Whatever I once thought about shelves of bookstores being laden with my book Dawn of Desegregation on the book’s publication date turned out to be wrong. In fact, in the months since its publication, I’ve heard of only one bookstore that stocks it—Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, New Jersey.
Why is it there? Well, that store is just special. Small, but really special. The owner loves to promote new authors and she always has something wonderful on tap.
Unfortunately, the University of South Carolina Press doesn’t have a big Public Relations staff so I can’t rely on them to let the world know how great and wonderful my book is. However, the Press did get me started and my book is now in almost two hundred libraries. That was my goal: to get the story of Briggs v. Elliott into print and into libraries. Whatever else happens, I can rest assured that the events that precipitated the first of the Brown v. Board public school desegregation lawsuits are now memorialized with their very own ISBN.
(In case you’re wondering, the ISBN is 98-1-57003-980-5 .)
Humans, however, are never satisfied. And, for better or worse, I am human. Reader feedback about Dawn has made me crave for large numbers of people to read my book. Especially when I read comments like the one by Marilyn Briant (author of the award-winning The Leopard and The Mouse) that said Dawn is an “important and moving story [that] should have a place in every school.”
I began ask myself, “What kind of publicity do I need to get Dawn into a lot of schools?” (I am realistic: I know better than to aim for every school.)
O. Omawale’s review said, “This is a quintessential American story of an important struggle to make a more perfect union as anticipated by the framers of the US Constitution. It needs to be read by Americans of all ages and races.”
That pushed my sights even higher. All that I now have to do is figure out how to get “a lot of Americans of all ages and races” to read Dawn of Desegregation.
The key is PUBLICITY!
Publicity can get more copies of Dawn into more libraries so that more people will read the fascinating story of Briggs.
Before even starting, I’ve given up on the humongous book store chains. I’ve been told they’re pretty much a closed market to writers like me. Anyway, people often fail to read the books they buy. And I want Dawn to be read. I believe that, in general, people read the books that they check out of libraries.
So, the key is librarians. Of course, as I reflect on what I’ve written, I must acknowledge that more individual sales would be a great help. —odg