Writer Kris Waldherr's novel The Lost History of Dreams launches from Atria Books next month. The book, best if not fully described with the genre-centric words "romance," "Gothic," and "mystery," follows post-mortem daguerreotypist, historian and widower Robert Highstead as he seeks to carry out a cousin's dying wish, a quest that pushes him through his own grief into someone else's ghost-infused love story.
Like all 21st century authors, Waldherr is working hard alongside her publisher's publicity team to create advance buzz around her novel, and is tapping into her full skill set to do so. "I'm both a designer and an author," she told Spine. "I'm using all my design mojo to help my novel fly in the world."
Though the book is her first novel, Waldherr already has a built-in audience that loves her art. To great acclaim, she's published illustrated books and tarot cards, and her Goddess Tarot deck has sold a quarter-million copies. Her goal with her book-publicity efforts: build upon that audience by communicating how her new fiction reflects her art.
Below, in her own words, Waldherr outlines the steps she's taken as the book moves toward its drop date.
The usual author social media interviews, online articles, book reviews, blog and newsletter promotion, some of which my Atria publicist arranged and others that I took the lead on.
I've designed a book trailer that features a voiceover by Emily Carding, an actor acclaimed for her solo performances of Shakespeare. The trailer launches today, March 12th – check it out here!
I've designed bookmarks and bookplates for a pre-publication incentive.
I've crafted some Lover's Eye pendants, which resemble the one on the book's cover. An eye miniature plays an important plot point in The Lost History of Dreams. They were popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.
I'll be giving away one of them as part of a gift package sweepstakes, which is currently live but ends on March 26th. The gift package, pictured below, is worth $200 and features a calligraphy pen set worthy of a Victorian poet. I styled the photograph myself.
I designed social media headers featuring The Lost History of Dreams.
I traded art licensing for online and print ads, which I designed. To make the online ads more effective, I set up a special landing page at www.LostHistoryBook.com. The mobile-friendly page includes links to Goodreads, online retailers, reviews, and an excerpt of the book. Bottom line: I wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to learn about and purchase my book.
Once the book flies on April 9th, Waldherr shifts to post-publication mode. Again, in the author's words:
Author events galore! Besides a launch party, which Atria arranged at the Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan, I'll be going on book tour. Atria worked with me to set up the events — a lot of work! I'm mainly visiting cities where I have friends and family, to ensure a good turnout. When I was able, I coordinated my events with local author friends, so we could appear in conversation while presenting our books.
Spine has talked with Kris on several occasions, including for this piece on her nonfiction Bad Princess: True Tales from behind The Tiara.
Spine Authors Editor Susanna Baird grew up inhaling paperbacks in Central Massachusetts, and now lives and works in Salem. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including Boston Magazine, BANG!, Failbetter, and Publishers Weekly. She's the founder of the Salem Longform Writers' Group, and serves on the Salem Literary Festival committee. When not wrangling words, she spends time with her family, mostly trying to pry the cat's head out of the dog's mouth, and helps lead The Clothing Connection, a small Salem-based nonprofit dedicated to getting clothes to kids who need them. Online, you can find her at susannabaird.com and on Twitter @SusannaBaird.