The unending accounts of sexual assault on college campuses compelled me to write Survivors’ Dawn.
My goal in writing the novel was NOT to focus on the act itself, but instead, to write of the victim’s journey, to tell a story about the strength, courage, and determination of survivors, to describe the difficulties they face in their pursuit of justice, and finally, to offer hope for a future where students can pursue their dreams without fear of being attacked.
As Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens to You” implies, non-victims can never truly know how it feels to be assaulted, but we can try to empathize, and we can try to help. Awareness is key to reducing the incidence of sexual assault on campus. Please do your part by taking the It's On Us pledge and contributing to organizations that are fighting on the front lines.
Thank you to readers who give me encouragement. It means so much to me. Word of mouth is an incredible thing, so thank you also for telling your friends about Survivors' Dawn.
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About the Book:
A heroic story of three college women’s fight for justice
At first glance, Brooke Flanagan, Lauren Le, and Nikki Towers have little in common: a churchgoing virgin, a party girl, and a resident advisor. But they all have their own dreams, dreams that can be shattered in a single night.
When freshman Brooke Flanagan first arrives at the university, she’s excited to escape her sheltered life in a Southern town. Lauren Le, a scholarship student, likes to have a good time, but she never disappoints her hardworking, single mom. Nikki Towers always goes her own way. Confident, poised, and wealthy, Nikki’s biggest problem is what to do with her future.
Into these girls’ lives walks Colin Jordan. Colin is the son of a private equity titan, captain of his club basketball team, and a brilliant pre-law student. He is also a sexual predator.
Survivors’ Dawn relates a journey of heroes: the strength, courage, and determination of the victims as they fight to survive; the obstacles they face in their pursuit of justice; and finally, with its conclusion, hope for a future where students can pursue their dreams without fear of being attacked.
A contemporary novel, Survivor’s Dawn wrestles with issues of privilege, sexual assault, and the responsibility of academic institutions to protect their students.
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After your book was released, what was the first thing you did when getting ready for your book launch?
The first thing I did was to build a detailed marketing plan with tasks ranked by priority (High, Medium, Low). I now have forty-seven tasks in my marketing plan. Two-thirds of the high priority tasks have been done, and I have yet to spend my first promotional dollar.
Here are a few of the tasks in my plan: write marketing copy, load Amazon marketing copy using the Kindlepreneur free tool, create Facebook page for Survivors’ Dawn, and find five contests that accept eBook submissions.
After that, what was your next step?
I focused on updating my online presence: my website, twitter handle, and Facebook page. I wanted all of those marketing instruments to portray the right image for Survivors’ Dawn before I began spending marketing dollars.
Did you do anything different to spice up your website in lieu of your upcoming book release?
Absolutely. I updated my website to have a special page for Survivors’ Dawn and to include the marketing copy and quotes from early reviews. Also, I inserted links to buy the book on Amazon.
Did you ever consider using a PR agency to help you promote your book or did you prefer the DIY route?
I’m holding off on hiring a PR agency until I verify that Survivors’ Dawn has word-of-mouth power. In the past, I hired a public relations expert, and they did a good job, but the downstream lift was limited. I concluded that no book could be successful without the multiplying effect of word-of-mouth.
If readers enjoy your book but don’t mention it to their friends, the chances of you earning back the PR fee in royalties are mighty slim. On the other hand, if readers can’t wait to tell their friends about your book, you have a winner!
Were finding reviews a top priority for you and, if yes, how did you approach that?
I used to send free copies of my books to all my friends and ask them to post reviews, but eventually, that practice grew stale. Now I only send the book to a few friends who I know will enjoy the story and not mind posting a review.
With Survivors’ Dawn, I have hired Pump Up Your Book to arrange a blog tour, and I hope to receive some thoughtful reviews from that process. I used to believe I needed fifty reviews to successfully promote my book, but now I believe that selling books has more to do with the quality than the quantity of reviews.
What are your views on social media for marketing your book?
Play to your audience of readers. Fiction readers would rather follow a fun Facebook site than subscribe to a writer’s blog. But if you are a nonfiction writer with a following in a certain field (e.g. sports trivia), then posting new content to your blog every week will attract potential readers.
Did you write a press release and do you think it worked for you?
Not yet. Timing is important when it comes to writing a press release. A press release that announces a new release from Ashley Warren will not attract the same attention as a novel by Stephen King or James Patterson. But if a wealthy reader donates a million dollars to Its On Us after reading Survivors’ Dawn, I will write a press release. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.
Did you have other books you offered for free in order to help sell your present book?
No. I think offering the first book in a series for free is a great way to find new readers, but Survivors’ Dawn is not a series, so I haven’t used that approach.
Did you set up book signings and, if so, how did that work for you?
Survivors’ Dawn is not available in print. My budget demanded that I choose between hiring a great editor and spending money on print design. I chose editing, but if I sell enough eBooks, I’ll pump the royalties back into the print publishing process.
What was the best money you ever spent on your book launch?
Hiring Pump Up Your Book to arrange my blog tour. I could never have reached all the bloggers PUYB did on my behalf. They saved me hundreds of hours on submissions.
Any tips for those authors wanting to set up a successful book launch?
In addition to a blog tour, I suggest that writers budget a couple hundred dollars for fiction contests. When your novel is named as a finalist or winner of a contest, it gives you instant credibility, and it attracts new readers. Before submitting, check out the Self Publishing Advice Center’s Awards and Contest Ratings to steer clear of swindlers.
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Contests costs money, and there is no guarantee that you will win, but I still think it’s well worth the effort.
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