10 things a debut author should be ready with before book launch

So the day has finally arrived! Your debut book is about to be released and what you feel is best explained as a muddy, heady cocktail of emotions. Yes, that's normal and natural. Writing and getting published is a dream many harbour but only few finally accomplish; so rejoice and celebrate. But...sorry but there's a but in the tale.

In the long arduous book journey, you are about to step into the most difficult, trying and often frustrating phase. Book marketing. And if you aren't ready with a few things, make it many things; before the launch of your book then you will be in a tough spot. Sharing my learnings with you.

I had a year-long gap between signing with HarperCollins and finally the book launch. So I had a lot of time to prepare and I did.

1. Make a list of interesting lines from the book and make small posters with pretty visuals. You can do this with the help of numerous free softwares available. You'll need them for your book promo. This will draw attention to the book. Make sure you pick catchy lines. They shouldn't be too long, feel free to edit them. They grab eye balls.

2. Look for quotes by famous people on the themes you have touched upon in your book. You could also look for dialogues from famous movies or books that connect with your book. These will come handy when you start promoting your book on social media.

3. Identify the central themes from your novel and write posts on them. To explain what I mean - my debut book is about emotional abuse, a woman's search for identity, friendship. I wrote articles on these topics. Apart from these I also wrote posts on various aspects of writing. I kept these ready for use much before the book launch.

The above mentioned points is to assist you in book marketing. All you want to say is, Please buy my book. But you need to say that in smart and interesting ways. You have to arouse curiosity about the book, leave the interesting lines from your book in the minds of prospective readers and grab eye balls by using interesting quotes and lines from movies and books.

4. After the book is released, you'll need to connect with bloggers so that your book is read and reviewed by them. You can either connect with bloggers individually or through groups like Blogchatter, Writersmelon and others. Whatever you choose, you need to connect with them in advance. Numerous books are released every day and the bloggers have a big pile to read so if you don't connect in advance and slot a date for your book, you wouldn't be able to get your book reviewed. It's best to get the book read and reviewed in the first two months after launch. Please remember that new books hit the market every week and you don't want to slide to the bottom of the pile. So connect with the bloggers well in advance.

5. If you are planning to do a book tour, this will need lots of planning in advance. First you need to identify the cities you wish to go to. Then you have to collaborate with the relevant book group in the cities you plan to visit. Sharing a bad experience of mine, please learn from it. I collaborated a google hangout with a book club in a city up north. They promised to get 25 people to the event. They couldn't. This happens a lot with debut authors. So they gathered school children for the event. It was a nightmare to discuss my novel which deals with emotional abuse, extra marital relations with school kids. It was horrible to say the least. So do your homework well. Collaborate with multiple people and groups to ensure you have the right audience.

6. Make a folder and keep few things ready in it. A brief synopsis of the book. a nice cover picture, an author bio and some professionally clicked pictures of you. You'll need to send these to bloggers, e-zines and publications for articles about your book. You shouldn't be scrambling to put this together. Have this ready. You don't want to send drunken holiday pics to a publication or a blogger. It looks very unprofessional.

7. Spruce up your social media pages. Have an author page on Facebook. Don't make a book page. You'll write more than one book, hopefully; so for every book you'll need a separate page. That's not practical. Have an author page for yourself and be active on it. As an author you should be on Twitter. If you aren't then get started. And if you already have a twitter account, please re-write the crazy whacky intro and change the pic too. You can be quirky fun. Include the name of your book in the intro.

8. Get active on social media. Book marketing pundits opine that you should start building a fan base 3 years before the book out. Phew! I know. I sank when I read the line too. But it's never late to get started. Get active on Twitter, FB author page, Google plus and Instagram to begin with. Best policy is to identify where your audience is most likely to be present and focus more on that. Talk about your book, the subjects or themes you have touched upon in the story and spread the word. I sought out women's group on FB and participated in conversations. Don't just post one liners and expect people to scurry to you. Engage in conversations, comment, participate. You have to build relationships.

9. Connect with other authors. You aren't alone. There are many debut authors out there and many authors with multiple titles. The point is everyone has been a debut author sometime and they remember how it was. Everyone remembers their struggle. So reach out to authors in your genre and build bridges with them. How? It's very simple. Read their books and say nice things about their books. Authors love it. And if you give them a good review they will never forget you. Point is reach out to others with genuine interest. Be nice to others and they will return the favour. Do this with truth and honesty. Don't just connect with authors with the expectation that they will promote your book. They will do so only if they like your book.

10. Prepare yourself. What does this mean? Exactly what the words say. Prepare yourself. Your book will be out in the market and readers, bloggers and other authors will ask you all kind of questions. What inspired you to write the book? Is it autobiographical? They will quiz you about the theme of the story. I have been repeatedly asked, Do I support adultery? Do I think it's ok for a woman to look for love outside the marriage? My answer was: I'm not a social commentator. I'm not here to deliver a social message. My novel is a slice of life. Read it, enjoy it and take what you want from it.

You are about to begin the most amazing journey of your life; with your book. The ride will have its moments. Highs and lows. Readers will gush and some will also criticize. Take both in a stride. Have fun. Your dream is coming true. First book is like the first kiss, first loveā€¦first everything. The first is always special...