Back in the distant past, when I was a teenager starting to (attempt to) write fantasy novels, I assumed that finishing a book would be the hard part. After that, I'd simply find a publisher and my work would be done.
Even setting aside the idiocy of 'simply find a publisher', it turns out I was wrong.
On the one hand, of course, there's all the work that goes into the actual book after it's written. The structural editing. The copyediting. The proofreading. I'm pretty comfortable with that side of things; it's what I do for a living, albeit from the other side. Yes, it's kind of weird to be on the receiving end of the red pen instead of wielding it, but it's still familiar.
On the other hand, there's marketing.
I'm not even talking about the day-to-day stuff that authors do to remind readers they exist – like blogging and tweeting and updating their Facebook page and writing newsletters and keeping in touch with other authors and etcetera. No, I'm referring specifically to the things that need to be done in the run-up to a new book's release. Soliciting reviews from harried bloggers who are inundated with similar requests. Planning a blog tour. Writing guest posts and answering interviews. Planning a release party.
All this has to be done alongside the editing of the first book and the writing of the next one.
As a result, I am currently overrun by spreadsheets. I have one that tells me what I need to do every week between now and mid-July (I'll probably extend that one when I get nearer the end, because I'll have Book 2 to promote at that point). I have one listing all the review sites I like that might be interested in featuring Darkhaven – and when I contacted them – and whether and how they replied. I have one listing all the bloggers I know who might be willing to host me on a blog tour (though I haven't really started working through that one yet, so be warned, fellow bloggers). I have one with a proposed schedule for my three-day release party. And so on.
If I didn't have spreadsheets, my brain would probably be dissolving round about now.
So my question to those of you who have already released a book is this: how on earth did you do it? Does all this sound familiar, or am I making things unnecessarily complicated for myself? A rather frazzled and sleep-deprived** first-time author would like to know.
* Other spreadsheet packages are available.
** Actually, that part's mostly Tiny's fault, but still.