• Marci Nault
  • [Countdown to Publication] 28 Days until THE LAKE HOUSE Hits the Shelves
[Countdown to Publication] 28 Days until THE LAKE HOUSE Hits the Shelves
Contributor
Written by
Marci Nault
April 2013
Contributor
Written by
Marci Nault
April 2013

Thank you, She Writes, for giving me this opportunity to share my experience as a debut novelist nearing her publication date. I’m hoping by sharing my story, my weaknesses and strengths, that I can help other authors in the same situation. Writing can be lonely. Coming to publication, even though I have a huge team working on my book, is also a day-to-day solo journey. Being able to share with this community makes me feel a little less alone.

It's twenty-eight days until my debut novel, THE LAKE HOUSE (Gallery/ Simon & Schuster), hits the shelves. It’s the story about the unlikely friendship between two women - one twenty-eight, the other seventy-four - set in a small lakeside community in New England. Their mutual struggle to find acceptance – with their neighbors and in their own hearts - explores the chance events that shape a community and offer the opportunity to start again.

This journey to publication isn’t for the weak of heart. Just like many writers who've reached this point, this is a lifelong dream come true. The day I signed with Simon & Schuster I felt like a little girl playing make believe; I simply couldn’t fathom that it was real.

But now as I enter the final month to publication I feel a little like someone who’s shown up three hours late to an important party. Everyone is in their finest clothing while I’m in a T-shirt and jeans with hiking boots. The present table is filled with Tiffany-style wrapped gifts and I’m carrying a bottle of wine with a press-on bow. 

I’ve been a little naïve about the whole process. When I signed with my publisher they planned to use the platform I’d created with my website www.101dreamscometrue.com to help market the book. (The website is about my personal journey to complete my biggest life dreams - to date I’ve completed almost 90 of the 101). I was told to stop all media and interviews until publication. To me this said, “We have a plan.” So being innocent I did what they asked. I stopped doing  publicity for a year and a half and took the time to pursue more of my dreams, which included a two month solo trip through S. America that started the first of the year.

It wasn’t until I was in Rio in February, just waking up from a long night at Carnival, when reality struck. I'm not going to go into details, but let's just say an email made me realize that I was way behind. I began researching and realized that other novelists were diligently working to secure blog and book tours, articles in Huffington Post, magazines, and Writer's Digest while I was living in a dream world counting on my publisher to tell me what to do. At this point I didn't know what a blog tour was nor about Goodreads giveaway contests.

I looked down at my jeans and T-shirt and my bottle of wine and admitted that I was clueless and needed help.

Now there are many things I'm good at: I can plan a trip, figure skate, salsa dance, and paint a wall with ease. But there are two things I don’t do well: cook (I have the burns to prove this) and ask for help.

I came on this site and read the other Countdown to Publications (which only freaked me out because it made me feel even more behind). I networked with other authors and wrote to people who’d been through the process to ask for advice (female authors are an amazing group and so many were willing to extend their knowledge and time). I secured a few author appearances, blogs, and created a network of people who would tweet and Facebook my book the day of release, but it was inconsequential to what everyone else was planning.

It was time to think outside the box.

 

Step 1: Listen to my agent and hire an outside publicist. It cost money and I was lucky enough to have an advance that would allow this.

Step 2: Look at different ways to publicize my book.

a)  I’m an adult figure skater going to adult nationals – put postcards in the competitor goody bags and reach over five hundred women from around the country.

b)  Reach out to motivational companies with 101 Dreams Come True and ask to speak at events or guest blog.

c)  Reach out to senior blogs and radio programs since the book is partially about seniors starting over, falling in love, and healing the past.

d)  I own an online bridal boutique with over 70,000 email contacts and I sell to twenty women/ day – make up emails to send with receipts and to contacts.

Step 3: Throw a killer launch party with everyone I’ve met in my communities – church, salsa, skating, friends, and writer’s groups. Include talented artists in my community to cross-promote.

Step 4: Never give up! These days it’s all about the release month, but I plan to have a release year.

I may not have the party dress ironed yet, but at least I figured out what to wear. 

As a final note, I just want to say that Gallery Books and S&S have come through on every request I've made. It’s an incredible house and I’m so lucky and proud to be with them. They’ve given me fantastic editorial advice and a cover I’m madly in love with, and the staff is always there when I pick up the phone. 

Thank you for letting me share my story. I would love your comments and I'm open to all advice! 

Let's be friends

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Comments
  • Marci Nault

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your comment. Yes, I'm quite comfortable on ice as long as it's on a rink and I'm in my figure skates. Waiting patiently isn't something I do well. I read a great blog about the two hats an author must wear - the writing hat and the business hat. One is a solo journey, a place where we get to escape, hide out, and live within our minds. Today, there's no hiding behind pen names. People want access to their authors - facebook, twitter, and so many more. And please realize that I'm not doing it all myself. There's so much I learned in just the last week, so stay tuned for Wednesday. Good luck with your project. I would love to hear more about it.

  • Mark Hughes

    Marci - so, it sounds like they sort of put you on ice; seems like that's a comfortable place for you :) My congratulations though and I hope the book does very well. Like you, it's been slowly dawning on me that in the modern age, this business isn't how I pictured it for so long. Imagine Faulkner, Fitzgerald, or Steinbeck doing any of the things you're talking about. Even Phillip Roth, for that matter (though maybe I'm naive and he did do a lot). An author's resume, or set of hats, is unbelievably diverse these days, from all I read - and your post is an integral part of that. I spent the last several years of my own career in marketing, so I have some idea of that world, but it's strange to think about doing it all myself. Anyway, thanks for opening another window, and good luck.

     

    Mark

  • Marci Nault

    Hi Pamela Olson. Thank you for the congratulations. My publisher was smart not to have me doing publicity beforehand. I'm an unknown author and it's very hard for debut fiction to get press with radio or television. I have a platform with www.101dreamscometrue.com and if there's anyway to use the website to gain publicity for the book then we had to wait until pub date.

  • Pamela Olson

    A thousand congrats on everything, and best of luck!

    One question, though: Why on earth would a publisher tell you not to be in the media in the run-up to your publication date? Was any reason given?