This is a new world for me and I'm learning as I'm going. Of course I will make mistakes along the way and this is how I will learn for my next publication. If I could do this one all over again though, there are 3 big 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' moments I would want to redo, had I known about them when the time mattered.
1) Timing is EVERYTHING. When it comes to festivals and award submissions, the timing of your publication date is everything. I made the mistake of releasing this book in mid-December which means I missed out on some (but not all) book award submission requirements; one being that 'your title must be submitted by the 31st of December of your book's publication year.' I missed out on entering for the Caldecott, Newberry and Geisel Awards because of this. Not like I had a massive chance or anything but had I known about this requirement, I would have submitted it straight away to catch that deadline. Even though the book was released at the very end of 2013, it was published in 2013 nevertheless and so if I could do it again, I would have released it in January of 2014 to take full advantage of these types of awards. Plus had I released it earlier in the year, I'd have a whole year to work up a reputation for the book, including my other festival award wins and big appearances.
2) Timing is EVERYTHING. Again, I stress it…Did you know that all it means to be a best seller on Amazon all you have to do is rally up all your sales in a 24 hour period? That means that had I only opened the gates to sell the book for a 24 hour period and got all those sales we had over the first two week period of its release, our little book could have made it to a big top ten best seller list. The tricks and trades of this business, eh?!
3) Timing is what?? Oh, EVERYTHING. When it comes to booking readings and signings, I have learned to be a little more picky about the timing. In the beginning, I was happy to book anything and everything that came my way. But now I know if I want a larger audience, I have to think about the timing of it all. I have to make sure there is enough time to market and advertise for a certain gig and I have to take in consideration of when schools are on vacation or if the booking is around the holidays. My timing of every performance matters too because my audience is full of little ones with little attention spans.
I am sure this list will continue to grow as I go. But I thought it was important to share in case any of you were thinking of releasing a book anytime soon. Learn from my mistakes and understand that timing is….EVERYTHING!