I published my second book. Now what? Keeping the fire burning.

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Yesterday, my second young adult novel, Vestal, officially went live on Amazon. On this day two and a half years ago, I was anxious, nervous, and excited because my first young adult novel, Scourge of the Righteous Haddock, was officially available on Amazon. I could only imagine what would happen next: the excitement, the reviews, the interest from publishers who had dismissed my query letters.

Not so much. The day you publish a book, there’s a fair amount of interest and support from friends, family, and people who know you as that weird girl in the office who talks entirely too much about cats. But in the days after … crickets. Last time around, it broke my heart. This time around, I’m a little more realistic. Besides, I’ve got my hands full revising Book Three and preparing to write Book Four.


Still …

Vestal might not be my first book, but it warrants a little more mileage than my half-


Vestal reference notes.

hearted attention on social media. I’ve never been much good at pimping out my own work, however much I believe in its value, so I’ve created a handy list of ways you–readers, family, accomplices, curious bystanders–can help me pimp this indie novel (if you’ve got the time and the inclination, no pressure). And, I should add, if you happen to know another independent artists, business owner, etc. that you’d like to support, many of these points are probably applicable there as well. I happen to know a lot of other artists who deserve more limelight than they typically receive.

So here it is. Ten ways to support Vestal (and indie authors in general). If you feel like it.

  1. Buy and read the book. It’s available at Amazon.com for $12.99 for a print copy and $2.99 for the ebook. While this is so obvious it probably wasn’t really worth mentioning, it is the most direct and obvious way to support the book.
  2. Share the book on your Facebook page. A basic “hey folks, my friend wrote this, so if you’re in the market for a book and you want to easily be able to tell the author you don’t like it, this is a great option” would be very much appreciated.
  3. Share the book on your Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Hashtag the crap out of it (some suggestions include #youngadultbooks #ancientrome #lgbtromance #reincarnation and #Coliseum.
  4. Submit a photo of yourself sniffing the book to my book sniffer files. I really enjoy sniffing books, and I love the idea of readers smelling my books. Yeah, I’m weird. I’m a writer; I’m supposed to be.
  5. If you haven’t already, friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter (@ASchwellenbach) or Instagram (JaneEyreDrinksButterbeer), or connect with me on LinkedIn. It might not help Vestal specifically, but it will ensure that you hear about future books and possibly even have an opportunity to contribute ideas (I’ve been known to use Facebook as a think tank).
  6. Share the book on your website. You can review it, write a blog about it, or simply mention that the author is this crazy girl you know. If you’re looking for a unique take, I’m happy to answer questions, provide background on the novel, etc. I love talking about my books. Trust me.
  7. Actually tell people about the book in a non social media situation. (I know these don’t really exist as much anymore, but if you happen to find yourself in one and someone’s asking if you happen to have any recommendations for a young adult novel with a strong, quirky lesbian protagonist …)
  8. Review the book once you’re finished reading it. And I’m not asking for a fake, glowing review. I genuinely appreciate honest feedback, and people are often reluctant to buy a product on Amazon that has no reviews. Plus, I wanted to create a dialogue and you, as a reviewer, can help get that dialogue started.
  9. If you know anyone who has a store/ bookshop/ lemonade stand that might be interested in carrying the book, let them know about it.
  10. Ask your local library to carry it. Most libraries have a section of their website where readers can request specific books. Simply put in a request for Vestal by Ashley Schwellenbach. 

This list might seem a little daunting. Unless you’re the slightest bit Type-A like me, in which case you’re thrilled by the challenge. Really, I don’t expect every single person to do every single thing on this list. I’m the damn author and it’s hard for me to find time to do everything I’m supposed to do to promote this book. Even one mention on social media or in casual conversation is huge for me. I’m not trying to climb to the top of a bestseller list; I’m trying to connect with readers who will find a story like Vestal meaningful.

Thanks for your support. It sounds so flimsy against the weight of my gratitude to all the people who have helped me along this journey, but there it is nonetheless.



  1. Congratulations on publishing your second book AND building a picket fence and not having it fall over! I have many fond memories of living in the Green Lake neighborhood when I first moved to Seattle.

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