Today was a release day. Yay? It should be a celebration, but oh my, what an eye-opening experience it has been. It’s not even the first title I’ve released this fall. It’s the second title, although this one is the first of the reverted titles from Carina Press.
I can’t even begin to list how much has changed in the six years since I walked away from the publishing world. I feel like I’m back to being a babe in the woods, a newbie author all over again, shouting into the wind, hoping someone will hear about my book and be interested in it.
Things that I used to rely on when I had a release day are no longer available. Like my carefully curated mailing list which had taken me almost a decade to build. Gone. Because I’d reached a certain limit, the mailing list provider I’d used was suddenly going to charge me $50 a month. Which I couldn’t afford, especially when I wasn’t publishing anymore. When I tried to transfer the names to a new provider they told me the addresses in my list were too old and wouldn’t accept them, so I’m back to rebuilding it. Except this time I don’t have a publisher helping to promote my books. It’s just little old me. Which is my choice, so I can’t complain too much because hey, I have control of my books again, but still, yikes.
The week before my first title republished last month, I went through several rounds with a major book publisher named after a large river who didn’t believe my books were actually my books and were threatening to pull my account. The back and forth between us went on for nearly a month. It wasn’t enough for me to provide a letter from the original publisher that the rights had indeed reverted. I sent a copy of the duly registered copyright from the Canadian government’s Library and Archives (think the Canadian version of the Library of Congress.) That wasn’t good enough, so I went back to the Library and Archives and got another letter that I had indeed purchased the ISBN for my book, and it was registered under not only my real name, but my pen name AND my imprint name. I also ended up providing another form, this one from the Ontario government, proving that yes, I was indeed the owner of the imprint line I publish under. Ultimately, and this was the one that got my goat, I had to provide a contract between “me as my real name” and “me as my pen name” giving myself permission to publish my own books. That’s how bizarre it got.
In amongst all that stress, I have realized my bullet journals are becoming increasingly important to track all this. I also really need to them so I can keep track of all the tasks I have to do. I have numerous checklists of things that have to be done months in advance of a release, and especially today, release day itself, I need to know all the things that have be done, like making sure the website is updated, that I’ve posted to all the various social media sites, that I’m using the “now available” graphics I’ve created instead of the “Preorder” or “Coming Soon” graphics.
Then there’s writing the endless marketing copy I need to create for each title. (I really despise this side of publishing, and it’s one of the good things — sort of–about having an actual publisher–to be able to rely on someone else to do all this. I know I’m a writer but marketing is a whole different animal.)
So I’m now scouring Etsy and various Facebook journaling groups for suggestions about stickers and printable pages to help me stay organized, and so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Because I’m definitely not the only one facing these journaling battles.
Oh and if you’re interested, and like to read really steamy romances, today’s book is All I Need for Christmas. About a Canadian Mountie determined to get her man and end her days of solitude in the Great White North. But be warned. It’s really really steamy and not one to read to the kiddies.