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As my book’s launch day draws near, it’s time to reflect on my partnership publishing experience to date. The last time I wrote about my progress, I had just had my book cover accepted and it felt like I had leapfrogged the publishing queue by not adding the additional weeks it presumably takes to have a cover designed by the publisher, sent to the author for approval, and finally signed-off.

Although I’m really happy that my book is now on the cusp of being published…

with hindsight I think I needed a little more time to get all my ducks lined up before the launch date arrived. It’s not until you’ve been down this road, either with a traditional publisher or with a partnership publishing contract, that you realise the complexities of the marketing process and how much time it takes to get all the building blocks in place.

Partnership Publishing Marketing Support

For me, the marketing has probably been the most valuable aspect of this entire process to date and that alone has justified my investment, even without the added value of professional editing and advice, and the guiding hand of an experienced industry professional at the helm. I wrote some time ago that my partnership publishing experience was already teaching me that, not only was I not going to be able to hand over the reins of my marketing to the professionals, but that I was actually going to have to work harder at marketing than I ever had for any of my traditionally published or indie published books, and that has proven to be the case.

Advance Reviewers

One of the most difficult things for me was finding the right people to request an advance review from. There are dozens and dozens of book bloggers out there who do this all the time and I already had one lined up who had done a review of Jack’s memoir, but I wanted to find people who had some connection to me and/or the book, such as fellow travel writers, preferably ones who had also published a travel memoir or some kind of destination-specific work; fellow travel bloggers whose career paths I admire; or people I have worked with in the travel publishing world.

My marketing guidance from the publisher had told me to consider getting reviews from celebrities – maybe someone who had a connection with the destination or the theme of the book – and to “reach for the stars” but

putting myself ‘out there’ is really not something I’m very good at,

and after sending a message to one celebrated travel author and receiving no response, I gave up on that idea.

By happy coincidence, I stumbled across mention of someone I hadn’t spoken to since being on a trip with her seven years ago, and who is a highly respected author and celebrated poet. I fired off a Twitter message, not expecting to get a response and was overjoyed when she happily agreed to be one of my reviewers. But all that takes time, and by the time I had returned my plan with its list of reviewers, and the publisher had sent advance copies out to them, the clock was ticking down. Add to that mix, postal delays as a result of COVID and the fact that half my chosen reviewers live outside the UK and you’ve got a recipe for unrealistic deadlines.

As I write this, just a week ahead of launch day, I only know of one review that the publisher has received to date and at least two reviewers only got their copies one week ago.

I will update this blog on progress once my book has been launched and I have had a chance to catch my breath. Re-locating from Portugal to the UK at the beginning of June, complete with its inherent pandemic-related complications, and an unexpected (and very welcome) work trip to be completed before we leave, are keeping me somewhat occupied at the moment so time for reflection will have to come later.

For now, I would say I am still very happy about how my partnership publishing experience is panning out and if you’re thinking of the going down the same road, I would advocate early securement of your advance reviewers.

The Banana Road will be in all good book stores from May 4 and is available to pre-order now.

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