Posts tagged with: writing business

How to Prepare for a Book Release

Hello Ruby Readers! Hope you had a fantastic holiday weekend if you were lucky enough to have Monday off. Even though I went to the beach with friends and family, my mind was ticking away on all the promotion details I need to remember for my upcoming book release.

The first book in my new Highland Roses School series, A ROSE IN THE HIGHLANDS, comes out September 24th! I’m so excited about this new series. It deals with women empowerment in a time when women were often abused and/or treated like powerless chattel. But at the Highland Roses School, English sisters, Evelyn and Scarlet Worthington, are determined to teach their students how to stay educated, elegant and alive.

In preparing for this release, I have a list of promotional should-dos. Every author develops a list of actions to be ticked off the closer their release date comes. Today I am sharing my list with you. Feel free to use it yourself, adding and subtracting from it as pertains to your book release.

Book Release Should-Do List

    1. Decide on your budget for promotional ads, free copies of the book, materials, and swag.
    2. Create publicity graphics for FB, Twitter and Instagram (I use Canva, a free, online graphics generator). My publicity team at Entangled Publishing sends me graphics of the book and background with and without text. Then I can post their graphics and create some of my own by putting in teaser quotes.
    3. Order post cards with the cover on one side and a brief blurb on the other with room for addresses. I will mail these out 2 weeks before release to my paper mailing list.
    4. Order swag for prizes that have something to do with your book. Ideally, the swag should be something a reader can use everyday and has your book and name on it (post it notes, calendar magnets, pens, mouse pad, playing cards). But I’ve also ordered sgian dubh (black daggers) letter openers and tea cups and rose-scented soaps that have to do with my book.
    5. Order print copies of the book as soon as it is available. Luckily my publisher has made them available to me so that I will have paper copies on hand for release day. Don’t use them as prizes at first as it may stop someone from buying the book, but it is nice to have one to hold up to show.
    6. Consider Reader Events around the time of your release. I’m attending Shameless Book Con in Orlando in October. 

      Shameless Book Con

    7. Sign up for local author events. I’m attending a book festival in the town next to mine and I participated last month in a library author event where I talked about my upcoming book.
    8. Keep your eyes open for free advertising places through other authors and networking sites. You can list the book on Book Bub for free.
    9. Submit ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) to those who have reviewed your books before or online reviewers.
    10. Make sure you have an Amazon author account. Add the new book and any reviews you’ve already received.
    11. If you use Pinterest, make sure to clean up your board for the new book. I keep mine “secret” until after the release. To keep generating enthusiasm, open the secret Pinterest board so readers can glimpse what inspired the story.
    12. Contact other authors in your sub-genre about swapping new book information in your newsletters. Write and schedule a newsletter for release day.
    13. Be active on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), but make sure not to bombard with promo pitches. Just be yourself and talk about life most of the time. Leave the big promo pitch for release day.
    14. Sign up to blog around release day so your name, face and book are out there.
    15. Ask your local libraries to order your new book. My library has a form online to request this.
    16. Make sure your web site is up to date.
    17. Post a countdown widget on your web site. Luckily, my publicity team creates this for me, and I just insert it.

18. Set up a Facebook party for release day. I’m planning to host (for the first time) a FB tea party and will live stream a segment on the day.
19. Have fun on the big day and capture it in pictures or live streaming. On my last release day, I wore a tiara while doing errands around town and took pictures with local people. I think I might do the same this time, but I’ll also ask them to hold my book. And then I’ll live stream my tea party.

Whew! No wonder I’m tired! And I still have so much to do on this list. So, what have I missed? Please add your advice and tips. Have a wonderful, mark-everything-off-your-to-do-list kind of day! Heather


For more information about Heather, please find her here:




Virtually every day in the WWF chatroom a writer kicks the cyber garbage can as they exit the room.  Why? Because they need to stop working on their WIP and head to the job that pays their bills. I empathize with them, because for more than a decade I felt the same exact way. I hated stopping in mid-page and heading out the door.

I know when I started out that I had this vision of spending my days staying home, working at my passion. I’d be there to greet the kids when they arrived home from school. The odor of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies would fill the air, and blue birds would sing from my window sill. I worked every free second I had learning craft and getting the stories out of my head onto the page in order to make my dream come true.  I was stressed a lot. That dream, and the stress it caused, didn’t go away easily. In fact, I still feel it clinging on in the back of my mind.

The reality of it is, while writing is our passion, writing for publication in order to make your babies your main source of income is damn hard work. That hasn’t changed since the beginning of time. The term ‘Starving artist’ doesn’t just refer to painters, sculptors and musicians.

While I hosted my dream, I met other writers who I deemed successful and thought lived my fantasy. I learned later that they worked other jobs, and they still do.  I would’ve saved myself a lot of stress, which, if you haven’t heard, is harmful to your health, if I had listened closer to them.  This business is tough, and even if you have a great talent, getting discovered by readers gets harder every single day.  It was that way a decade ago, and it remains a fact today.

I didn’t write this blog to discourage anyone. In fact, I hope to encourage you, and to help you relieve the stress you might feel.  Anyone could be writing the next big seller. Anyone! A first-time published author or someone who has written fifty books. So please continue putting your hearts into your work.

Enjoy your second job. Second job, meaning the one that pays the bills. It provides friends as well as financial security. (Less stress.) It also allows you to interact with other people. Story ideas come from our interactions with others. Our characters become real because we listen (dialogue) and watch (body language) others. We place our readers in convincing settings because we’ve actually felt the sun or rain on our faces.

Don’t worry what other writers are doing. Do what is right for you and your family. So it takes you longer to write a book. Your book could be the next big thing and for years you could live off the royalties until…  The world embraces the next great thing.

Stop kicking the cyber garbage can and enjoy your passions.

BTW, this author, after years working as a corporate secretary and raising four children while writing her first seven published works, stills works part-time and spends most of her wages on her grandchildren.   

Let’s Live Stream on FB!

“Lights, camera, action!”

Not the words you like to hear thrown at you? I definitely fall in that category. But I was asked to live stream a video at a Facebook party, and I took on the challenge. Low and behold, it was actually fun!

Today, readers want to know more and more about their favorite authors. Gone are the days when we could just hide away and write. Social media has blown the doors wide open, and the public wants to talk with us.

So, I’m going to show you how simple it is to do a live stream on Facebook. I was very nervous, but it really was just like having a conversation with the people commenting. Here is a tea party for Reader Appreciation Day that I live streamed a couple weeks ago (It’s long so don’t feel like you must watch it all! LOL!). I ended up with two-hundred views and met several new readers.

Reader Appreciation Tea Party

Posted by Heather McCollum on Thursday, October 26, 2017

Here’s how FB live streaming works:

  1. Think ahead of time about what you want to say to and show your viewers. Know your time limit, and if you have a tendency to talk on and on, set up a timer to keep you on track. Practicing what you will say, and timing it, is always a good idea.
  2. Decide where you will be filming. Check out what is in the background. I filmed at my desk once and on my back porch once. I made sure that the area was tidy and free of distractions. You will be filming with your cell phone, so check out how you will set up the phone to record and what is in the frame.
  3. Write up a little introduction, which you can post right before you go live in a different post. Let people know that you are about to go live in your next post, but if they miss the live version, they can always watch the recording.
  4. Have your computer available to watch the responses pop up in the comment section under the live stream post. I set up my lap top to the side and my phone directly in front of me.
  5. Turn on your Facebook app on your cell phone, and go to the FB page where you wish to post the live stream.
  6. Click on Write Something, and a box will come up. Either post your intro here and then do it again to post the live stream, or just jump right into the live stream after your intro in this same post.
  7. Click the little red camera for Live Video. Don’t worry, you aren’t recording yet. You will see that you are filming in the direction away from you, so if you want to record yourself while watching yourself, you need to redirect the camera to film a “selfie”. Keep in mind, that if you hold up your book while filming as a selfie, the words will appear backwards on the recording. But you can always post the cover in a comment after the recording.
  8. When you are ready, hit the blue “Go Live” button and say hello to your readers.
  9. Make sure to check your computer periodically to answer comments and questions from your viewers. There is a small delay in the recording from real time, and sometimes the questions/comments get hung up in FB. Just let the viewers know that you’ll answer questions after you’re done talking if this happens. Don’t let a glitch stop you from saying what you had planned.
  10. When you are finished talking, remember to stop the recording. It will automatically set up as a recording on Facebook.
  11. Then go down the list of comments, and answer the ones you did not answer while talking.

I’ve also recently recorded a video (not live stream) on my phone as part of a promotion on my publisher’s FB page to celebrate the release of my new Highlander book, THE DEVIL OF DUNAKIN CASTLE (releasing 11/13/17!). It will be posted tomorrow on the Entangled Tea Time Takeover:

My ten-minute segment will likely be posted around 3:30 PM ET tomorrow, but the fun starts at noon.

Recording ahead of time makes it possible to record over and over to get it just right. However, that takes a lot of time. Also, the final recording needs to be uploaded into Movie Maker or an equivalent application. When my husband did this, the recording ended up being too large to e-mail to my publicist, so we uploaded it to Google Drive. I then sent her a link to the video in an e-mail, so she could retrieve it and upload it on Facebook at the planned time.

So even though this seemed to be a “safer” route, and my publicist liked to have the recordings uploaded ahead of time, it seemed more difficult than the live streaming (for me, anyway).

Have you dabbled in live streaming? Do you post recordings regularly? What type of recordings do you like to watch online?


Release Craziness! A List of Book Release Steps

Hello, everyone! I have a book coming out next week. Yay! And I’ve been busy <pant, pant, hands on knees>, very busy trying to get everything in order for the big day.

First of all, for those of you who do all the release work on your own because you’re self-publishing – I don’t know how you do it! There’s a huge amount to be done. I’m definitely not a marketer or publicist, but luckily, I have a publicist and marketing team at Entangled Publishing who help me. Still, there’s a ton that I need to give them. Below is a quick breakdown of the tasks that we have done to prepare for my release.

Two months or more prior to release:

Brainstorm: I brainstormed about ways to promote my upcoming release and talked to my publicist. I also started thinking about the type of gifts I could give away, which had something to do with my Scottish historical (gift wrapped Highlander, anyone?!).

Cover quote: I asked a fellow author, who writes Scottish historical romance, if she could please read my ARC and give me a quote for my cover. She said yes! Once I obtained the quote (which was wonderful!), I sent it on to my publicist and cover coordinator (I don’t think that’s his title, but he takes care of all the details).


A month prior to release:

Pre-Orders – My publicist set up pre-orders for my book on the major book sites. We added any Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) reviews obtained. I sent out ARCs to people who have loved my books and will give me a review.

Cover Reveal – I lured in possible new newsletter subscribers by saying on social media that I would be revealing my cover in my newsletter (with links to sign up). A couple days later, I sent out the newsletter. Two days later I revealed the cover on social media.

Releasing August 14th! Only 99 cents right now!

Little Pep Talk – I struggle with telling people about my upcoming releases and covers, etc. Why would they want to go to the trouble to join my newsletter just to see my new cover? Well, some do! Act like everyone wants to be the first to see it. I do this because my publicist tells me to, and she knows what she’s doing. Ok – back to the list.

Create Bookmarks or Postcards – I used Canva to create a bookmark and uploaded the file to Print Runner. I ordered 200 bookmarks (color on both sides, 2X7 inches) for $48.

Create FB/Twitter Posts – I used Canva to create some posts about my upcoming release with either a short excerpt, a review, or a blurb. Make it eye catching with your cover. Start working the posts into your regular FB/Twitter posts. Don’t bombard everyone constantly, and make sure to continue your other posts of cute kittens or snarky memes. Make sure to put the link to the pre-sale page in the post (not in the Canva picture).

Created in Canva to advertise the sale of Bk #1

Blog Posts – My publicist and marketing team asked me to write some blog posts for the Entangled Publishing blog and the USA Today Happily Ever After blog. I also wrote some guest posts on other book review sites (on top of writing my normal blog posts for this fabulous Ruby blog). I think I’ve written six so far with two more to go, plus any others they ask me to do. I always say yes even though they take time. I’ve learned to just start writing, and they usually roll on out (whew – it’s a good think I like writing!).

Street Team – I started a street team called the Highland Roses (watch out, we’re lovely but have sharp thorns!). I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, and my publicist gave me the little shove I needed. I only have a few Roses signed up at present, but I plan to grow it. I started by finding graphics to represent the team, formed a closed FB group, created a google questionnaire for perspective Roses, and asked a couple very supportive readers if they’d like to join.

Book Bub Ad – My publicity team made the first book in my series 99 cents and submitted the deal to Book Bub for a Feature Ad. Praise the Heavens, it was accepted! The ad just ran, a week before the third in the series comes out. I’m hoping that the push of book #1, with the sale and ad, will trickle down to book #2 and the new book. I also made sure that my upcoming release was listed under my name on Book Bub. Anyone can start an author account on Book Bub for free. If people follow you there, they will get a notice of your new release.


Two Weeks Prior to Release:

To Build More Excitement – My publicist sent me a countdown widget, and my web designer added it to the front page of my web site. Wonderful publicist also sent me Teaser Tuesday social media designs for me to post, but I also made some in Canva.

Newsletters – I sent one out for my cover reveal, but I will also send one out announcing a contest to celebrate the release. I might make it only for newsletter subscribers because I’m trying to lure more in (so I’ll send out the announcement about the newsletter contest on social media two days before). I will also send out a newsletter on release day with the blurb, buy links and some 4 & 5 star reviews in it. (If you’d like to join my newsletter, just sign up on my web site landing page) –

Reach Out – I contacted another author (I should do a couple more) who writes in a similar sub-genre, and we are going to feature each other in our newsletters and give each other books to use in a giveaway.

One week prior:

Postcards – I didn’t order postcards this time, but if you do, you’d want to mail them now to your snail mail list.

Release Day FB Ad – I might put together a FB ad with Canva to send out on release day. I haven’t decided yet, because I haven’t seen any return on my FB investment. However, I don’t spend very much to begin with.

Release Day Graphics & Social Media Posts – I will create some teaser graphics in Canva to use on and around release day with tags like #newrelease #historical #romance. I’ve read that people are more interested Twitter and FB posts about a book if the type of book is listed. Ex. Do u love Tudor Period romance w/ Highlanders & feisty heroines? Just released! (with a link and picture of your book cover). I don’t usually waste space on the title if the cover is right there. Then there is more room for tags and teaser quotes or short reviews.

Day of Release:

Celebrate – Send out celebration notices and giveaway opportunities. I use rafflecopter to set up some giveaways. Since my upcoming release is the third book in a series, I will give away the first two books to a lucky winner, along with some Highlander swag. Keep in mind that sending swag through US mail can be expensive. If you are just mailing a book, then it can go “media mail” – much cheaper. Sometimes it is better to mail the book separate and then mail the gifts.

Respond – Be ready to respond to all your posts about your release. Readers want to connect with you. Be peppy, happy, and thankful for the support.

Go Clean Your House – I mean go enjoy a bottle of wine while having your feet rubbed and a facial because we writers live such a glamorous life <snort>. Really, though, I know my house is a mess when my writing world is crazy, but we should all remember to celebrate the beautiful birth of our books. Go out to dinner, eat cake, or watch a movie. The toilets can wait until tomorrow, and then you can start writing the next book!

There are lots of ways to launch a book. What other steps could I take to make my release a success? I’m sure I’ve missed some!

For more information about me, here are all the places you can find me.


Face book:










The Latest Comments

  • Janet Dean: I’ve missed you and the conference. Especially our dress up photos!! You rock the look! Hugs, Janet
  • Anna Collins: Hi Lisa, Yes, that is for sure true about me! It’s definitely a dream of mine to see my books at...
  • Lisa Heartman: Anna, I cannot wait to read this book! It sounds so fresh, and I’m sure there are some real hard...
  • Anna Collins: Right?!? Outlining definitely has its moments, but I need some freedom for creativity to flow! I wish...
  • Anna Collins: Right?!? Outlining definitely has its moments, but I need some freedom for creativity to flow! I wish...