Publicity Payoffs: Emily January

Stevan Allred

A stack of early copies of A Simplified Map of the Real World awaits signing on my dining room table, otherwise known as Forest Avenue Press headquarters.

I’ve been working on this one book for nine months, which isn’t long in terms of writing a book, seeing as it usually takes me five to seven years to finish a manuscript. But I haven’t been writing this particular book. I’ve been editing it, working with the author, laying out the interior pages, contacting bookstores, contacting reviewers, sending advance copies out to book bloggers and interviewers and radio stations and newspapers. I’ve written publicity copy, like the back cover paragraph, and letters to people who might connect with the book as much as I have. I’ve submitted it to numerous committees and workshop coordinators. And I’ve written a little about that here on this blog.

The book, of course, is Stevan Allred’s A Simplified Map of the Real World. He started writing this linked short story collection a decade ago, and in these last nine months, nearly every day, as the founder of Forest Avenue Press who gladly accepted this manuscript for publication, I have done something to help his book, this beautiful funny book, arrive in the world. I am the editor, publisher, publicity director, intern coordinator, bookstore liason, shipping department, you name it.

Publicity, two weeks out from our Sept. 12 launch date, seems to me a bit like popcorn. The heat is on, and the very first kernels are beginning to do their thing.

Pop, pop, pop!

This morning we received our first coverage by a book blogger. I met Emily January through this blog and soon became an avid follower of her blog, The Bookshelf of Emily J. I always enjoy what she has to say about what she’s reading, and our tastes in literature are similar.

After I read a piece she wrote about her father, I asked Emily if she’d be interested in a sample story from A Simplified Map of the Real World.

You can read more about that and Emily’s thoughts here: “Born to Bump: Allred’s New Short Story Collection.”

As we move forward with the launch, I’ll probably post other exciting reviews and developments, always with an eye toward sharing what I’ve learned as a writer, publicist, and publisher, in the hopes that my journey helps some of you. Emily’s a great example of targeting content to a blogger, instead of just reaching out to everyone in the universe. Her essay about her father really struck a chord in me, and made me immediately think that she’d appreciate the title story in Stevan’s collection. I’m so glad it worked out, and am especially excited she loves Arnie and Volpe, two recurring characters who are dear to my heart as well.

About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
This entry was posted in Books, Community, small press, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Publicity Payoffs: Emily January

  1. Ariel Price says:

    I found your site through Emily (she’s wonderful!). It’s so neat that you’ve started your press from home and are finally seeing a book brought to life—living the dream! Congratulations on all of your hard work and what sounds like a great collection of stories.

    • Hi, Ariel. Thanks for stopping by and for the congrats! I adore Emily, too, and was so thrilled with today’s review. My small press started as an experiment, and it has turned into this amazingly wonderful thing, with Stevan’s book launching our fiction catalog. I’m so grateful for all our authors and our volunteers–and I can’t wait to see how we grow in 2014.

  2. Lovely first review, indeed. What an exciting time, Laura. I like your popcorn analogy. Payoff for all your (and Stevan’s) hard work lurks just around the corner. Anticipation…

  3. I think the idea of targeting content to specific bloggers is really important. I think some people just approach it by numbers (“I sent out xxx numbers of queries today!!”), but nobody wants to be just #75 in your list of xxx queries. 🙂

    Plus, you’ve got a much better chance of getting reviews that might actually encourage people to buy the book.

  4. Congrats, Laura. I also found you through Emily J. Thank you for following me. I look forward to reading more about your upcoming publications.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s