Please welcome our guest today, Steve Cushman, as he talks about the sneaky ways authors can get their books into readers’ hands! Also – leave a comment or question for a chance to win his latest release: Heart With Joy.*
*Scroll down to read a summary of Heart With Joy
by: Steve Cushman
As writers we are always looking for ways to get the word out about our work and to get our writing into the hands of readers. This is particularly true if you are being published by a small press, like my latest novel Heart With Joy, which was published in September by Canterbury House Publishing out of Boo
ne, North Carolina.
One day, a fellow writer and I decided to do something he called Guerilla Marking to try to generate a buzz about my novel. This is how it would work: we would go around and drop copies of my novel off at various public places with the idea that people would pick it up, read it, and it might spark some interest. Perhaps even someone who picked one up would happen to be cousins with Francis Ford Coppola or Judd Apatow. They’d love the book and pass it on to their famous cousin and then I’d be a rich and famous writer. Well, you get the idea.
So we had done this around our hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina, and I’d gone to New York in September for work and left a couple of copies in Manhattan, Times Square, my hotel, etc..
At the end of October, I was traveling for work to Wisconsin with a layover in Chicago. I thought okay, I’ll drop one at O’hare and one in the airplane. So as we landed I slid a copy of Heart With Joy into the seat back in front of me and walked off the plane. Mission accomplished. Well, sort of. After an hour layover, I actually boarded the same plane again.
I was one of the last people on and as I walked in the flight attendant was standing at the door holding my novel. She smiled at me and asked, “Is this yours? I think you may have left it.”
I didn’t know what to say and wasn’t about to explain to her why I’d left a copy of my novel. If that wasn’t bad enough, as I walked back to my seat I passed a half-dozen co-workers and each one asked, as if they were part of some comedy script, “Steve did you see your books?” And each time I nodded, embarrassed.
Later, over drinks at the hotel, I admitted why I had left my book on the plane, joking that I couldn’t even give it away. They laughed, probably figuring I was crazy.
When we flew home, four days later, I left another copy of Heart With Joy in the seat back pocket in front of me, but this time I waited until we reached our final destination. I moved through the airport as quickly as I could, ever fearful of another well-meaning flight attendant chasing after me with a copy of my novel in her hand. It wasn’t until I was in my car, driving home, already plotting where I’d leave the next copy, that I was able to finally relax. Mission accomplished.
Heart With Joy
In Heart With Joy, fifteen year old JulianHale’s life is turned upside down when his mother suddenly moves from North Carolina to Florida under the pretense of running her parents’ motel and finishing the novel she has been working on for years. While Julian has always been closer to his mother and wants to go with her, she tells him he
has to stay with his father until the end of the school year.
Six weeks after his mother leaves, Julian’s father decides to run a marathon. This surprises Julian because he has never seen his father exercise, but once he agrees to help him train the two develop the sort of close relationship they’ve never had before. Also, with the help of an elderly neighbor, Julian learns that the most important thing in life is to follow your heart. And Julian’s
heart leads him to a passion for cooking and a young cashier at the local grocery store even as his parents drift apart. By the end of the novel, Julian is forced to choose between staying with his father and going to live with his mother.
Heart With Joy is an uplifting coming of age novel about cooking and bird watching, about writing and pottery, and about falling in love and the sacrifices we all make. But ultimately, it’s about following your heart and trusting that it will take you where you need to go.
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