Friday, May 16, 2014

Guest Article: After the Book Deal Blog Tour by Jonathan Auxier

Today I am excited to introduce a special guest article by Jonathan Auxier, author of The Night Gardener released next week.  Please give him a warm welcome!


AFTER THE BOOK DEAL – Guest Article by Jonathan Auxier

The Internet is full of great advice about how to sell a book, but what about after the sale? When my first book came out, I found it was surprisingly hard to find answers to some basic questions. Like most authors, I learned most of the answers through trial and error. And so in anticipation of the launch of my new novel, The Night Gardener, I’ve decided to write down everything I learned so I don’t make the same mistakes twice!

AFTER THE BOOK DEAL is a month-long blog series detailing the twenty things I wish someone had told me before entering the exciting world of children’s publishing. Each weekday from now until MAY 20, I will be posting an article on a different blog. Follow along and please spread the word!


The Time Has Come: Last Words
Well, the end has come at last! Four weeks of posts about what I learned from my first year in publishing. Next week my new book, The Night Gardener, comes out to stores around the world! I thought a lot about how to end this series—what final piece of marketing or business advice to offer. In the end, I realized that the final advice I could give was this: stay grounded.

This is not to say you shouldn’t be *super excited* about your imminent book release, or your new online community, or the publishing world ... but those things pale in comparison to the everyday relationships in your real life. I have lots of publishing friends online, but most of those relationships stay on the level of funny Facebook posts. Make sure that you foster real-world relationships with writers and booklovers in your hometown—people you can meet up for dinner or a movie. Authors live with a unique set of pressures and pains, and it can be helpful to have someone who knows exactly what you’re going through.

My Writing Group
When I moved to Pittsburgh two years ago, I quickly fell in with some children’s writers who had a weekly writing group. This group has been going on for 20+ years, and all of the members are old enough to be my mother. They are also brilliant authors who know how to give killer notes. Every Wednesday morning we meet for two hours to read pages aloud. Not only does this give me a chance to talk to fellow authors, but it keeps me accountable—no matter how busy life gets, I always have a chapter for Wednesday. I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t have been able to make my Night Gardener deadline without their support.

My Reading Group
Right before I sent the first chapters of The Night Gardener to my publisher, my wife and I hosted a “reading” in our living room. We invited a handful of close friends to eat fancy cheeses and listen to me read aloud the first 60 pages. These friends were not all authors—some were booksellers or just avid readers. The event was wonderful fun, and I learned a tremendous amount from the discussion afterwards. This week, I hosted another reading for my brand new (top secret!) novel—and it was again wonderful to share the beginnings of a story with such a supportive and insightful group. I would highly recommend this practice to anyone preparing a book for submission.  

Things Friends Can Do
Both of the above examples are about creating a local community of supportive friends. The best thing about friends during a debut is that they’re willing to support your book! Speaking of which, if you are so inclined, here are some super easy things to do that will go a long way toward spreading the word:
  • Buy the Book! Either for yourself or for a young reader in your life. Early sales go a long way toward helping a new book break out from the pack! If you’ve read and enjoyed the book, loan it to a friend—the more people that know about The Night Gardener the better!
  • Come to an event! I’ll be having a launch party at the CC Mellor Library in Pittsburgh on Sat, May 31 from 2-4pm. If you can’t make it that day, I’m also doing a signing at Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley PA this Monday, May 19th at 7pm. Also, if you’re a bookstore, library, or school in the Pittsburgh area, feel free to contact me about setting up an event!
  • Write a Review! If you read and enjoyed the book, please, please, please take a few minutes to write a review on Amazon and Goodreads—that kind of feedback goes a long way to help get the word out! 
  • Ask Your Local Bookseller for the BookWith so many books out this spring, a lot of smaller bookstores won’t necessarily have a copy in stock—and that’s why it is SO IMPORTANT to let stores know that you want to see The Night Gardener on the shelf! Don’t know where your nearest bookstore is? Click here!
  • Request The Night Gardener at your Library. Same as above, libraries won’t carry a book unless they know that people will check it out. This has the added advantage of letting you read the book for free! And who doesn’t like free?
  • Spread the word online!  Post a link to the book on your Facebook page or blog. Or you can tweet this announcement
That’s it for AFTER THE BOOK DEAL! Next week The Night Gardener arrives in bookstores around the world. In the meantime, feel free to check out the rest of the posts in this blog series (below). Happy reading!


WEEK FOUR: Ongoing Promotion

JONATHAN AUXIER writes strange stories for strange children. His new novel, The Night Gardener, hits bookstores on May 20—why not come to his book launch party? You can visit him online at where he blogs about children's books old and new.


  1. I really like the cover of The Night Gardener. I'll keep an eye out for this one. My children like "strange stories," particularly my youngest (though she's too young for this type of book).

    1. misfortuneofknowing ... That cover is gorgeous, isn't it?!?


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