My vote, at least for spring 2014, is Randy Pierce, the sitting Mississippi Supreme Court justice and the author of Magnolia Mud, that can’t-put-it-down tale of a fictional governor’s race in Mississippi. It’s truly mind-boggling how much time Randy has spent on the road this spring as he has juggled book signings with court responsibilities and family time.

But it absolutely has to be done, if you want your book to sell–especially if you’re working with a smaller publishing house. There are only a handful of “rich” authors who can hit the deadline on that next bestseller and know the money is going to pour in. All the rest of us (even many with contracts at major publishing houses) should be looking to constantly get our name and work out there at every available opportunity. As John Evans, proprietor at Lemuria Books in Jackson, once told me, “One book at a time.” He meant that in the context of sales, for me as a publisher. And he’s right.

It takes a great deal of time and effort to build a substantial fan base as an author, and it really surprises me to meet prospective authors and sense that they don’t want to put in the hard miles–or feel they shouldn’t have to. Likewise, I’ve heard these infamous words a number of times–“I’M NOT DOING THIS FOR THE MONEY”–and at the risk of sounding cynical, simply saying such a thing conveys the opposite. Should you expect professional treatment from your publisher and to be paid every cent you’re owed in a timely manner? Absolutely. But until you’ve sold a ginormous amount of books and are mentioned in the same breath as John Grisham, Harlan Coben, and Greg Iles, remember that you’re writing for one very important reason: you love doing it. And be prepared to drive your backside off if you’re fortunate enough to land a contract with any publisher, big or small.

Uh, Dad, there aren’t any pictures in this book!

John Floyd has a new book coming out four short months from now! If you’ve read his excellent mystery/suspense story collections, you know that each one has 6-8 humorous mysteries featuring small-town sheriff Charles “Chunky” Jones who solves crimes with the assistances of Angela Potts (his third grade teacher) whether he wants the help or not. And now, by popular demand, we’re about to roll out 50 Mysteries (The Angela Files). If you’ve enjoyed John’s Chunky/Angela stories in Woman’s World over the years, we’re using the same “question/solution” format. What does that mean? Well, remember the old Encyclopedia Brown paperbacks from a generation ago, where the teenage sleuth solved crimes and mysteries, and all the stories ended with something like, “How did Encyclopedia know who stole Uncle Fred’s jar of tomatoes? Turn to page 138 to find out.” That’s what we’re doing with John’s new book. John has gotten absolutely fantastic feedback to the Chunky/Angela stories over the years, and we aim to please. So an entire book of them is coming!

Always good for a laugh: listening to John read the Chunky/Angela stories aloud.

John is also part of a new anthology called Trust and Treachery, and he’ll be on a panel at the 2014 Louisiana Book Festival on November 1 in Baton Rouge.

My next book, Director’s Cut, is the fifth volume of my Oakdale series, and will be published at the same time John’s new book comes out. I can’t wait to gas up the Bookmobile and hit the road to speak and sign books at venues large and small–some of my very favorite moments in my decade-plus of writing books and working with authors have come at some of our smallest Mississippi libraries in front of a dozen people. There is absolutely nothing more gratifying when someone says, “I have all of your books, and I wanted to make sure I got up here so you could sign the new one.”

That’s me at my church’s annual Cajun Fest event. I stayed away from the space jump again this year.

The vantage point I have as a publisher and marketing nerd (as well as that of an author) gives me a different perspective when watching what independent bookstore owners–such as Scott Naugle of Pass Christian Books on the Mississippi Gulf Coast–and his staff go through to get ready for a BIG EVENT, such as the recent Robin Roberts appearance. The beloved Good Morning America anchor grew up right there on the Coast, and there was a throng of folks who came out to purchase her new book. Among them were Randy Pierce and Valerie Winn–all of us enjoy meeting mega-selling authors, too, especially when it comes to someone as genuine as Robin Roberts.

Two very talented authors…two very hard-working people…one really neat bookstore!

And let me mention a book for you to be watching for, especially if you live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast: first-time author Anthony W. Kalberg’s fascinating novel, A Chasing of the Wind. Anthony has a background in theater and stage presentation, and he has lived through Katrina, Camille, and other destructive hurricanes on the Coast. He also loves a good crime story, and Wind begins with the grisly discovery by the local sheriff of two men…a crime that takes over two decades to solve. It’s a great read, and you’ll enjoy meeting Anthony when he hits the book-signing circuit late this year.

Joining the ranks of Mississippi authors very soon…

Of course we’d love to sell you a signed book, but we offer most of the Dogwood Press titles through download via Amazon Kindle. Start reading, as they say, in less than a minute!

RANDY PIERCE – Magnolia Mud
VALERIE WINN – Forsaking Mimosa
JOE LEE – The Magnolia Triangle
JOE LEE – The Long Road Home
JOE LEE – Last Chance Texaco
JOHN M. FLOYD – Clockwork
JOHN M. FLOYD – Deception
JOHN LEE – The Legend of Roger

Randy Pierce continues the Magnolia Mud tour this week with a stop in Vicksburg on Thursday at Peterson’s Antiques and Art Gallery (4-6pm), and he will visit the lovely city of Natchez this Saturday with a signing at Turning Pages Books (2-4pm).

For the entire list of Dogwood Press titles, book signing schedules, and cool photographs, visit the ALL NEW Dogwood Press web site at! Thanks very much for your time, and have a great day!

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