Our special guest today is none other than our fearless leader Pepper Basham! Today marks the release of her latest novel, Just the Way You Are. She was writing it when I (Laurie) met her, and I fell in love with her characters, Wes and Eisley. Since I'm releasing my first novel next month, I asked her for some book launching advice since this is her fifth release, and she was so gracious to answer some questions:
How did you prepare differently for this release than your first?Hmm...well, I'd learned from my last ones how to prep better. Making memes, getting some blog post opportunities - but, like I said before, the biggest thing for me has been my street team! Now that I'm not building one and we're established as a true team, they all come together so beautifully to help promote my books. I'm floored by their support and the fun we have! It helps that I won a CelebrateLit tour for this book too. That's been an AMAZING boost for the launch - and Sandy Barela has been WONDERFUL to work with. She's so encouraging!
How has your launch team changed?They've grown! I started with about 25 people and a 1/4 of them were AlleyCats :-) Now I have a wide range of ages and places - about 1/2 are faithful reviewers/promoters, and I'm learning (with the help of the amazing Rachel Dixon) how to provide more accountability with them while also continuing this fantastic partnership we all have together. I'm serious. I LOVE these ladies. They're amazing.
Any real/humbling moments to keep you grounded on release day? :)Well, on most of my release days, I've been at work all day, so...I've had to wait ALL DAY LONG to celebrate. And even if I share my cool news at work, people sort of nod and grin, but they're not screaming like crazy on the inside like me. For the most part, it's a day like any other...except THIS time, I'm only working part of the day so I can party the rest of the day :-)
Though I have to say, last year when one of my books released, one of my kindergarten classes made a big sign for me of congratulations and posted it in my office with a bouquet of flowers. They'd all signed it in their "new to writing" way. It was the BEST EVER!
What's the number one thing (or a few things) you never expected about releasing a book when you were still a pre-published author?Okay, this might burst your bubble, but here it goes. I expected bells, whistles, big sales, life changing moments...and, although I had a great launch party and book signing, and so many people supported me, my expectations and reality didn't quite match up. Of course, I'm a writer, so my imagination CAN get a little carried away.
Another thing that is much sweeter that's happened since releasing a book is the genuine response from readers. I am humbled--SO humbled--when a reader takes the time to not just write a review, but email/message me personally about how my story touched them. Wow! What a God-moment, right? And I've even received a few handwritten notes of gratitude. So humbling and sweet.
Any last advice?The biggest advice I can give for anyone who is starting this journey besides WRITE is: remember why you love writing and hold that reason close to your heart. There are going to be days, weeks, and maybe even months when hard stuff happens and our expectations and reality don't meet. Remember WHY you write. The joy of just placing words into stories. Remember that for those times when reality hits...and it's tougher, more stressful, or more discouraging than you thought. God has cultivated this love of writing within you and the joy can be resurrected at any time if we hold to the reason we love story first and remember WHO we're ultimately pleasing when we use our gift of story :-)
About Just the Way You Are:Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her heart a very different type of discovery.
Wes Harrison has a past he's ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he's managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.
When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?
Humor, love, mystery, cute kids, crazy families, and culture clashes make this Britallachian Romance a unique and delightful romantic comedy sprinkled with adventure.