Proof Copies, ARC Readers, Final/Final Edits, and Other Head-Exploding Items
Every time I think to myself, “This is the hardest part of the book – it will be easier once this part is done,” I am wrong. The proof copy arrived yesterday, and the number of tasks needing immediate attention is overwhelming!
But let’s take a moment first to marvel at how great the book looks. And it does look gorgeous! While we already know there will be a few details to update, the cover is lovely and the inside matter is clean and classy.
I’ll be going over everything one last time to be sure (or as sure as I can be!) that no really stupid mistakes have been made. I’m looking for page numbers that match the table of contents, odd spaces that were accidentally created during the last edit, and those spelling errors we somehow overlooked a billion times. I keep reminding myself that everyone makes mistakes and that there is bound to be something that will show up a few months from now. Still, I’m very intent on limiting those possibilities.
I’ve been researching ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) and blurbs (reviews) and other book marketing practices because it’s been many years since I launched a book. There is an awful lot to know and coordinate. I have pages and pages of spreadsheets and notes. Most of the marketing info you find online is specifically for fiction writers, so I have to really think through how – or if – any of these techniques will work for my specific book.
Now that I have a proof copy, the next step is giving it to folks who might be willing to look it over and write me a nice review. My publisher (who is also my husband!) thinks big and wants to approach some Very Important People. That scares me to death because I suffer from a chronic case of Imposter Syndrome. But I am fortunate to also have a short list of people I personally know who are experts in their literary fields. I will definitely start with them.
I’ve been revamping my website, too. It definitely was skewed to the Little House on the Prairie crowd so it needs more of a cozy mystery vibe while keeping the historian underpinnings. Also, all the photos of me are super old and I definitely don’t look like that anymore!
Other marketing items I’ve been checking off the list include creating an author page on Facebook and starting an author Instagram account. Also rebuilding my author pages on Amazon and BookBub while starting a Reddit profile. Then there’s liking and following people, commenting on other people’s posts, and floating a couple posts of my own. Yes, I do this for clients every day, but somehow, it’s very, very different when it’s your own brand! I’m trying so hard to be supportive and interesting but not too provocative. It’s exhausting.
So if you see me on any of these platforms, be kind and say “hello.” I’m hoping to build real relationships, not stoke controversy. It might make sense, marketing-wise, but I just can’t do that. If you have any tips on how to use these platforms to connect with readers, I’d love to hear them!