Getting Free Press

Like any new author, without much of a platform to speak of, I’ve struggled over how to get the word out on my young-adult, science-fiction novel, Aspects, Bright and Fair. There are plenty of great sites that review books, but there are so many books out there, that there’s a good chance they’ll never get to yours. I could likewise send my book to every newspaper website in the US, but they’re not going to review or even mention a book, unless there’s some catch.

So here’s what I’m starting to do. I asked myself what connections does my book have to real world places, either within the book or as I wrote it? I wrote it primarily in Philadelphia and in Big Bear Lake, CA, with some work done in Ojai, CA and some in Durham, NC. Now, can I get one of the major Philly papers or sites to do a piece on it? It seems unlikely, but I’m trying. Much of the book takes place in Philly, with very recognizable locales, so that helps. Add in that I taught in the Philadelphia public school system for seven years and it gives me a bit more momentum (if I was still there, it would doubtless give me more). And finally, I’m trying to use my personal connections to network my way in, fingers crossed.

Now, Ojai and Big Bear are much smaller places, with newspapers more likely interested in picking up a human interest story. Big Bear in particular seemed a good target. Not only did I write much of Aspects there, but also many street and place names wormed their way into the manuscript. Inside jokes to an extent, but enough that when I wrote the weekly paper, The Grizzly, they followed up and we’re trying to set up a phone interview. They don’t have a huge circulation, but it’s something.

Then I looked inside my book. A couple of chapters take place at Penn State and in the surrounding areas and I’m in the process of contacting the alumni magazine and student newspaper to see if I can get a mention of some sort.

In the universe of the novel (Book One of the Cordelian Chronicles), the central conceit is that there are numerous worlds extending in bubbles all around us. Joni and Kelly, our star protagonists, find themselves going to several of them. In one very small world, they find what appears to be a medieval kingdom, currently being occupied by high-tech invaders from another bubble. The natives are all descendants of The Battle of Maldon, which occurred on the English coast in 991 AD and about which an Anglo-Saxon poem was later written (J.R.R. Tolkien also wrote his own follow-up, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son). I therefore wrote the local newspaper, The Maldon Standard and told them about my story and the local connection. They were interested, interviewed me, and wrote the article, as well as sharing with their sister publications across southeast England (see below).

And whether or not it translates into many sales, I can now label myself as an internationally famous author. So that’s something.

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