Is the Thrill Gone? by guest blogger Karen Witemeyer

Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance novels for Bethany House and dearly wishes she had the funds to hire an assistant to manage all her promotion activities. But since she has three kids to put through college, she’ll continue to bite the marketing bullet and do it herself. At least she gets the wonderful perk of interacting with readers and other authors. She wouldn’t give that up for the world. You can find her online at her website.

NJ: Karen is giving away a copy of her new release, Head in the Clouds. To enter the drawing, just leave Karen a comment.

Is the Thrill Gone?

My first book, A Tailor-Made Bride, debuted in June this year, and like any proud mother, I went all out to celebrate its arrival. I hosted an elaborate launch party, set up blog tours, arranged interviews and book signings, spoke at writers meetings, visited area book stores, updated my web site with new content, started a monthly contest, created a newsletter database, set up a Facebook page, and I even broke out of my introvert shell long enough to do a television interview for a regional news program.

Over the next several months, I responded to fan mail, visited all the blogs that popped up on my Google alert, and kept an eye on reviews. It was an incredibly busy time, but a joyful one.

Then, just as things started to taper down and normalize enough for me to reestablish a good writing rhythm, the second wave hit.
I am fortunate enough to have two books releasing very close together, due to the fact that my second book was actually written before my first. Head in the Clouds started hitting bookshelves in September. This blessing offered me the chance to build my readership more quickly. However, I was so tired from promoting book 1 that it was hard to muster much enthusiasm for doing it all again for book 2.
Call it the pacifier syndrome. When you have your first child, you sterilize everything. If the baby spits his pacifier onto the floor, you get a fresh one from your bag. With the second child, you rinse it off first before giving it back. But by the time the third kid comes around, you simply check it for visible floor grit then pop that sucker right back into his mouth.
So how can we keep from losing the thrill when it comes to promoting our second, third, or twentieth book?
First, I had to buckle down and tell myself that just because I didn’t feel like promoting didn’t mean that I could let that responsibility slide. Didn’t I love this second book just as much as the first? Didn’t I want it to succeed? I couldn’t let my lack of excitement translate into a lack of action.
Next, instead of trying to do everything under the sun, I decided to promote more strategically, using the wisdom I’d gained from my previous experience. For example, I didn’t do my own launch party. Instead I opted to speak at a local book festival and later have a pair of signings at local stores. This took the pressure off of me to plan and organize the event. I also cut back on store visits and one or two blog tours. I updated my web content, but instead of creating six character vignettes, this time I put together only four. I cut back in some places, expanded in others, but overall, I sought to streamline the process.
Now that marketing Head in the Clouds is in full swing, my excitement has risen to match my actions. As fan mail starts coming in and positive reviews show up, it is easier to find the enthusiasm that was lacking earlier.
Perhaps when I settle into a one-book-a-year rhythm, balancing promotion and writing will be less of an issue since I’ll have more recovery time between books. Until then, I’ll continue doing the best I can to fake it ’til I make it.
So have any of you ever experienced this kind of emotional sophomore slump? How did you handle it? Any marketing tips for authors looking to streamline their promotion process? Leave a comment and be entered for a chance to win a copy of Head in the Clouds.
When a recovering romantic goes to work for a handsome ranch owner, her heart’s not the only thing in danger.
Adelaide Proctor is a young woman with her head in the clouds, longing for a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a staid governess position on a central Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her romantic yearnings behind.
When Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America’s wool industry, he never expected to become a father overnight. And five-year-old Isabella hasn’t uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon–and intrigues him at the same time. But he can’t afford distractions. He has a ranch to run, a shearing to oversee, and a suspicious fence-cutting to investigate.
When Isabella’s uncle comes to claim the child–and her inheritance–Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man’s evil schemes. And soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?