 11 hours each.

In a recent blog post, I talked about the overt value this giveaway could have for raising awareness of Miranda’s book, and one factor is just getting people to her website. This is what visits have looked like so far:


(it’s worth noting that I forgot to install Google Analytics on her website until April 1st. Regardless, you can see the spikes around the contest launch.)

Do I know how this “traffic” extends to value for Miranda’s book? Nope. ZERO idea if this will sell a single additional book. That said, it is clear that a lot more people are coming to her site, that she is getting more newsletter subscribers, more social media mentions, and perhaps MOST importantly: there is a wonderful feeling of enthusiasm and goodwill around the giveaway.

For each giveaway, to enter someone needs to answer a question, and it has been so lovely to see how personal each response has been.

We’ll continue to share progress.

THANK YOU to Miranda, Julia, all of the participating authors, and those who have entered the giveaways!

Launch Details, Details, Details…

Last week, Miranda and I had three in-person meetings on the same day in NYC:

  • Morning: we met at Rockefeller Center to review details on the OMG! All the Books giveaway.
  • Lunch: we had lunch with her editor at Crown, Christine Kopprasch
  • Afternoon: we met with Jay Sones and Jessica Prudhomme from her marketing team at Crown

It was thrilling to go through so many details in person, and to see how much all of these wonderful people are doing in support of the book. It basically just made me feel so thankful to to be a part of the process.

Here is Miranda, Jay, and Jessica. It’s worth noting that we passed an Elvis impersonator on the street just before this meeting:


And here is Miranda and I just chatting in Central Park before one of the meetings:

The OMG! All The Books! Giveaway Launches Today!

I’m so happy that Emma Straub’s novel The Vacationers is kicking off the OMG! All The Books! Giveaway today. The rest of the week we’ll be giving away Maggie Shipstead’s Astonish Me, Ted Thompson’s The Land of Steady Habits, Jean Kwok’s Mambo in Chinatown, and Caeli Wolfson Widger’s Real Happy Family. We’ll be giving away 24 books in daily giveaways through May 8th. And then one lucky grand prize winner will win all 24 books! To enter the giveaway, click here. And please feel free to spread the word!


Launching the OMG! All the Books! Giveaway

I have loved Miranda’s posts sharing the behind the scenes preparation for the OMG! All the Books! Giveaway, and just shared my own here. I cover a few main points:

  • Getting past the dread of having to run a giveaway
  • Brainstorming fun and hopefully generous ideas
  • Making it immediately social
  • Finding a balance between wacky creative ideas and still staying focused
  • The value in leveraging the skillsets and enthusiasm of Julia, Miranda and I
  • How important and actionable distraction can be in the book launch process
  • How awesome it feels to support other authors
  • And that yes, this giveaway IS strategic.

Read the full post here. Thanks!

The OMG! All The Books! Giveaway- Resources and Benefits

Julia, Dan and I were all surprised by how quickly this ballooned from text message to full-blown event, probably because none of us on our own would ever have been able to pull this off on our own. So how did our efforts complement each other?

-As founding director of Sackett Street Writer’s Workshop and general friend-to- writers-about-town, Julia has a ton of personal connections that she has honed not through “networking,” but through genuine friendships and support of her friends’ work. But although she knew a lot of people whose books were coming out in the next few months, she was swamped with work and knew she’d have no time to put together a big giveaway like this on her own.

-Meanwhile, I’d been feeling restless and was looking for that one final push idea, a way to keep my hands busy and spread the word about Bittersweet to people who wouldn’t otherwise hear about it. I had the desire to reach out, but since I’d been in hermit mode in terms of the New York writing scene until about a year ago, I really don’t know very many writers. And I was starting to feel that my regular forms of getting the word out- Twitter, Facebook, my newsletter, were stale. I wanted to try something new but I had no idea what it was until Julia mentioned how many friends with books she had coming out (and I realized I had a handful of friends in the same position).

-Finally, Dan and I have been working together for the past year, but lately we’d started to notice a lull in the tasks he and I could come up with together. He’d helped me build FriendStories. He’d helped my redesign He’d helped me figure out a workflow for my social media presence, and although he serves as a constant source of encouragement and a resource of fabulous ideas, I could tell he was eager for something more to do. And then, lo and behold—we gave him something to do! The logistics of this giveaway—from the legal side of things, to the workflow, to the day-to-day organization—is something that neither Julia nor I would have ever had any interest in/knowledge about; frankly, it would have kept us from organizing such a thing. Meanwhile, Dan actually thinks all that is FUN (can you believe it?).

Unexpected Benefits

When were first discussed this giveaway, I knew there would be ways it would benefit me. I knew that:

–       I was getting a chance to be introduced to many authors whose work I greatly admire, and, because Julia was the one making the introduction, her “vouching” for me would bring me many steps closer than I’d ever been before.

–       In extending the invitation to promote these new friends’ books, I would be able to gain their respect and show them, through my generosity, that we could be friends down the road.

–       We would be driving traffic to my website, which would mean that people who were coming to this giveaway through other avenues would end up knowing about me and Bittersweet.

–       In banding together a group of so many authors and hosting this giveaway on my blog, I hoped we’d be making enough of a news story in and of itself that we would extend our reach beyond even our personal networks.

But there have been other benefits too:

–       The chance to drive traffic to my fellow authors’ websites.

–       The enthusiasm of many of the other authors’ publicity and marketing departments, and their pledges that they will help us spread the word too.

I’m sure other good fortune will come thanks to the forward momentum this project seems to have already gained. I’ll keep you posted!