Why New Release Day is Like Christmas

by Kathryn Smith

So today is the day that my new book, When Seducing a Duke hits shelves. You'd think I'd be really excited, and I am -- to a point. You see (and this is where the title of this post comes into play) Release Day is a lot like Christmas morning.

You know how as a kid you start counting down the days for Christmas in July? Well most authors start looking at their Amazon numbers and working on promoting their next book about six months from the release date. Often that's when we get our shiny new covers, see the back blurb for the first time. Oh! And our name in pretty, pretty foil. We begin to pine for the day this book hits shelves.

And that's about the time we begin wondering if it will be a hit or a flop. Will reviewers like it or hate it? Should we take out an ad? And what about signings? Should we attend a conference taking place about the same time as our release? I don't want to tell you how many times having a July book has been my deciding factor to attend RWA's National Conference. And just in case anyone's interested, I have a July book in 2010. Anyone want to place bets as to whether or not I'll be in Nashville?

Anyway, the months tick by. I check my Amazon rank more and more. No, I don't compare it to other books. I used to do that, but I learned my lesson when I thought my book was tanking and then it hit the USA Today list.

Then one day I get a small package from my publisher -- it's a few advance copies of my book. Ohh, it's like going to a Christmas Party where everyone gets a gift! And then, a few days before it releases, I get a larger box of books. It's like Christmas Eve! Meanwhile, reviews have started popping up, like in Romantic Times Magazine. They gave the book 4.5 stars and a Top Pick! It's like catching a peek of Santa when you're supposed to be in bed. If you're lucky most of your reviews are good, but occasionally you get those ones I equate with the gift of socks or underwear -- they suit a purpose and perhaps you needed that review (because it points out something you do in every book), but it's nothing to get excited about.

And then the big day arrives. It no longer says "This book is not yet available" on Amazon. It says that it's shipping -- free if you have Amazon

Prime! Heavenly day! You look at your Amazon sales rank and it's.... OK. You Google yourself and there aren't any new reviews. Check your email and there's one email from someone telling you they read the book and they... enjoyed it. Obviously that's a good thing, but you've built this day up in your head for months and you were hoping for fireworks! You tell yourself not to be disappointed -- Santa was here, after all, and left ever so many goodies. But now you've unwrapped everything, and while there's some darned good stuff under that tree, it's over. Unless you've got something coming in the mail that didn't arrive before the 24th, there's nothing else to unwrap. No more pretty secrets under the tree to discover. And you feel a little melancholy start to slip in.

You mean that's it? That's what you've been waiting for all these months? You betcha. I've been writing for 10 years. I have written and sold more than 20 books, and I do this EVERY time. And every time I know that release day will not be what I have built it up to be in my head. Still, I look forward to it, hoping that this one will bring something new and startling. lol.

By the way, for those of you interested, at the time of writing this my sales rank on Amazon is around 6000 and WHEN SEDUCING A DUKE is in the top 100 romances. Not too shabby. Today will be spent checking those numbers, and my email. And various review sites. It's become a ritual. I don't get weird about it, I just do it. Like that one gift under the tree that you keep coming back to, because it's your favorite out of everything you got. To quote Martha Stewart, it's a good thing.

What do you obsess over?

Book Christmas tree photo taken from clohteen.blogspot.com

USA Today bestselling author Kathryn Smith wrote her first novel (372 pages about a rock band that sounded suspiciously like Duran Duran) at the age of 12. Having discovered Kathleen E. Woodiwiss at age 10, she fell in love with the genre and became a romance writer that very same day.

After a brief stint as a journalist, and having taken on other jobs, she returned to university to study literature and began work on her first historical romance. That book, Elusive Passion, was released by Avon Books in April 2001.

Since then, Kathryn has written more than 20 books, many of which have been translated into different languages and released around the world. Kathryn lives in Connecticut with her amazing husband (and best friend!) Steve, and their three furry "kids." Kathryn is hard at work on her next novel and isn't truly happy unless she has a book to work on.

Kathryn loves getting e-mails/queries/letters you can contact her on her website.


  1. Congrats on WHEN SEDUCING A DUKE! I so happy you're back to writing straight historicals - although I also enjoyed your vampire historicals - I think you'll have to keep giving us a bit of everything now! LOL. Looking forward to reading it. I agree with you - it's easy to obsess over these things - I tend to obsess when I make a submission to festival, or a funding agency or a producer for a pitch proposal - constantly checking e-mail, phone etc...Heck I obsess when I'm roasting a turkey or baking a lasagna - so really it knows no bounds for me! LOL ;D

  2. Congrats on the new release, Kathryn! Can't wait to read it--it sounds absolutely amazing and Grey sounds HOT.

    I love your Christmas morning analogy for release day. It fits the feelings perfectly--the screaming highs and the 'it's over' blues. I'm trying not to obsess about the stuff that's outside of my control, which is most of the publishing industry, of course. I obsess over my story ideas and my writing and my edits instead.

    Merry Release Day! Hope the book sells like hot cider on a cold winter morning. :-)

  3. Ahh, thank you! Sorry it took me so long to come respond, but I was off playing with my other toys. lol. Actually I've been trying really hard not to obsess today and keep myself distracted. That said, I did just check my Amazon numbers. ;-)

  4. Kathryn,

    Congratulations on the release of "When Seducing A Duke". If you are checking your sales rank manually I recommend you take a look at Metric Junkie. It's free to use and will automatically track the ranks for the books you follow. Learn more about it here:


  5. Huge congratulations on the new release, Kathryn! I wish you tons of sales and mailboxes overflowing with royalty checks!!

    When I first began writing, 26 yrs ago, release days weren't such a big deal. Lately, since everything after the final galley edit is out of my hands, due to deadline pressures, release days can occasionally pass me by.

    In fact there've been books when I only remember they're out when I start receiving email from readers.

    Oh,I have a July, 2010 book out, too, which is the first of a new series. Although I haven't attended an RWA Natl for ages, since Nashville's just down the road, I'll probably show up for that one. See you there!

  6. Congrats on the latest release, Kathryn! It sounds like one I definitely wanna get my hands on!

    Love how you describe everything pertaining to the release compared to Christmas morning. Lol, can definitely understand it, as I have a book releasing in, yikes, 2 days, and it's driving me nuts!

    All the best! Hugs


  7. I like Annette's 'Merry Release Day'! I definitely wish it to you.

    What do I obsess over?

    What don't I obsess over...?

  8. Kathryn, congrats on the release. I saw it in B&N yesterday here in Arizona--nicely displayed! I love your post because that's exactly how it feels. You nailed it. I think I actually slipped into depression the day after my last one came out (PBRDS--post book release depression syndrome. :)

  9. Hugs to everyone who has had books out or has them coming out soon. It is hard, isn't it? Who would have thought? Maybe we need turkey and some egg nog. ;-)

  10. And Christmas pudding too! Definitely need some form of cake to tide us through, Kathryn! Lol




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