I’m delighted to introduce fabulous author Susan Buchanan, who lives in Central Scotland with her partner, Tony. The Dating Game is her second novel, released 2nd Nov 2012. Sign of the Times, her first novel, was published in Mar 2012. She will shortly start work on her third novel, due for release Spring 2013.
Here exclusively is Susan Buchanan talking about The Dating Game
“The idea for The Dating Game came from a friend who had joined a dating agency for professional people in Glasgow. Although none of the escapades or experiences Gill has in The Dating Game are those my friend had, the seed was sown! How does a busy, career-oriented woman in her late thirties, find a guy, and not only a guy, but the right guy? I wanted the relationships she had had and the dates she would have, to be as realistic as possible. As I love travelling, I always incorporate at least one foreign country into my books. You’ll have to read The Dating Game to find out where it is!
When I read, I love to read books about foreign parts that I have visited – it immerses me more in the story. I wanted to do the same in my own novels. I love reading, always have – romantic fiction, crime, contemporary drama, pretty much everything.
Workaholic recruitment consultant, Gill McFadden, is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her. Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert.
She realises she has to act, as work keeps piling up and at this rate she will have retired before she has time for a relationship.
Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency. She quickly discovers men are like buses. They all come along at once. Unsure what her type is, Gill decides to keep her options open. Soon she has problems juggling her social life as well as her work diary. Will she ever strike the right balance?
Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love? But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.”
I was interested to ask Susan to talk about the difference between the launch of Sign of the Times and The Dating Game, here’s what she had to say:
“Well, that’s an easy one – everything! When I uploaded Sign of the Times to Amazon back on Mar 17th, I had spent 72 hours trying to get the formatting right (never again – I paid a professional this time) My other half designed my cover that day and then I uploaded it to Amazon. I had this naive idea that Amazon would somehow promote new books. I learned quickly this wasn’t the case. And I can’t really remember. I think we went shopping to Sainsburys or something, came back and watched TV, whilst I texted a few friends to tell them my book was finally out.
When I launched in March, I had no blog, no Twitter account, no author FB page, no ‘platform’ or brand, and worst of all no recognition. Sales between March and May were from friends and acquaintances and a few new Twitter followers who I had started chatting to. I had also started looking into book bloggers, but this was several weeks after the launch. Of course, I was new, with no experience and they mainly had 3 month minimum waiting lists. The first one to say yes to me was Kate from Me My Books and I, so I will always remember that.
I have a Sales and Marketing background and worked in International Sales for 16 years. I quickly learned that writing was the easy bit, Marketing was the long haul and slog for indie writers.
For The Dating Game, it was all done very differently. I had been blogging about the book since back in April when I started writing it and in Sep and Oct I participated in Six Sentence Sunday, always giving snippets of the book to whet readers’ appetites. For the last few weeks before the launch I blogged fun posts (I hope) about the book, dating, Scotland and Barcelona. They seemed to go down well. I invited readers to comment and several did.
About 10 days before the launch I set up an event in Goodreads inviting my 1300 followers there. At around the same time, on a US writers’ FB group which I am part of, I came across a comment from one of them talking about book launches. The author in question, for her last launch, had asked a whole bunch of fellow authors if they would donate an ebook to her launch. I thought,’ that’s a great idea.’ It would spur on momentum, give lots to the readers and lots of promotion for all the participating authors – a complete win win. I am very active on Twitter now with around 5500 followers, including many writers. I have also hosted several of these writers on my blog or become quite close to them on Twitter or FB. I wrote to them all individually and asked them if they would be willing to participate in my launch. My aim was 50 ebooks. I also managed to get a few very well-known authors on board. My mantra, you don’t get if you don’t ask. What’s the worst that could have happened? They could have said no. They didn’t. I had my 54 ebooks. I decided to have the Great Kindle Ebook Giveaway, as part of The Dating Game Launch Party which would last for a week.
A few days before the launch I set up a FB event ( I am so rubbish at FB, I never seem to get it right, but I try!) I have around 625 followers on FB, plus I don’t know how many on my personal account. I also started tweeting that the launch was imminent and that there would be 54 ebooks to be won and Amazon vouchers (I decided to offer a £10 or $15 prize of Amazon vouchers). Anyone who bought The Dating Game between 2nd-9th Nov would automatically be entered into the draw, plus each day there would be a new competition, linked to my writing where people would have another chance to enter the Amazon draw, if they won that day’s comp. At the time of this interview, the launch is still ongoing, but I have to say it has been a huge success so far. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
The Dating Game was sent out to some advance reviewers about 2-3 weeks before the launch. This meant that as soon as the book went live, there were already some reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. It would help potential readers get a flavour for the book and it wouldn’t hurt my Amazon rankings any either.
I arranged with various blogs, this one included, to appear as a guest, writing different articles, being reviewed or featured. This will go on until Tue. Afterwards I will have a slight break from posts, but over the next few weeks there will be several more. I posted in as many FB groups as I could on the morning of the launch. Then I started tweeting like a mad thing! At least every 15 minutes, both about the new book itself and the giveaway, to support all of the authors who had donated a book. I have been rotating all of their books the last few days on my tweets, with links indicating you can win their book via my giveaway.
The thing with this writing caper is, there is always more you can be doing. I would have liked to proactively have gained some more Twitter followers, but there simply wasn’t time. There are also a few other things which I would have liked to have completed prior to the launch, mainly linked to book blogging and guest posting, but I will just have to do them in the next few weeks instead. All in all I am about 90% happy with my launch preparation. I gave it my all. I also have tremendous support, I mean really phenomenal, overwhelming support from my Twitter followers. In fact, I feel so strongly about how their support has helped me, they are included in the thanks in The Dating Game!
Thank you Susan, it’s been a fascinating chat and you’ve certainly hit the ground running. I hope you hit those charts too!