By Sarah Sundin
Book releases can be the most exciting times! Seeing our books released into the wild is the fulfillment of our writerly dreams. But they can also be hectic and taxing. This week my thirteenth novel, When Twilight Breaks, releases. Here are a few tips for navigating your release month with grace—tips I’ve learned the hard way.
For me, the month before and the month after the book release are jampacked. I’ve learned to avoid scheduling big events during those times. If possible, put off that floor installation, the vacation (if only we could!), and big parties (remember those?). Now if only I could stop my refrigerator from making that ominous whine…
Part of planning ahead is clearing the desk. Since I write one book a year, my deadline is the same date as my book release. That means I need to keep my writing goals so I’m not desperately trying to finish one novel in the throes of promoting another. Whenever you can, write articles and interviews months in advance (irony: I’m writing this article the day before its deadline). You’ll be glad you’ve kept your desk clear, because…
Prepare for the Unexpected
The unexpected will happen. I’m not just talking about refrigerators whining like a spaceship in a 1950s sci-fi movie. When your novel is out in the big wide world, opportunities will come. Interview, article, and podcast requests. Chances to Zoom-chat with book clubs. Speaking events (someday…). Some of these opportunities come with little notice and short deadlines.
So make space on your calendar and in your life to respond to these.
That said, weigh each opportunity carefully. My debut novel released in 2010 at the height of book blogging. Because my name was unknown, I took every single interview and article request I received—and I’m glad I did. Over the years, I’ve become more selective. Will the hour or two I spend on this have a return—reaching new readers, feeding current readers, or blessing an upcoming blogger/podcaster?
When Twilight Breaks is releasing as podcasts are blossoming. Since I have only a few online speaking events scheduled this year (thank you, COVID), I’ve taken every podcast request I’ve received.
Let Things Go
Because time in your release month is tight, be willing to let things go. Some things will be tasks you don’t like (housework, anyone?). Some will be things you do like (Facebook or Instagram playtime?). Give yourself permission to let some things slide for a short time.
Be Kind to Yourself
We can’t do it all. We just can’t. This is the month to order takeout without guilt—and bless a struggling restaurant owner. This is the month to mobilize family members to help out—yes, they can learn. This is the month to hit “like” on social media comments instead of responding to each one.
Take Care of Yourself
But…do take care of yourself. Often, the things we let slide are the things we need most—exercise, healthy eating, sleep, family time, and—dare I say it?—our quiet time with the Lord. Make these priorities unmovable parts of your schedule. If for no other reason, these things paradoxically make you more productive!
For example, my daily speed-walk with our energetic young dog clears my brain, recharges my creativity, lowers my stress, and improves my mood. Whatever time I’ve “lost” on that walk is earned back twofold afterward.
With a bit of planning and patience, you can navigate your book release with grace! Now, please excuse me while I have a little chat with the alien in my refrigerator.Book release months can be hectic! @sarahsundin shares 6 tips to help you navigate your book release month with grace. #ACFWBlogs #writetip #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of World War II novels, including When Twilight Breaks .Her novel The Sky Above Us received the 2020 Carol Award, and The Land Beneath Us was a 2020 Christy Award finalist. A mother of three adult children, Sarah lives in northern California. www.sarahsundin.com.