Author Eric D. Goodman blogs about what happens after release day and how exhaustion is a good thing.
My debut novel in stories, Tracks, was published by Atticus Books on June 30 of this year. The release date was a whirlwind, so much going on that it left my head spinning. But that doesn’t mean I’m standing still now, a season later. If you want to promote your book effectively, and if others are helping to promote it too, it doesn’t end with release day.
Tracks Day was a real ego boost for me, as an author who has been writing for decades and who has finally seen his novel vetted by a literary agent in New York City and published by an independent publisher. There was a flurry of activity on Tracks Day, which you can read about in my earlier post, “Tracks Day: An Author Shares His Release Day Experience.” Some of the highlights included more than a hundred notes of congratulation and posts of announcement from friends and other authors, by email, on Facebook and Twitter, etc. I received the gift of an orchid, named Prewitt after one of my characters (who is still alive and blooming, more than can be said for the other Prewitt). And a congratulatory postcard from the great Jonathan Franzen.
It hasn’t been as concentrated since the release date of Tracks, but the activity continues. Here are some of the highlights from beyond the release …
A few days after the release of Tracks, I received a message from Thomas Steinbeck. “Eric … it is such a terrific collection of stories, that had I not been so caught up in my own deadlines, I would have certainly written something for the book. Catch me on the next one. There should certainly be a next one. You are a terrific writer. I only wish I had been more timely. Please use anything you need for your tour and your publicity. Though you may be new you are an exciting talent.”
What a wonderful note, this coming from someone who knows a hell of a lot about good writing. Not only is he the son of the great John Steinbeck, but he’s a popular author in his own right with such books as Down to a Soundless Sea and In the Shadow of the Cypress. (His newest book, published just four months after Tracks, is The Silver Lotus.) Mr. Steinbeck went on to give me a more official endorsement for public use even though the book had already been published:
“Short stories are often an under-appreciated art form. In “Tracks”, Eric Goodman takes the craft to the level of art.”
Although this was the most thorough and thrilling celebrity author endorsement I received after the release of Tracks, I did receive congratulations and moral support in the form of notes and emails from several others, including Jennifer Egan, T.C. Boyle, Junot Diaz, Adam Haslett, Joan Silber, Stephen O’Connor, Jennifer Weiner, John Berent, Susi Wyss, and Jacquelyn Mitchard to name a few.
I have to say that, for me, even more thrilling than a book sale is a note of support and encouragement from an author I admire. I feel like I’m rich in that department.
The reviews continue to slowly trickle in from such periodicals as ForeWord, New York Journal of Books, Washington Independent Review of Books, JMWW, Midwest Review, and more are on their way.
Profiles, interviews, guest blog posts, essays, and features have been published in such places as the York Daily Record/Sunday News, Portsmouth Daily Times, Towson Times, Baltimore Sun’s Read Street, Three Guys One Book, Madam Mayo, Write Place Write Time, Baltimore Jewish Times, Lexington Herald-Leader, Talent in Motion Magazine, CBS, and more. Tracks even made the Maryland Life Magazine Summer Reading List.
I’ve been interviewed for radio and television about Tracks, and continue to read abridged stories from Tracks on the air.
The Tracks Book Tour schedule has been active with lots of events already completed, more scheduled, and additional events to come in 2012. So far there have been readings, signings, panel discussions, and Tracks events at Greetings and Readings, Lit & Art at the Watermark, The Ivy Bookshop, the AWP Conference, Last Sunday, Last Rites, Conversations & Connections Conference, CityLit Festival, Maryland Writers Association, Artscape, Poets in Preston, the Janice Holt-Giles House, the Baltimore Book Festival, City of York’s First Fridays, Catonsville Words & Wine & Cheese, Cyclops Books, the G & R Book Fest, the B & O Museum, with future events coming at Salamander Books, Ukazoo Books, The Red Canoe, and Hidden River Arts Gallery and Salon.
More events are being scheduled for 2012 in the region and in New York, Chicago, New England, California, New Mexico, and who knows where else. It’s a regular whistle-stop tour!
The train has picked up momentum, but the biggest part of the celebration (besides the release day) was Tracks @ Max’s: the official Tracks Release Party held at Max’s Taphouse on September 27. Another great event was the “Night of Train Stories and Songs” at Cyclops Books & Music.
Thankfully, Atticus Books has a publicity staff. I’m almost as exhausted as I am excited about my first novel.
My second novel, Womb, is now with my agent and I’m confident it has a good chance of being published in another year or two. But I suspect when that time comes, the publicity train for Tracks will still be moving at a somewhat slower but still steady pace.
I expected to devote a lot of time to readings, events, and marketing. I think what I learned from the activity is how important it is to the success of your novel. If you want readers to come aboard, you have to blow the whistle. If you have a book coming out soon, you may want to get some practice.
Eric D. Goodman regularly reads his fiction on Baltimore’s NPR station, WYPR, and at book festivals and literary events. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including The Baltimore Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Writers Weekly, The Potomac, Grub Street, Scribble Magazine, The Arabesques Review, and New Lines from the Old Line State: An Anthology of Maryland Writers. In addition to Tracks, Eric is the author of Flightless Goose, a storybook for children (www.RunGoose.com). Learn more about Eric and his writing at www.Writeful.blogspot.com.