I spent a long time bringing Casey Eubanks, Orella Weicker, Martin Wolfe and the other characters in Casey’s Last Chance into life. I was with them as they emerged from the shadows and became, to me, three-dimensional humans with pasts, emotions, ways of speaking, idiosyncrasies. I got to know them intimately, and now I want others to know them, too. That’s one of the joys of writing. You get to introduce others to people who’ve become important to you.
Casey’s Last Chance is my first novel but third published book. I never felt like I had that much control over promoting my first two, which were published by university presses. I fought for them, of course, doing what I could to get word out, going beyond my publishers in setting up bookstore signings and readings. With Casey’s Last Chance, however, I’m like a proud mama who wants to make sure everybody sees her beautiful baby! My publisher is small with limited publicity resources. He did well with those resources, and initial sales were impressive.
After a while, however, things leveled out, and I began to see my novel fade into the mist. I decided I needed to take action. Writers have to be more involved in the business end given the realities of modern-day publishing. I’m an old reporter with three rolodexes filled with names and contacts. I went through all of them to make as many overtures regarding my book as I could—without being a pest, of course.
I considered doing a book trailer. It would be exciting, and I know some folks in the film business who could help make it a worthwhile undertaking. However, I wondered about publicizing and distributing the trailer effectively. With my publisher’s encouragement, I decided hiring a publicist might be the better option. That’s what I’ve done, and I believe my publicist, Maryglenn McCombs of Nashville, Tenn., has breathed new life into my baby’s marketability. In fact, she’s why I’m writing this blog post!
A good publicist has contacts far beyond any I could conjure. She knows the market, the publications, print or online, best suited to give my book attention. It’s her job to know how and where to get the word out, and she’s done that admirably.
I keep coming back to the baby metaphor. You don’t just bring that baby into the world and then sit back and say, “Job well done. Now I can rest.” On the contrary, your work has just begun. You’ve got to make sure you do all you can to help that baby make it in this world!
Title: Casey’s Last Chance
Author: Joseph B. Atkins
Publisher: Sartoris Literary Group
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book:
Tough, gritty, and atmospheric, Casey’s Last Chance unfolds against the backdrop of a treacherous, race-torn 1960s South that’s ready to explode with civil rights workers challenging an organized resistance itching for combat. The central character, Casey Eubanks, is a small-time North Carolina hustler on the run after an argument with his girlfriend Orella leaves his cousin dead. A crony steers him to a big operator in Memphis, Max Duren, a shadowy former Nazi with a wide financial network. Duren hires Casey to do a hit on labor organizer Ala Gadomska, who is stirring up trouble at one of Duren’s mills. Things go wrong, and Casey’s on the run again, this time from Duren’s goons as well as the cops. Enter Martin Wolfe, a freelance reporter investigating Duren’s operation. He tries to solicit Casey to help him and FBI agent Hardy Beecher bring Duren down. Casey dumps Wolfe, steals his car, and returns home to Orella. A bloody shootout with a Duren goon, however, convinces Casey to join Wolfe and Beecher. It’s Casey’s last chance. The three take off back across the South to execute a plan to destroy Duren. Everything works until the explosive end…but will anyone emerge unscathed?