If anyone out there finds themselves in the same boat as me, you’re furiously paddling upstream and praying you find the answers to successfully releasing your debut novel. Hell, you might have already released a book or two, and still feel as though you’re drowning in a sea of new releases. You may be wondering how in the world you’re suppose to get your new release noticed among all the noise and flash being released daily. I won’t even give the number of new books released every day because it’s way too overwhelming to think about! I don’t even have release dates yet for my two romance novels hopefully coming out next year, and I’m already devouring as much information as I can from podcasts, blogs, and my extremely patient agent who answers all of the marketing questions keep hurling at her.
But for me, the most valuable resource I have are all the amazing authors who have come before me. One of those awesome authors is my talented critique partner who just released her debut novel, Abducted, two weeks ago. Samantha Keith writes super sexy, super suspenseful romance novels that leave the reader breathless and on the edge of their seat. Since I have been lucky enough to read all of her books, I feel as though I am especially able to judge this. Since she is such a brilliant writer and is killing her debut release, I asked her to answer a few questions to help me, and hopefully you, have a successful debut.
DMH: How long did it take to get Abducted to Publication from start to finish? How many rounds of edits? How did you push through until you had the best possible book ready to release?
SK: I don’t think I can count the amount of edits I did on Abducted… but in the end, rewriting it from scratch is what it needed. I think once I made that decision to rewrite, it was somewhat freeing. I was able to use the characters I loved and reinvent the plot. After stepping back from it for a year, I could really see all of the originals pitfalls and smooth out those issues in the new and improved version.
DMH: What did you do to prepare for your release? What do you think was the most successful and what would you do differently?
SK: I did a lot of Facebook page promotions in the weeks prior and built up my followers. Then did an introductory video of myself—which was as awkward as it sounds—but I found it got WAY more interaction than a regular post. I also did a couple of giveaways that got a lot of response. What would I do differently? Have pre-made posts and ads. I never imagined my release day would be as busy as it was, so in hindsight, I wish I had taken even more off my plate beforehand.
DMH: A lot of successful authors say this business is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. That being said, how do you approach staying motivated for the long haul? How do you keep writing and working with the craziness of life, as well as a new release to focus on and more books scheduled to come out soon?
SK: That’s where my dear sister-from-another-mister comes in! (That’s me, by the way! Her CP Soul Mate!) Having kids was another major life event that affected my writing. I love being a mom more than anything… almost too much, because it slowed down my desire to write. But reading Danielle’s work keeps me active and creative. She helped spark my love for writing again, and I can’t thank her enough for that.
DMH: What was the most exciting thing that happened when Abducted released? What’s the one moment you’ll always remember?
SK: Abducted was ranked the #1 bestseller in Action and Adventure Romance!! It held that position for two days before it began to slip. I never, ever, would have thought that would happen with my first debut novel. To say I was thrilled would be understatement!
DMH: What advice can you give to aspiring authors who are in the query trenches? What helped you when you were trying to get published? How did you work at improving your writing?
SK: Read. Read the newest bestsellers in your genre and learn from the best. If you have a somewhat common trope or premise, put a twist on it. You need to make your work standout from all the others with similar ideas. Also, find a critique partner that you click with. You need someone who is as enthusiastic about your work as you are, reliable and can balance out your weaknesses. Also, get out there! Go to conferences, take webinars, enter contests, etc. Challenging yourself on all levels—especially your comfort zone—is the only way you will grow.
DMH: Now tell us about your Dangerous Distractions series! When will the next books in the series, Bait and Exposed be released?
SK: Bait will be released November 20th 2018 and Exposed will be released February 19th 2019! I’m a little sad to let these characters go. They’ve all been so close to my heart for so long—it’s hard to believe their stories are now complete and ready to be read!
I hope some of what Samantha shared is as helpful to you as it was to me! I’m already taking her advice about getting those ads ready to go! Does anyone else have a advice on having a successful book release, either for your very first book baby or your tenth? I’d love you to leave them in the comments!
And a big thank to Samantha Keith for letting me pick her brain! I strongly encourage anyone who loves Romantic Suspense as I much as I do to pick up their copy of Abducted today!
If you enjoyed this post, I’d love for you to check out How to find a kick-ass critique partner