“Man plans, God laughs.” I don’t know who originally said that, but I think it was about publishing. Being caught off guard blows, doesn’t it? WE HAVE PLANS. WE HAVE MARKETING. WE HAVE PUB DATES. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO US.
But, ya know, stuff happens. So, here are the four “disasters” I see the most, and how to handle them with your sanity relatively intact:
Your cover was revealed before your actual cover reveal. Stop. Breathe. I promise, in 99% of scenarios, no one cares. This isn’t a big deal. (If your cover is changing, okay, but even then…this is still kinda not a big deal. I have seen it happen enough times to be sure it has done nothing to ruin anything.) If you can bump up your actual cover reveal, great. If you can get that cover taken down, great. But otherwise, just move forward as planned. People are still gonna be excited by the big event, and most aren’t even gonna notice it’s on Edelweiss or Goodreads or wherever. You’re checking that stuff every day; your readers aren’t. And put yourself in reader shoes for a minute – does this affect anything for you when it happens to someone else? Have you ever actively not bought a book because you first saw the cover in a boring way? If so, let’s have a talk about how dumb you are.
I hate my cover/edits/whatever. This is hard. There isn’t always something you can do. No, wait, correction – there isn’t always something that will work. But there is always something you can do, and that’s communicate your feelings to your closest handholder. If you have an agent, tell your agent. If you don’t have an agent and are with a small press, tell your editor. There is no guarantee of having things changed, but there is a guarantee that nothing will change if you don’t ask for it.
Something somewhere has made it so that your book is not available in all places at the same time. This is really annoying; I’m not gonna lie. My launch party had to get moved to the night before my release and I was nervous I wouldn’t have books and I had to keep explaining it wasn’t my pub day to people who thought it was, and B&N for some reason had it way before Amazon, and yeah, it was annoying.
In a way, though, it actually ended up being kinda great, too. It took some of the massive amounts of pressure off The Day. Instead of June 24th being Everything, I got to be excited when I first saw my book in B&N the week before; I got to promote my launch party and the availability of signed copies at Books of Wonder on June 23rd; and then June 24th was people getting the ebook delivered, me actually having time to breathe to thank people for their congrats, and then getting to enjoy the night at a different bookish event.
So, basically, my strategy when this happens is to focus on the cool things the day they happen, and give the other stuff their days. (Basically, a multi-pronged release.) Yeah, it might require a little more work on your part to make every day of stuff feel like a relevant day, but…it really isn’t. Book is available at B&N but not Amazon? Use the B&N link in all your tweets, focus on it being at B&N, and then when it’s available at Amazon, do the same thing for “Amazon Release Day.” Etc. Etc.
Hosts bailed on my blog tour. Yeah, this happened to me, and honestly, I ended being grateful for it. I’ve said before I’m not a huge proponent of blog tours except for primarily digital books, and realizing this was an easy out of half the tour I had set up felt like someone had just given me the gift of time. If you really do want to make up the missing stops, put together a standard completely ready-to-go post and do some Twitter begging. If you’re going to be last minute, you better make it as effortless for the hosts that take pity on you as possible!
Got other disasters in mind? Had one you recovered from gracefully? Or gracelessly, even? Tell Aunt Dahlia all about ’em!