Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Guest Post by Lisa Alber

Launch Day! Or, You Mean I’m NOT the Center of the Universe?

A guest post by Lisa Alber, author of KILMOON, A County Clare Mystery

Thank you Tess Gerritsen and Joe Konrath. My mom is suffering as I write this.


Today is Tuesday, the traditional day for book releases. I’m an excitable debut author, and today’s my day. Get out the balloons! It’s all about me! See my book cover over thereà

See, see? That’s my baby. Isn’t it about the best-looking book baby you’ve ever seen? (See bottom of this post for a description.)

Cue in: Fly buzzing and bouncing off my office window. The sound of anticlimax.

I’ve spent so many months preparing for this day that I almost forgot I was a writer rather than a social media wizard or a marketing guru. I became addicted to checking my blog stats and my Facebook likes, and to brainstorming cool and innovative promotional activities (none of which I implemented). I was trying to build my platform and increase my “discoverability” in preparation for today. Twitter parties, blog hops, and QR codes. I learned so many new terms I thought my head was going to topple off my neck.

The truth is, in many ways I’m an indie author semi-stuck in a traditional mindset. I blame my beginnings as a fictionista in New York City. I worked at a couple of the Big Boy houses, and I loved it. The behind-the-scenes glamour lived on within me even after I fled the big city back to my native west coast. I viewed getting my novel published through a nostalgic haze. I imagined myself walking the halls proud as Jackie O. in her senior editor days. I imagined being feted and courted … Or, at the very least I imagined a dedicated publicist. I wanted those preorders, and I wanted the big build-up to launch day!

The notion of a launch day meant something to me. Only, it didn’t matter so much to Amazon. My ebooks were available ahead of my official launch date. Also, having preorder status mattered to me. Preorder status goes with launch day. It’s the chocolate to the peanut butter, or the peanut butter to the chocolate. Together, they make a delicious whole. Unfortunately, in the indie world preorders can be hard to come by.

Now my debut novel is officially out there, and you know what? I’m still staring out the window, the fly is still buzzing. I’m sitting here thinking, I’m not sure how much preorders and official launch dates matter except to appear legitimate. But legimate to who? My fellow writers? Most readers don’t care. Why did I spend so much precious brain energy fretting about it all? I can only control what I can control.

I count myself lucky to be with an indie press. I’m not feeling the pressure to makes my numbers within six weeks. In the indie world a launch date is floating and flexible. At any time I can re-activate my promotional efforts to grow an audience over time.

So in the end, on this, my launch day, I’m feeling rather liberated. Foremost in my mind:

1. Keep writing. For frick’s sake set some boundaries on my crazy online efforts.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t know how many hours I wasted trying to “get” Google+. Forgettaboutit.

3. Be myself, not a wizard or a guru. On Facebook, I still receive more comments for my funny pet photos and absurd observations than for Kilmoon news. People, and potential readers, want to know about me as a person not a capital-a author.

4. No one really cares about my book launch except me. I’m not the center of the universe today. If you happen to buy my book based on meeting me here today, I’ll be thrilled (oh yes I will, and I’ll send you a thank you note if you let me know you did buy Kilmoon), but I’ll also be surprised.

5. Even my family forgot today was my launch day. Of course, I forgive my mom. In fact, my mom is my best fan because every time I bring up my novel she gets excited all over again, bless her supportive but forgetful self.

P.S. At the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention last September I got my guts in order and introduced myself to Tess Gerritsen. She was so gracious as I told her about my mom and extended my appreciation for her charitable efforts. Talk about a fangirl moment!

About Kilmoon

Merrit Chase travels to Ireland to meet her father, a celebrated matchmaker, in hopes that she can mend her troubled past. Instead, her arrival triggers a rising tide of violence, and Merrit finds herself both suspect and victim, accomplice and pawn, in a manipulative game that began thirty years previously. When she discovers that the matchmaker’s treacherous past is at the heart of the chaos, she must decide how far she will go to save him from himself—and to get what she wants, a family.

Lisa evokes a world in which ancient tradition collides with modern village life and ageless motivators such as greed and love still wield their power. Kilmoon captures the moodiness of the Irish landscape in a character-driven mystery that explores family secrets, betrayal, and vengeance.

“Brooding, gothic overtones haunt Lisa Alber’s polished, atmospheric debut. Romance, mysticism, and the verdant Irish countryside all contribute to making KILMOON a marvelous, suspenseful read.” —Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Through the Evil Days

“This first in Alber’s new County Clare Mystery series is utterly poetic … The author’s prose and lush descriptions of the Irish countryside nicely complement this dark, broody and very intricate mystery.” —RT Book Reviews (four stars)

“In her moody debut, Alber skillfully uses many shades of gray to draw complex characters who discover how cruel love can be.” —Kirkus Reviews

About Lisa

Lisa Alber received an Elizabeth George Foundation writing grant based on Kilmoon. In addition, Ms. George asked Lisa to write a short story for Two of the Deadliest: New Tales of Lust, Greed, and Murder from Outstanding Women of Mystery (HarperCollins). She featured Lisa’s story in an “Introducing…” section for up-and-coming novelists.

Lisa is currently trying to find time within her busy social media schedule to finish her second in the County Clare mystery series, Grey Man. Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, dog walking, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging round out her distractions. Lisa lives in the Pacific Northwest. Kilmoon is her first novel.

You can find Lisa at: website | Facebook | Twitter | blog


Chris Redding said...

Congratulations and I think you should think of yourself as the center of the universe even for only one day.
As for Tess Gerritsen, she spoke years ago at a conference I was at. She attended the same workshop after lunch as I did. No one would see near her as if she smelled or something. It was kind off funny. So of course I sat next to her and had a lovely conversation. She's a great lady.

Michelle Constantinescu said...

Congratulations, Lisa! I'm having a launch day too, and I know exactly how you feel. It's always surprisingly anticlimactic for me. If I don't have another project ready to work on, I slide into a post-pub slump. I agree, all the social media stuff is tiring and not very effective. I have 20K twitter followers, blogs with sizable readerships, Facebook pages, Pinterest... none of those generate book sales like writing another book does. So off I go to the next! Congratulations to you! Going to check out your book now. (My next is a mystery, too - my first!)

Timothy S. Villa aka TGCVersion3Point0 said...

Congratulations and good job making it to this achievement of the highest order. It doesn't sound like something for me, but it does sound like a nice gift for my wife and something I think she'd enjoy. Best of the best on this, YOUR day!

Lisa Alber said...

Hi Chris, I agree, Tess was super nice and gracious when I introduced myself to her. I'm going to take your advice: I AM the center of the universe (today)! :-)

Diane, I'm so glad you said that. I need to crackin' on revisions for my next one in the series. Lately I've heard some pals talking about the WIBBOW rule: Would I be better off writing? That's the question I gotta start asking myself.

Timothy, thanks! I promised thank-you notes to anyone who buys based on this post, so let me know, and I will follow through on my promise. :-) (But of course no worries.)

Lisa Grace said...

Congratulations, Lisa. Keep living your dream and enjoy the journey.

w. adam mandelbaum esq. said...

As the Irish say, MAZEL TOV! Hope you sell a million of them.

Hector T said...

Congrats on your book, based on your post and the energy of your post I bought the book on your post alone, I will look forward to reading it tonight on my kindle

Hector T said...

Hi Lisa Alber, I have a question do you have any tips for new writers in terms of story development and flow or whats the best way to approach writing, did you write your book as you came up with the ideas or did you go through the process of outlining it before the book was written. Like I said in previous comment i look forward to reading your book tonight based on excerpt alone im looking forward to reading my kindle version of your book.

Unknown said...

Congrats, Lisa. Been a long road traveled since starting in 2002. Thanks for sharing your sincere thoughts about the time synch called "writers platform". Your website and Facebook both look good to me. It helps the reader know you better as a person and want to support you when you deliver a great story. Hard to track sales directly to what influenced the reader most. Looks like you've bridged the Trad/Indie worlds, ending up in the right place. Your 5 points are sobering reminders for all of us to focus on writers reality, especially keep writing.

Love your pictures of little Luna. Best of Luck...

Alexander Mori said...

Congratulations, Lisa! Totally dig the cover!

I really appreciate your grounded approach to the fantastic notion of LAUNCH DAY. My first launch day is approaching and I am fighting the urge to buy a bottle of the most expensive scotch I can find. I want it to be an important day, yet I must remember it is just another step in the journey of a writer. Good luck!

PS. Not only will I check your book out, I will pass it along to a couple of friends who LOVE LOVE LOVE your brand of fiction.

Anonymous said...

Gate Keepers, their infinite wisdom, and sacred rejection letters:


Thank God we have them to save us from all of the mindless drivel. Sarcasm off.

Lisa Alber said...

Lisa, thanks! Enjoying the journey is indeed key. Sometimes I forget. :-)

W. Adam, I love a resounding MAZEL TOV. Thanks!

Thank you, Hector! Listen, why don't you contact me through my website. I promised thank-you notes. :-) But also so I can answer you question.

Jeff, thanks for the kind words! I've done the best I can with "platform," but there's always improvements to be made. (I can think of three things I need to do for my website!) Sweet, wee Luna ... :-)

Thanks so much for passing the word along about KILMOON, Alexander! And congrats on your launch! I was told way back in September to enjoy this time because we only have one first novel.

Anonymous, yep, rejection. Alas, comes with the territory.

Anonymous said...

I notice you received a Kirkus review... how did you submit (I think I remember it can be done thru createspace) and do you think they pay off, in the end?


Todd Travis...

Diana Stevan said...

Congratulations, Lisa. All those steps to getting your work out, such an accomplishment. From what you've said, sounds like there's a bit of postpartum blues, which is natural when you give birth to a novel. There's been more than a nine month gestation period. Your book sounds compelling. Wishing you all the best.

Lisa Alber said...

Hi anonymous, the press sent an ARC to Kirkus -- typical procedure, I think. (I was lucky enough to have ARCs.)

Thanks, Diana! I hadn't thought about it that way--but yes, postpartum is a great analogy!

Michelle Constantinescu said...

Lisa, I love the WIBBOW rule! Never heard that one before. I think I'll write that on a sticky and put it on my desk. Or my forehead. Or whatever.

Jacqueline Howett said...

Congratulations, Lisa! May the luck of the Irish be with you! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lisa, re the Kirkus review...

the press? I thought it was a self published book, however... did you have a press agent, or... how did that happen?

and did it help, having that review?

Thanks... I am signing this...

Todd Travis

Lisa Alber said...

Hi Todd, there are so many small presses out there and many of them you can deal with directly, without an agent. I did have agents (notice the plural--had some bad luck), but then got impatient with the whole agent-hunting process ... Did the Kirkus Review help? Who knows? It certainly looks good on promotional materials though. Fellow writers seem to me more impressed with it than anyone else ...

Merrill Heath said...

Lisa, I share your fondness for Ireland. My niece lives there and I finally got over to visit last fall and absolutely loved. I have plans to return next year to work on a murder mystery set there.

Best of luck with your writing.

mark simon said...

Its just taking the byfar superb story I've read! super cool concept and beliefe.


Mark Simon