Friday, August 3, 2012

Guest Blog: B.F. McCune on Paths to Publication

Authors quickly learn that they are responsible for a great deal of marketing and promotion, no matter if they’re represented by a major publisher or have self-published. Book signings are chancy; no one wants to sit alone at a table in a bookstore, looking ignored and neglected.

A Saint Comes Stumbling In
Another option to consider is creating a program for the public, combining entertainment, education, and marketing.  I participated in an event earlier this year, shortly after the publication of my first novel, A Saint Comes Stumbling In.  And if the program includes several authors, there’s even more benefit.

Our program was entitled “Paths to Publication:  panel with Mystery, Humor and ROMANCE.”  The organizer was my friend and critique partner Suzanne Young. She assembled a diverse panel. We knew that some potential audience members would be interested in mysteries, some in romance, some in nonfiction. She also insured that the panelists had a variety of publishing experiences. One is with a traditional small publisher, one was self-published electronically, I’ve gone with an electronic publisher, and Suzanne has switched to electronic self-publishing after being with a small press.

The event was relatively easy to organize. Steps included:
Find a good venue/sponsor, preferably one with a membership and ways to reach out to those members and the public (we used the Denver Woman’s Press Club).
Select a date and time (not too late at night) that most people will favor.
Divide responsibilities for sign-ins, refreshments, books sales, etc.
Insure the program provides equal opportunity for each speaker (NOT just reading from our books) as well as questions.

The challenge, as usual, was marketing. With four speakers, we were a step ahead of the game. Each of us has separate elists, mailing lists, and other contacts. Those of us with connections to the media or additional organizations, took responsibility for reaching them.

The response in terms of audience was excellent--an attendance of about 45 on a hot summer’s day. About half of those left their emails for future contacts. Book sales were moderate, but that wasn’t the main motive for the event. We found that electronic self-publishing was the primary interest from the audience. And for the speakers, we gained experience in making public presentations and tailoring presentations to potential writers.

c. 2012, all rights reserved, contact author for permission to reproduce.
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B.F. McCune, author of A Saint Comes Stumbling In, lives in Colorado. Her newest publication is IrishEpisode. Email her at or visit her website. She has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem to the Saturday Evening Post. Immediate rejection. This interest facilitated her career in public relations and also in freelance news and features. Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Her other fiction credits include publications in Infectiveinkwomen’s anthology Calliope, Overtime chapbook series, On the Premises, and the website Alfie Dog.  In fall 2012, one of her stories is to appear in Best New Writing. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world.
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Tagline:  Can a discarded wife find confidence, success and even a new love?  A patron saint might help.

Blurb:   Thirty-something Joan Nelson has more to contend with than a biological clock or an identity crisis, for her husband of twelve years has fled.  Despite her ardent belief in a conventional marriage, she finds herself deserted for a younger, slimmer woman. Lacking any skills or education, she's thrust unprepared into the nightmare challenge of making a living for the first time in her sheltered existence.
     A job as a receptionist in a law firm is the first rung on the ladder to her independence.  Yet the taste of success sours when Joan considers the emptiness of her personal life.  How can she reconstruct her damaged life and heal her bruised ego?  Ill-equipped for the singles scene, she embarks on a confusing, sometimes frightening, lifestyle.
     But when Joan stumbles on a crime perpetuated by a charming cad, she must defy her boss, jeopardize her newly won stability, and reject her friends.  Her namesake, Joan of Arc, provides a model of courage and insight.  If she risks danger and uncertainty, will she discover that independence and adulthood can be both enjoyable and fulfilling?  Does optimism beat pessimism?  Who would have dreamed her final victory could solve a childhood puzzle while it brings her true love.
     A Saint Comes Stumbling In features a strong, down-to-earth heroine full of hopes and dreams who unexpectedly and humorously becomes the heroine of her own story, in the manner, if not the scope, of Saint Joan.
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Want to be a guest blogger? Email me at That's what B.F. did.


Kim McMahill said...

Thanks for offering up advice on marketing. This is often the most challenge part of being an author.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting article! Lots of good information and it's practical, doable--not pie in the sky conceptual. Thank you.

ManicScribbler said...

A very interesting idea, Bonnie and it sounds as if it was enjoyable and not too daunting for the authors too.

I hope it generated interest in 'A Saint Comes Stumbling In' which is one of the best stories I've read in recent months.

Bonnie McCune said...

As Kim and Manic Scribbler know (both fellow authors), marketing is a challenge. Thanks for the kind words about the potential usefulness of the article's content. Bonnie McCune, author, "A Saint Comes Stumbling In"