Writerly Lifestyle

What To Do Now If You Want to Have a Successful Launch of Your Debut Novel

December 12, 2022 David Season 2 Episode 30
Writerly Lifestyle
What To Do Now If You Want to Have a Successful Launch of Your Debut Novel
Show Notes Transcript

17 Things to Think About When Talking to an Agent/Publisher
Jessica's Website
First Interview with Jessica
Interview with Katherine Ramsland
Interview with Bryan Young
Connect with Jessica on Twitter
Connect with David on Twitter


  1. Getting and implementing feedback that keeps your story
  2. Importance of surrounding yourself with people you trust
  3. Planning for your debut now

What should you be doing NOW to have a successful debut launch? Jessica Payne helps us understand the ins-and-outs of preparing for a writing career.

Are you wondering what you can be doing right now to launch a successful debut book? Whether you’re agented or not, even if you’re just querying or even still editing or drafting. 

I asked Jessica Payne this exact question. After successfully launching her career with her debut novel MAKE ME DISAPPEAR, then following it up with another great launch of yet another fantastic thriller THE LUCKY ONE. 

Jessica knows a thing or two about what you can do NOW so that your launch goes smoothly even if it’s months or years from now.

Last time on the podcast I talked to Bryan Young who shares how he finds readers for his fiction through his other interests. 

It’s a great pairing for this episode with Jessica Payne. So if you liked this and want to learn more about what you can do to plan for your writing career, definitely check that episode out.

Jessica grew up in Kansas City, later moving to the Pacific Northwest where the mountains and Puget Sound became home. Beyond writing, she loves to run, rock climb, and explore the great outdoors with her daughter and husband. She is also an RN. When holding still, which isn’t often, you’ll find a book in her hand and a cat or dog in her lap. Jessica writes suspense and thriller and is the host of #MomsWritersClub on Twitter and YouTube.

Tweet me @DavidRGwyn


Jessica Payne: [00:00:00] So as far as successfully launching a book, one thing that I. I studied what self-published authors do. I'm not a self-published author, but I have a lot of respect for them, and I wanted to know what they did because that to me is what I could do to bolster my publisher's efforts.

David Gwyn: Are you wondering what you can be doing right now to launch a successful debut book? Whether you're agented or not. Even if you're just querying or even still editing or drafting. I asked Jessica Payne, this exact question. How can we launch a successful debut before we even have an agent? After successfully launching her writing career with her debut novel, make me disappear and then following it up with another great launch of yet another fantastic thriller, the lucky one. 

Which led to a two book deal with her publisher. Let's just say, Jessica knows a thing or two about what you can be doing now so that your launch goes as smoothly as possible. Even if it's months or years from now. I'm David Gwyn, a writer with a finished manuscript, trying to navigate the world of traditional [00:01:00] publishing. 

During this season of the podcast, I'm asking agents, book, coaches, editors, and authors. How they suggest writers go from the end on a first draft to signing a publishing deal. 

Last time on the podcast. I talked to Brian Young who shares how he finds readers for his fiction through his other interests.

Bryan Young: No matter how original or different you think you are, that whatever niche you find yourself writing in or working in, somebody's gonna respond to that. And I think, that's that's why you have artists that can be these like cold hits because you don't actually need all that many people to care about what you're doing in order to make a living. 

David Gwyn: It's a great pairing for this episode with Jessica Payne. So, if this seems like your thing, and you want to learn more about what you can do to plan your writing career, definitely check out that episode. That's linked in the description. Jessica pain's been on the podcast before, and last time she was on, she shared some really amazing information about how she plots her stories. I'll link that in the description. If you want to hear that conversation with Jessica. At the start of this interview, Jessica shares how she came up with the [00:02:00] idea for her newest novel, how she thinks about getting and implementing feedback and so much more. 

Let's get to it. 

Jessica, welcome back to the interview series you were on a few months ago for the launch of your novel. Make Me Disappear. And now we're back to talk about the lucky one. So I wanna start out by saying congratulations on that release.

Jessica Payne: Thank you so much and thanks for having me back. I'm very excited to be here again. 

David Gwyn: Good. So for anyone who's listening, Jessica was on a few months ago and if you wanna hear about how she got started writing, developed suspense in her novels, how you found your agent, and, and really a lot, a lot more.

We packed a lot into that, like 30 minutes or so. Definitely check out that first chat I had with her. I'll drop the link in the description in this episode so you can find that easily. Before we get into what we were kind of talking about today, I, I wanna first obviously talk about your newest book, The lucky one.

It's out now. Can you tell us a little bit about 

Jessica Payne: it? Sure, I'd love to. So the lucky one is all about a [00:03:00] woman who tricked her, would be serial killer into letting her go. And this is very loosely based off of a true crime story that I heard several years ago. And I always wondered who would that. But come because you will never go back to quote unquote normal after an experience like that.

So in my book, Nora Silverton tricked her woodby serial killer into letting her go, and it's a decade after that happened. And she is returning home for the first time in 10 years to bury her father who has passed away, who she has been quite estranged from this whole time. And upon arriving home, One of her friends is murdered in the same way that this, the serial killer was killing people a decade prior.

It soon, soon becomes clear that that serial killer or a copy cat is not gone, and in fact, probably has been watching her this whole time. And you'll have to read the book to find out what happens next. it's a fun book. I had a great time writing this one 

David Gwyn: It's [00:04:00] a really fun read.

I highly recommend picking it up if, if you haven't already. And last time we talked, you gave a, you gave kind of highlights or hints about what you were working on and, and so it's funny to finally read it and, and feel like that was what was like some type of work in progress. I don't know where, I don't remember exactly where you were along that process, but where did this idea come from?

Jessica Payne: Yeah, well, like I said, I heard that podcast. It. I didn't start writing it at the time, but it just stayed with me and it was this amazing story. It was actually. Someone has since found this podcast for me, and so, Oh, that's awesome. They couldn't, I like listened to it years ago and could never find it again, but it's on my favorite murder.

I wanna say it's episode 180 maybe. But yeah, it tells this story of this woman who is taken by a serial killer. She quickly realizes what's going to happen and somehow keeps her. About her and fools this man into thinking that she actually really likes him and that if she could, she [00:05:00] would stay with him.

And in the end, this happened in real life. She tricked him into letting her go and she was so smart along the way that she like collected enough evidence for the cops to be able to arrest him and stop the killing. So I was just so impressed with this woman and I wondered like how I could take so much.

That energy and turn it into a book. And of course, by the time I actually wrote this book, I completely forgot how it played out in real life, . So I got to, you know, do my own fictionalized version. And for me that was that this woman would become a mixed martial artist because she wants to make sure she's no one's victim ever again.

So a lot of it was just running with that. And then how do you take that type of beginning and turn it into a thriller novel? So, Yeah, figuring out a plot was a big part of it. . 

David Gwyn: Yeah. That's so cool. And so there's a lot, I mean, I feel like, I don't know how much research did you have to do for this? Cuz I feel like, did you do any research into serial killers to kind of get prepared for, for this type of story?

Jessica Payne: Yeah, I [00:06:00] actually did a lot of research. I listened to a lot of True crime podcasts, which, It was not huge into, at the time. I, There are a couple I still listen to here and there, but I listen to a lot of podcasts. I've read several books on serial killers. There are some incredible podcasts that kind of dig into the psyche of like a sociopath or psychopath.

And then I previously have a degree in psychology. So that was helpful too. So kind of combining all of that, I will say. I got to the point where I was like, I had to leave the lights on at night, , cause you were like absorbing all this information about these terrible people. Because I wanted, I wanted it to feel realistic and be true to how a serial killer might act.

So what you see in the book is loosely based on things that have actually really happened or a serial killer who actually existed. I really wanted it to. as realistic as possible, not just something I made up. 

David Gwyn: Yeah, that, that's really interesting. I feel like that [00:07:00] blend of reality is something that you have to think about when you're obviously writing fiction, but something that is, that is so tied and, and in reality, it's something that people are gonna think about right.

When it comes to serial killers. I think that's so interesting. So I'm curious because now I, I know you got you have a two book deal with your new publisher. Congratulations on that as well. Right. Is, has your process for writing changed at all now that you're on, you know, kind of like you're, I don't know what, where you are in kind of your third, fourth manuscript or wherever you are in that process, has your writing process changed at all in, in that time?

Jessica Payne: So my writing process, and I think most people's is constantly changing. So let me start by saying that. I will say it's a little bit different when you are writing a book with a deadline because , you know, for me that means I need to finish it by a certain time and get it to critique partners and then to my agent, and then to my editor by certain dates.

So I do have a calendar and I do kind of [00:08:00] mark that out. I do now and I didn't with my first book Make Me Disappear. Try to have a vague idea of what the midpoint is gonna look like and what the ending might look like. And that often changes. I very much kind of come up with the story as I go. I'm a pantser, but I do try to have a little bit more of an idea.

I. Talk to my agent about my ideas before I start writing them, or while I am starting to write them. I find that talking with her helps me fix problems before they come become problems, you know? And that, that has allowed me to more quickly write the book without I used to have this process and watch that happen again.

Now that I. Talking about it, knock on wood, where I would write about 35 or 40 K of a book and be like, Oh, I see what I need to do now, and trash all of that and start over. Which I, I just finished. Writing book three and sent it to my agent. I did not do that with this book. There were some scenes that got, you know, moved to the trash folder, but I did not delete [00:09:00] half the book

That's good. And start over. So yeah, that was, that was a great change. 

David Gwyn: Yeah. That's awesome. And, and so speaking of your agent, I, your agents, Kimberly Brower, who I had on here and chatted with a few weeks ago, and she had some really. Things to say about you. And I actually am dying to ask you this because one of the things she, she praised you for is your ability to kind of accumulate feedback and then pick and choose from that feedback what you think best serves your story.

And so, I know you still use critique partners, you have beta readers, people reading your early, early drafts. How do you, how do you go about working through feedback in a way. Doesn't overwhelm you. I, I feel like a lot of people get feedback and they try to make everyone happy and in, in that way.

They, they can't. So how are you getting this feedback and kind of, are you sitting with it? Are you looking for trends? Like what do you do with that feedback once you get it so that you're, you're keeping your story but, but improving it along the way.

Jessica Payne: So I think the thing about feedback that you have to remember is that it is all [00:10:00] subjective. That said, hopefully you have critique partners who you, you know, trust and value. I think early on in your writing career. This is hard. It's still hard. Not that I'm not still early on, but you know, like it, it's a little easier with time.

I think you have to keep in mind what your vision for your story is, and you have to pay attention to that gut feeling. I do receive feedback sometimes where I'm like, Mm, I hear what you're saying, but I. disagree Yeah. And you have to be willing to think that, and you don't have to say that to the critique partner.

Do not argue with your critique partners with data readers. You might, you know, ask questions if you're not clear on something, but please don't argue with them. . They're doing you as service . I do also think there's. Such a thing is too much feedback. I have usually three or four critique partners and that's it.

Now I don't, I don't do typically I don't do multiple rounds and I don't send it back to them unless I have a specific thing I changed that I [00:11:00] want their feedback on, so I don't have to care about making them happy. It's not their book. I also have critique partners, though, that are fellow. Authors, published authors soon to be published, authors or authors who take their writing very seriously and they fully recognize that as not my job to do whatever they want me to do.

It's, it's my job to consider their feedback and honestly, two outta three times, I totally agree with them. But they understand that I'm gonna write the story that is right for me. And finding critique partners like that is really helpful. I will also say looking for trends is definitely something.

The nice thing about having three is if two out of the three agree on something, , , you can assume that at least some readers will feel that way too. But sometimes , you get feedback that only one person mentions and you really do have to. Is this something that a lot of readers are going to notice?

Is this something that 25% of them are going to notice? So sometimes I'll ask my agent, or I'll even go to my other critique partners and just ask, [00:12:00] Is this something you notice? And sometimes they say yes and they didn't feel like it was worth mentioning. Sometimes they say no. So you, you kind of learn to sort out what is helpful and what.

David Gwyn: Hmm. Yeah, I think that's so important. And that idea of finding a group that you trust, I imagine, is it takes a lot of the anxiety out of it a little bit because it's no longer like, can I, does this person even read the books that I'm writing? You know, there's all those questions that are underlying when, when people are going into those new critique relationships.

So I think that's, that's a really good point of, of finding people you trust and then really above all, trusting yourself through that process is really important. So, Let me ask, and I don't know how much you can share, but what's in the works for you now? 

Jessica Payne: Yeah, so like you said, I just signed another two book deal with my publisher and I am busy working on book three.

I just finished the first draft that will go to my agent and then I'll do some revisions with her. I don't have a title yet, but the basic topic [00:13:00] is medical serial killer. Who do exist in the world, and I have been mildly fascinated with them as I used to work as a nurse. So I did some research on that and kind of sketched out a plot and anyway, I think it's turned out.

pretty well. I think Sonia, I reread it and I was like, This does not suck. . Which, which when you're early on in your like process of writing the book is a great thing to feel like it more or less has like really come together and I'm loving the characters and they have some great thriller suspense tension between them. So. That's really as much as I can say now, but I'm very excited about it. It will be out in April or May of 2023. 

David Gwyn: Oh wow. Okay. So are you, are you keeping up this tight timeline or have you not even thought about book four or do you have that on the, the calendar already when that one's due?

Jessica Payne: Yeah, so my publisher bookcouture, which is an imprint ofHachette , they will let you publish as almost as fast as you want. There are people Oh wow. Who have [00:14:00] series who are publishing every four or five months, which is a little too fast for me. I, my plan is to publish about every six months and book four. I actually have not let myself start thinking about it until finishing book three, , and I literally sent my agent book three about 48 hours ago.

So in a couple days when I've given my creative. Parts of my brain arrest. I'm so eager to start thinking about it. I was driving down this old foggy road in the woods here in the Pacific Northwest a few days ago, and it's beginning of fall and there are spiderwebs, and I was like, Oh, I have an idea. So I'm, I'm, Oh, nice.

See if that turns into book four. But That's cool. I don't know yet, and I'm like, not letting myself think about it. , you know, give myself a, a little bit of a break. Yeah. 

David Gwyn: That's awesome that, that's exciting though. I feel like once those, those moments hit you, you have to, you do have to let them percolate a little bit and decide what's, what's the right one.

But that's, that's exciting then. That's really fun. 

Okay, let's pause for just a second. So far, we've talked about how Jessica came up with the idea for this story and how [00:15:00] she developed it over the course of the whole novel. 

A few weeks ago, I shared an interview I did with Catherine Ram's land, a serial killer expert, and author of a new novel out now. If you're interested in taking a real life story you heard and turning it into your own fantastic piece of fiction. You'll love the interview I did with her. 

Katherine Ramsland: Well, it's about entertainment and so yes. Reality isn't always entertaining and there is a way to, to use it. Like you put it, it's almost like you put a skin over it, right? You want the base of it, you want, you want the body of it to. To feel real, to feel authentic, but at the same time, you know, you gotta dress it up.

David Gwyn: I'll share that link in the description. Also before we head back to the interview, I dropped another freebie in the description for you. It's 17 questions to ask agents or publishers before signing a contract. Wherever you are in the publishing process. Whether you're writing or querying, it's never too early to start thinking about how to approach that important conversation. 

[00:16:00] If you're new here, I hope you're enjoying this interview. If you've listened to a few episodes, I'm glad you're back. And this will probably sound familiar. If you could, I'm going to ask you to do one of three things. You can choose. Whichever one you'd like. 

First, if you're enjoying this episode, consider sharing on social media. If you do share, be sure to tag me, I am really enjoying, connecting with people and continuing the conversations that started on the podcast. Option to rate and or review the podcast. It takes you less than a minute and will literally make my entire day, maybe even my week. 

Option three share with a writer, friend, you have maybe a critique partner or just someone, you know, who's a writer. I'm really trying to build this content to help people in their writing careers. And I need your help to spread the word. Do whichever of those three things you'd like to, but it would mean the world to me. If you do at least one. 

Thanks so much. 

The next part of this interview, Jessica shares the thing she did even before having an agent. That has led to her successful launch of her debut novel. And beyond. Let's get [00:17:00] back to the interview. 

So let's, let's talk about something that a lot of people who listen to this podcast, they're, they're writers who are really serious about making this writing thing happen. And the, the reality of getting an agent or even a publishing deal is, is not like the end, it's not the end of the road on like you're done, you're published.

Like you just send your book off and call it a day. And, I'm getting the sense, the more people I talk to here, that it's common knowledge across the industry that, that it's really hard work being an author and that writing the book is really only part of it. And that there's a lot that goes into a successful book launch and a successful book career.

And you've managed to cultivate like a really amazing following and get a lot of review and a lot of readers. Obviously you wrote great books, which is the absolute number one thing you have to do. That's like the baseline. I've really enjoyed them, so I, I really feel strongly about saying that that is absolutely the first step.

But can you give us things that you did along the way to have successful launches of your novels and [00:18:00] kind of that, even that like staying power of, of your. 

Jessica Payne: Yes, I, I definitely can. So before I kind of talk about the things that I have done, I do just want to.

Mention that it is definitely a partnership with your publisher. I know that there is a big push for authors to do more and more marketing and publicity on their own. And I have done quite a bit on my own, but a lot of the things they have done have really helped with it. So I just wanna start by putting that out there.

So people ask me about social media a lot, and they ask it kind of like, Well, how do you use it as a marketing tool? But. , that that is a mistake to think about it as a marketing tool. It really is community. It is building a community. It is being a part of a community. And if you are an unagented unpublished writer, now is the time to start that.

Not after you get your agent, not after you get your first deal. You know, who knows how long that's gonna take. Be a part of your writing community. Now. It's not something [00:19:00] to jump on, you know, as soon as it benefits you. Actually be there and, and be present. That would be one of the number one things I would say.

I think Twitter is a great place to meet other writers and to just be a part of the community. One thing that is really great about Instagram, bookstagrammers. They are people who absolutely love books, and as an author you probably love books too, so that's a great way to get connected to the writing community.

I knew everybody has their opinion on if Twitter or Instagram is better, but I personally love them both for different reasons. Like if I have something to share about, you know, my writing process or something funny happened, I love to post it on Twitter, but I also love to put pictures up on Instagram, whether it's my dogs or my book.


David Gwyn: Yeah, let me, let me ask you about that because I, I think that's such an important thing to underscore is this idea that, that social media is [00:20:00] about building a community. It's not about marketing in, in a sense that you're just like throwing out blurbs to your book. And I, I mean, I follow you on Twitter and I think.

I don't even know. It's a very small percentage of your interactions with people or posts is about your actual book, . Like you, you, you almost always are interacting with people and just allowing it to come up organically. You, you know, you're sharing great news, but you're not like throwing things out there, just like by my book, by my book, which we see so often and it comes off as fake.

It comes off as inorganic and people see it a mile away. And so do you think at all about. I mean, do you even think about that as a process or do you, are you just like, you just wanna do it for the social part and if, if things happen for your book success, that, that's just gravy

Jessica Payne: so I did not used to think about it. I think about it now because I am paranoid about becoming that person who only post about their book , because sometimes, okay, given my book came out about three weeks, So for a week, almost all you post about [00:21:00] is your book and then you're like, Oh my gosh, all I've been posting about is my book.

You know? Which, that's normal. It's your release week. People are not gonna be mad about that. I do think about it now just cuz I don't want to be like that and I really like the community I've built on there and I don't want anyone to be like, Oh my gosh, all she does is post about her books . But I used to never think about it.

I would definitely say, I mean, if I had to say a percent. , maybe a fifth or a quarter of what you're posting could be about your book stuff. But even that almost feels like a lot. I mean, I wouldn't see it as a place to advertise, but it's like if you have a group of friends and you love hanging out with them, you're not gonna show up and talk about your book every time you see them.

But when something big is happening, like you got your agent, or you got your book deal, or your book is literally coming out tomorrow, that's probably all you're gonna talk about with your friends. You know? Think about it like that. Like what? normal or what feels appropriate. 

David Gwyn: I think that's really smart to think about it that way and just that framing for people [00:22:00] I, I think is, is really useful.

And especially for people like I mentioned our, who are looking for agents now and, and thinking about this process that the building of community like you suggested it, it happens now. It doesn't happen when you get an agent. It doesn't happen when your book gets published. It, it happens. Right now, like, get on Twitter if you're not already there.

You know, be, be proactive and, and meet people because to your point, like it, it's a community. It's a group of friends that you get to, to share news with. So take us to another one. Where else do you want to go?

Jessica Payne: So as far as successfully launching a book, one thing that I. I studied what self-published authors do. I'm not a self-published author, but I have a lot of respect for them, and I wanted to know what they did because that to me is what I could do to bolster my publisher's efforts. One thing I thought was helpful was that I set up a lot of my own interviews, and it's not that hard to do.

You just reach out. Well first of all, hopefully you're listening to some of these podcasts and like YouTube channels, [00:23:00] but you can reach out and just ask, I would craft a somewhat professional email and I would recommend coming up with some topics that you think would work well that would also serve the audience of that podcast, for example.

So kind of know what podcast you're approaching, but I set up almost all of my own interviews. Like it is absolutely something you can do. And the worst they're gonna. Is no or not answer your email . So I say Go for it. You've reached different populations that way. One of one of the, my favorite interviews I've done was not actually even for a book or writing podcast.

It was for a running podcast because she was interested, the, the host was interested in having a runner, writer? Or on, And so we got to talk about running and writing and it was really fantastic. The other thing you can do is you can think about what your book is. For example, like I could probably approach True Crime Podcasts with the lucky one because it's very, you know, loosely based on a true crime and is has kind of some commentary on true [00:24:00] crime as a topic in the media.

So I would recommend doing that. That would be one thing. And then, I mean, it really comes down to connecting with people, whether it's through an interview, whether it's through social media. Make friends with the book to Grammers. They're such cool people. Like, I didn't even know how amazing they were until they started, you know, posting about my book and that was just so much fun to connect with them.

The other thing I did was form a launch team, which I thought was really helpful. 

David Gwyn: Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about, your launch team and how you found them, what you went through, how, how you kind of thought about them as, as a group. . Yes, I 

Jessica Payne: would love to talk about that. So I knew of several authors who did launch teams in including one of the members of one of my community's moms writers club, and her name is Peyton.

So she shared with me about kind of what she did for me, having a launch team was about having a group of people who were in my corner and wanted. Support [00:25:00] my book launch. I was very nervous about my first book coming out. I was nervous that I wouldn't get enough early readers. I was worried I wouldn't get enough reviews.

I would, was worried people wouldn't post about it on social media, and I knew that by like with a launch group, group that they could do a lot of that for me, what I did not expect was how amazingly supportive they would be every step of the way. That was so much fun. So I've actually kept my launch group active.

They helped me with my second book and I plan on continuing it forward. So basically a launch group is, you know, however many people who help you launch your book, they'll post on social media. They usually read in early version and post reviews for you. The key there is honest reviews. Please don't expect them to like say they loved your book if they didn't.

I set it up by putting asks out on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook are tapped into both my writing community, but also like my personal non-writing community like all my friends on Facebook from as far back as Facebook goes, [00:26:00] ing myself here. And I actually just had a Google form that I had them fill out.

 I wanted people who wanted to support me, but I also wanted people who kind of knew what the expectation was, that they read the book and that they do post those reviews and help support on social media as far as like how many, Some people do 30 or 40, but it's no more work for you to have 30 versus a hundred.

So I think I had about a hundred. For my first book, and I ran it on a Facebook group, but I also had a newsletter list so it could go out both ways because not everyone is on Facebook, or at least not active on Facebook. So it was helpful to have the newsletter. I asked them to read the book. They all got early versions of it, Early arcs.

They posted on good reads as soon as they finished it, and then on Amazon on publication. They would put posts on social media, they would put images up and talk about how much they enjoyed it, which I'm so grateful for. People were just so [00:27:00] incredibly supportive. And they just, they talked about it.

And so much of a book being successful is word of mouth. So that was amazing. And then, like I said, they were just really supportive. They cheered me on the whole time. They were super excited for me. , I did giveaways as part of this group. I did, I offered like query critiques as part of the giveaways.

And I also would do posts in the newsletter and on Facebook about the publishing process because like I was fascinated to learn it as I did it. And you know, so many people have no clue what goes into it. Like developmental edits, online edits and copy edits and so on and so forth. So I wrote about that and people.

Enjoyed that. So that was really fun to do. And I feel like my launch group helped a lot. I mean, like I was saying earlier, an author can only do so much on their own, but I feel like the Launch group made sure that I hit a certain number of reviews on Amazon on launch day and made sure that like on launch day, lots of stuff was posted on social media.

And that [00:28:00] was just really fun. And I, I think it was a confidence booster. 

David Gwyn: Yeah. That's, that's great. And I think now that I'm thinking about it, I, I think that's how I first found you is through Deana, who was, who was in my group, who was posting about your book and part of your launch team, and kind of how we connected.

 And obviously That's worked out well for me. I've gotten to talk to you twice and yeah. And found a few great books. So I, I really appreciate that process so you mentioned you took some things from self-published authors. Was the launch team something that was from, like, where did you, where did you hear of that?

Was that from a, a self-published author? Is that something that that published authors that are traditionally published are, 

Jessica Payne: I have heard about it enough times that I no longer remember where I first heard about it. I have seen both traditionally published and self-published authors using them.

I do think you should be aware it does take some work and some time, so kind of scale it to whatever extent that you feel like you can. But yeah, it's just like a team of [00:29:00] people who wanna help you and that is such an amazing.

David Gwyn: Yeah, that's great. I, I'm, I'm so interested in that and I, I think it was such a great experience for, for even the people who are involved to kind of, like you said, see the, see the process from beginning to end. That's really cool. So anything else that comes to mind when you think about kind of the legwork that you did leading up to the launch

Jessica Payne: When you are thinking about getting your books out into the world and your first book is coming out, recognize that some of the things you're going to be doing, Is more about building relationships and connecting with your readers than immediately selling books and seeing returns on sales.

There are things that I've done that I know, I'm not doing them to make money tomorrow. One example might be a good reads giveaway. Some publishers do support that, but that is something I did on my own. And I didn't expect it to lead to more sales immediately, but what I wanted was for people to see my book and to see the cover.

 So when you do good reads giveaways, [00:30:00] anybody who signs up for that giveaway will get an email when your book releases, as well as when your future books release. So I have over 5,000 people that now get an email when my book releases. So that was an an early investment that hopefully.

help long term.

David Gwyn: So any, anything else that comes to mind even maybe something that you do now to keep up the momentum on future release?

Jessica Payne: The best piece of advice I could give someone who has a book coming out is to consider the things that you like to do as well as the things you want to like to do and take advantage of those. Like I am actually pretty happy to do a fair amount of social media, so I do, and I have time for that. I was very much not comfortable doing interviews.

But I wanted to be, so I made myself do them. And I am not nervous and shaking and sweating right now as I talk, and I totally was the first time I interviewed. So know that you can get used to those things. So think [00:31:00] about what you enjoy doing. If you hate social media, maybe that is not your thing to do, to like launch your book, you know?

But also don't be afraid to challenge yourself as far as what I do. , I'm still kind of in the process of sorting that out. My publisher has been fantastic in that they have run a couple deals for my books and they did a book Bob last week, which was really amazing, that had a great response. So that helps.

I think continuing to publish helps. Beyond that, I'm kind of, I'm kind of trying to sort out what to do. I mean, I try to stay active on social media. I do try to post about my book no more than one fifth of the time, . I do giveaways from time to time. 

 I'm still kind of figuring out the continuity thing, you know? Cause I had two books release four months apart. The second book came out a little earlier than we originally planned. So I guess I'll let you know. , I really, you know what I'm interested in doing and if anybody has feedback on this, I [00:32:00] would love your thoughts.

I am thinking about doing. A group on, probably on Facebook for readers, people who like my books. And I feel like it might be too early in my career to do that. I feel like I don't have a giant readership yet. Like I have a lot of people reading my books and leaving me reviews, and that's amazing and wonderful.

So I'm a little like, humbled by this idea. , like I'm a little scared of it , but I have a lot of people trying to join my launch group, which is not for everyone. It's only for the launch people. So I'm thinking about that because that would be fun because then I could connect directly with readers. I could do giveaways for them.

I could talk about the process. So I am thinking about that. I have seen many authors be very successful with that, but some of those authors also have like 16 books out. So it might be early for that, but that is something I am thinking about. 

David Gwyn: No, I think that's a, a great idea and I, I urge anyone who's listening, if you have an opinion, reach out and let Jessica know.

I, I Per you too, , I [00:33:00] personally would love to be involved in, in that and, I think to your point, like. The background of the process, what you're going through, even just that stuff is for, for writers and for readers is so fascinating. I feel like to hear how, how the sausage is being made in a lot of ways is really, is really interesting.

Jessica Payne: No, I totally agree. I remember one of my favorite authors used to have a blog like 10 to 15 years ago. She had this blog where she would write about her daily process. I was such a young author at the time and I was so interested in it and I found it fascinating and she has since removed it, unfortunately,

So I would totally go back and reread it, but I just found it to be amazing. Yeah. 

David Gwyn: Yeah. That's really cool. So, as we kind of wrap up here two questions for you. One is, What do you think is the one thing you would love for people to take away from this conversation? Like I mentioned, the people who typically listen are, are writers.

They, they want to get a book out there into the world. They want to find an agent, they want to get published, that kind of thing. [00:34:00] If there's one thing that you would love to, for them to think about as they leave us and go on about their day, what do you think that one thing would be? 

Jessica Payne: The one thing I would say is, In this industry, you are going to be rejected, and that's not a reason to stop.

I hope you can find a way for it to fuel your desire to do this and keep trying. If you listen to my other podcast, you know that my book that got me, my agent was my fourth book and it took several years, so don't stop. Just keep working on it. But I think that applies across the board because you know, once you get an agent, then you're on sub.

You know it never. There is going to be rejection, and that's part of it. It's not a reflection on your worthiness as an author or if your book is good necessarily. It is just part of the game. So keep playing. 

David Gwyn: Nice. Yeah. What a great thing to end on for, for people to think about as they, as they go. So my last question is, where can people find you?

Where can people look? , I 

Jessica Payne: am at JessicaPayne.net and all my social [00:35:00] media is linked there. That's my website. On Instagram, I'm Jessica Payne, dot writer, and on Twitter I'm at author Jess Payne. I'm also on Facebook, if you look up Jessica Pan author, you will find me or just go to my website.

There you go. Good. 

David Gwyn: And I'll, I'll link to that so that if you're listening, you can find that and, and reach out to, to Jessica and let her know you know, what, what her plan should be with the Facebook group. I'm excited about. Yeah, I hope, I hope you do it 

Jessica Payne: well. Now that you're saying that, I'm like, Oh, maybe I should just do it and see what happens.

let me know everyone though. I wanna know what you think and I would love to also, What you'd wanna hear about on a group like that, because I, if I do it, I wanna do it. Well, I don't wanna just have a group and then never post 

David Gwyn: Nice. That's exciting. So good. So reach out to Jessica and let her know that's, that's super cool.

I love that. So, Jessica, it has been an absolute pleasure to have you on. I really enjoyed our conversation and I, I really enjoy talking to you. So I, I hope you'll come back in the spring when your next 

Jessica Payne: book. . Oh, I'd love to. And thank you for having me on again. This is one of my favorite 

David Gwyn: podcasts.

Yeah, thank you. So hopefully you learned a lot about launching a successful [00:36:00] writing career. I know I did. Jessica always has so much great information that if you didn't already see her earlier interview on the podcast, definitely check that out. As a reminder, that's linked to the description. 

And remember there's some freebies in the description for you. To download right now. Next time on the podcast. I'm talking to Katherine McKenzie, USA today, bestselling author. She talks all about her writing career, how she got started, what she's doing now and how she writes two books a year. 

It was a great interview and so much fun to talk to Catherine. 

So if you haven't yet subscribed to the podcast, do that now so that you don't miss that interview when it drops, I'll see you soon.