What made me think that publishing a book and having a release date went hand-in-hand? Maybe it’s all the release date announcements I’ve seen for other people’s books. Let’s not forget CDs – they have release dates. Even cell phones have release dates. Clearly, such things are out there.
I thought that having a release date would be part of the fun: a “Ta Da!” moment. Adults don’t get enough opportunities in life for Ta Da! Moments, and having just published my first book, I’d really been looking forward to mine. But, as you can probably guess, my Ta Da! moment fizzled like a damp sparkler.
Going through the publishing process has been an interesting learning experience; one with sharp curves and uphill climbs. I’ll know better what to expect next time. Like the fact that I need to adjust my definition of Release Date. I’ve learned that when you self-publish, it’s not so much a set date but more a process that happens in dribbles and drabs.
It starts when you return your final proof to the publisher. They, in turn, work their magic and a few weeks later, the book moves to the “coming soon” shelf. It’s not quite a Ta Da! moment, but it’s right up there – feels a bit like graduation. Then you cruise into wait mode. I’m told it could take up to two weeks for the book to be published and hit the “available” shelf. I’m new at this, but I figure I should take advantage of the book’s “coming soon” status to raise awareness. So, I get busy and send out e-mails and post on my blog and Facebook.
Two days later the book is published. Published is good (yippee!). The fact that I learned about it after the fact, and that it happened without ceremony, is not quite what I had imagined for my big “Ta Da!” moment. However, ego aside, it’s published, even if I’m still uncertain about the date. Now’s the time to make my big announcement, right? Well, not if that announcement is intended to send your friends and family to bookstores or the internet. It’s available, but only from the publisher at this point.
The publisher hands it over to their distributor, electronically. Once the distributor has it, they make it available to retailers. Ta Da! Not quite. Retailers take anywhere from a day to three months to upload the details to their websites and making it available in the various e-book formats takes some extra magic.
As the process unfurled, the book slowly leaked out. Amazon’s American site picked up the book in all three formats right away (yippee). Within days I had sales on Kindles in the US. It didn’t take long for Barnes and Noble to offer the hardcover and trade paperback on their website (yippee), but it’s not yet available for their Nook. The Canadian Amazon site now carries it and friends have reported successfully ordering it at independent retailers (yippee x 2). Both iTunes and the Kobo site have listed it (yippee, yippee) and I’m anxiously waiting for Chapters to pick it up (pending yippee).
So, I may not have had my big Ta Da! Release Date moment, but I’ve had a number of smaller yippee moments along the way. As I said, it’s been a learning experience and I’m learning to really appreciate the yippees.