Practice reading your book excerpt aloud.
Although not a mandatory part of release parties, many authors choose to read a passage from their book. This is a wonderful way to expose people to your book. However, if you read in a flat monotone, your book, no matter how exciting, is going to sound flat. I have worked in the kid section through too many boring adult events where the author spoke as if his/her voice had no inflection. They could be reading about the funniest or the most tragic thing, and it all sounded the same. This is not going to encourage the random book customer who stumbles upon your event to buy your book.
I once read (I don’t remember where) that authors should consider taking acting classes. I don’t know if I’d go quite that far, but definitely practice. And if you can practice in front of kids, even better. If nothing else, you’ll learn if your excerpt is too long or if it can’t hold the child’s attention.
Do not be afraid of your local booksellers.
They like local authors. They support local authors. And the local bookstores, even the large chains, like to meet and know local authors. It helps all bookstores, even chains, seem more like a part of their community. If your book is published, but you can’t find it on the shelf, ask about it. If you can find your book, see about arranging a story time or book signing/reading/presentation. I suppose the store might say no, but that’s the worst that can happen. It never hurts to ask.
Integrate as much of your social media as possible to save time and headaches.
Thanks to all those badges and widgets out there, you can now interconnect your blogs, websites, and various social media pages. This can save you all sorts of time.
For instance, when I push the publish button on one of my posts, thanks to the modern miracle of widgets, it will appear on my profile page, on my Facebook profile and on the Buried in the Slush Pile Page, on JacketFlap, and a link appears on my Twitter page. And there are lots of other places you can be marketing as well. Good Reads comes to mind.
Grow a four-inch, bullet-proof, scaly, steel armor-plated skin.
Now this is true in many facets of life, but especially in publishing. You’ve got to be able to withstand the rejections, the edits, and the heart breaking moment when a librarian or bookstore owner goes, “I’m sorry, you’re who? I’ve never heard of that book.”
Get a decent publicity photo taken.
It’s a simple thing. Stand in front of a solid back drop and wear a solid, collared shirt. Get your friend or your spouse or a professional photographer or someone to take at least 1 roll of photos or if using a digital camera a minimum of 36 of the highest resolution shots. Pick the best one, and voila!, you have a headshot. This useful little photo can now be used on all sorts of promotional material such as press packets, school visit brochures, websites, and the like. What they should not be included with are your submissions. As an editor, I don’t care what you look like. I care about your writing.
Practice those one sentence pitches.
One sentence pitches are hard to do. Practice now. You never know when you’ll need one.