Promoting Your Self-Published Novel Pre and Post-Publication

From Bookstagram to Launch Parties, What Did and Didn’t Work for YA Author Caroline Schley

Terena Bell
4 min readJul 14, 2021


Caroline Schley’s debut novel THE WEIGHT OF THE SKY was a #1 best seller in the Amazon store at launch, but it’s a triumph that didn’t come easy. Like most self-published authors, Caroline had to manage promotion on her own. As the young adult title turns two months old, she and I chatted about the difficult work that goes not just into putting your novel in the world, but into helping readers discover it’s there.

Congrats, Caroline, on the May 20th release of THE WEIGHT OF THE SKY. It’s been two months since it debuted in the Amazon store. What was it like to finally see the book in print?

It was so scary! After three years of laboring over every word, it was difficult to digest the idea that the story was entering a new phase of its life. It actually took me about two hours to work up the courage to open the package with the first proof copies.

Wow! But once the book published, your work was finally done, right?

Not exactly. Between the very first published proof copy I saw and the May 20 release date, there was about a month of very finicky micro-editing work. Since the publication, I’ve had to make two very minor in-line edits, but the publishing platform on Amazon is well set-up for that and very organized.

So that’s in terms of edits. What about marketing, like managing reviews?

Pre-release, I had a proof copy up on NetGalley so that advance readers could start leaving reviews. Immediately before publication, I took some time to write and publish my own Goodreads review with some backstory on the inspiration for the plot.

I saw a book signing on Instagram that got great buzz. Tell us more about that.

Launch party at La Osita in Madrid, Spain (Photo courtesy Caroline Schley)

First of all, I had always imagined book releases as taking place in bookstores or event spaces that cater to literary occasions. For several reasons, including Covid, it was much easier to host the…



Terena Bell

Reporter & fiction writer; series editor, Writing Through the Classics; short story editor for hire; sponsor more writing here: