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3 Lessons Learnt From My Release Day

It was a dark and stormy night. At the southern tip of the African continent an innocent author lay sound asleep, relishing the short reprieve from the rolling heat wave. At the stroke of midnight (in her time zone, because that's a thing) her debut romance would go out into the world. How did she know? Her bowels told her so. 

Yeah, my intestines react to any form of stress, or in this case, excitement. I've learnt to roll with it. Anyway, that's how I started my pub day. Pretty average, right? But the 19th of March turned out to be a wild ride. 

On 1 May 2023, I decided to write Pretty Average, and on 19 March 2024, Conquest Publishing opened it up to readers. I've had a steep learning curve, but the take aways from my experience on release day is what I want to share with authors. 

It's never to early to start marketing

I know everyone says this, but how do we know it's true? Well, I can attest to 'the early bird catches the worm' philosophy. I started putting myself out as a writer 10 months ago and over those few months I've figured out my style and tested what works and what doesn't.

The most important part of this journey was authentic connections.

Engaging consistently with the few followers I do have made it easier for them to support me on launch day. To put it into perspective, I was tagged in over a 100 posts on social media platforms on release day. That may not seem like a lot, but if a 100 people saw each post that's potentially 10 000 people who now know about Pretty Average. A lot more than I would have gotten on my own. A 100, true connections are worth more than a 100 000 occasional ones.

Winning over your audience 

Realistically, it takes several impressions for someone to consider buying a product. That's how books start to trend. The more people who share your cover increases your chances of readers buying your book. So, how does that help on launch day?

By the time I posted my video announcing Pretty Average was live, those who followed me knew the cover, the title, my tag line, (Pretty Average is a meet-cute office romance about finding love in an existential crisis) and were ready to celebrate with me.

Does that equal to increased sales? Not completely. We know that the buying decision is nuanced, based on numerous decisions like finances, emotions, and even location. But, I'm one step closer to convincing readers to take a chance on my book. Irrespective of whether they clicked the 'buy' button, I've helped make the decision that much easier for them.

Street teams are a thing

I honestly prepared myself for an anticlimactic release day. I know that I love my book more than anyone else, how can I expect others to be as excited as I am? I'm happy to announce that it was so much more than I expected. So many people cheered me on, engaged, created content, and posted on my behalf. To have someone take time out of their day to create a video or post (because we all know what an exhausting exercise that is) was of immense value. 

I had to make it easier for them to do though. I found a series of pictures, sounds, and words, along with the blurb and links for purchase, and sent them to anyone who showed even a hint of interest. Was it hard? Yes. Because I'm asking people for their time, and time is valuable. But, I had no expectations, and so, I was blown away. There were so many posts and comments that I can't respond to all of them. Weird, right? I feel like a cad, but I'll take that over the empty void I almost expected.

Find your tribe, ask for help, share your book.

And you know your community so you know what to expect. It's OK to put yourself out there and if you can't, look me up, I'm happy to help.

Writing can be a lonely exercise but publishing doesn't have to be. 

A romance fanatic, book worm, book hoarder, and writer, Arini Vlotman is a people’s person and a wordy nerd. She finds comfort in almost any space, but there is nothing quite like being with her husband, son, and fur babies. Where writers are her superheroes and readers are her tribe, Johannesburg, South Africa is where Arini calls home. 

One of Arini's favourite hobbies is Fangirling (is that a thing?), musicians, books, movies, and obscure characters. When Arini finds something she loves, she delves into it like Harry Potter dives into the Whomping Willow. 

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