Things I wish I’d done, and things I wish I knew before my publication date:
If I knew then what I do now I would have established a website and become familiar with blogs prior to publication. Once my novel was accepted by my publisher, there were never enough hours in the day. My time for working on Twisted Webs the sequel to Webs of Power was constantly thrown off course by the necessity to write material for the website, and learning to update it is a constant learning process.
I did establish a number of locations for on-line presence before my actual publication date, but should have stated earlier. (Linkedin; plaxo, my space, facebook, Amazon profile, classmates.com. . . )
Prior to publication it is important to become familiar with the bookstore terminology. Some of an authors most important contacts are the CRM’s (Community Relations Managers) and Store Managers in Barnes and Noble and the General Managers, Events Managers, & Merchandis Managers in Borders. There are a number of managers in each book store, many with the power to order books. Some stores have no power to order books because all of their books are ordered on a corporate level, but that is the minority.
Other important terminology: Stock Signings (the author comes in to sign copies of their books which are in stock. Book stores are less likely to return signed books) or Meet and Greet (the CRM or store managers order about 40 copies of a novel, has them on display in a prominent area of the store about a week before and after your event. A poster is displayed in the store about two weeks in advance of the event, and a table set up (usually near the entrance of the store) filled with copies of your book and a poster announcing an author signing.
Many CRM’s or Managers will make announcements about your author signing periodically while you are in the store–usually a 2 hour period. Most of us are familiar with author talks and signings. I had a fantastic book launch in my home town with more than 100 in attendance and we sold out of books. However, in our fast paced world, I have found that where I am an unknown author, the Meet and Greets are far more effective.