A look at how to launch a book

Our book launch is only a month away (February 5th!), so, with the help of our team, we’ve been busily preparing. Our team at Penguin includes our publicist Alyssa Adler, marketing lead Madeline Sheffield, and our editor Leah Trouwborst. We’re also working with Callie Schweitzer, a freelance creative strategist and publicist. We have a weekly planning call with these three, as well as with our agent, Lisa DiMona.

We use author Jenny Blake’s 15-tab Marketing Spreadsheet to organize all our plans. We began our publicity push by writing articles to pitch to magazines, newspapers, and websites, and asking that they be published around February 5th. We thought about which topics or excerpts from the book would make sense for which outlet, and then pitched to them with the help of Callie and Alyssa. We heard from other authors that podcasts can sell a lot of books, so we emailed 50+ podcasts. We’ve recorded a dozen so far, and have another dozen to record in the next month.

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Behind the book: Working with our editor

One of the parts of the book writing that we were most curious about (and quite honestly, most worried about), was working with our editor. We’d heard stories from writer friends about editors who were either too engaged (re-writing large portions of the manuscript) or not engaged enough (being incommunicado for large stretches of the process and then only giving minimal guidance). We’d also heard of editors who had very different visions for the book than the authors did.

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Behind the book: How an illustration happens

Let's talk illustrations! My (Liz) process of creating illustrations goes like this:

  • Brainstorm

  • Get frustrated

  • Brainstorm

  • Have an idea!

  • Sketch idea

  • Brainstorm

  • Get frustrated

  • Start drawing idea on tablet/Adobe Illustrator

  • Handletter text using tablet/Adobe Illustrator

  • Add color in Adobe Illustrator

  • Repeat

First, a quick equipment run down that might be useful:

  • For sketching and note-taking, I use a gel ink pen and blank (unlined) Muji notebooks that I highly recommend. They are light (so you can carry them anywhere) and cheap (so you won't feel bad scrawling over pages). I probably own 20+ of these notebooks. Here are the five currently in my desk drawer.

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