Monday, September 7, 2009

Making the news pays off

This article appeared in last week’s issue of the I-24 Examiner, a weekly tabloid newspaper in Cheatham County, Tennessee (the county seat is Ashland City):

Cheatham County
Public Library Hosts
Nashville Author
Chester Campbell
September 5

Years after a dangerous chemical is dumped behind a small plant outside Ashland City, its toxic effects ravage the small community below the hillside location. Placing the blame for what happens is the plot of The Surest Poison, a new mystery novel by Nashville author Chester Campbell.

The Cheatham County Public Library will host Campbell for a book signing on Saturday, September 5, from noon to 3 p.m.

The Surest Poison is the first book in the Sid Chance Mystery Series. Chance is a Nashville private investigator, formerly a Green Beret in Vietnam, a National Park ranger and a small town police chief. It was just voted best book and received the Falchion Award at the 2009 Killer Nashville Mystery Conference.

The state comes after the plant owner to pay the enormous cleanup cost, but the pollution occurred before he bought the property. Chance is hired to find who was responsible since the original company disappeared a dozen years ago. The guilty party doesn’t want to be found, however, and three murders occur, one of them an Ashland City man, as Chance pursues the investigation.

The book features many Ashland City locations. The main characters visit the newspaper office, and a news story leads to one of the main clues in solving the mystery.

The Surest Poison was published in April 2009 by Night Shadows Press. Campbell has also written four books in the Greg McKenzie Mystery Series, set mostly around Nashville. The books include The Marathon Murders, Deadly Illusions, Designed to Kill and Secret of the Scroll. They will also be available for purchase at the library signing.

Campbell is a former Nashville newspaper reporter, magazine editor, advertising and public relations writer. He retired as executive vice president of the Tennessee Association of Life Underwriters.

A portion of the day’s sales will be donated to the Friends of the Library. For further information, contact Library Director Brooke Mulligan.

End of story

The signing event turned out quite well. The newspaper story brought in several people, including one woman who had the clipping stuck in her pocket. The interesting part is that the newspaper printed the story word-for-word as I submitted it, right down to the headline (and the misspelling of the library director's name, which should have been Mullican). You may have heard this before and wondered, but here's living proof--small newspapers love to get ready-to-print copy. If you can write a decent news story, send it in. Note I began with the chemical pollution angle, a familiar subject these days.

If you're doing a small town signing, take advantage of the opportunity for a news story. It can pay off.


Helen said...

Congratulations Chester. And thanks for sharing the piece you wrote. It's a good blueprint for authors.

Straight From Hel

L. Diane Wolfe said...

And if you can't get a news blurb before the appearance, try for one afterwards by sending a wrap-up of the event with a photo or two to the media.

Congrats, Chester!

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Chester Campbell said...

Thanks, Helen. And good suggestion for a follow-up, Diane.

Maryannwrites said...

Nice article, Chester. I, too, have had great luck with sending a press release that is basically "the story" with a headshot and a picture of my bookcover. When I had my book launch last year, I got press in several small-town papers around here. It works.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Congratulations, Chester. I read the book and enjoyed it very much as well as your previous novels!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the successful signing, Chester. That's a pretty good tip about sending in printer-ready copy, too. Less work for them, I reckon!

Chester Campbell said...

Right, Maryann and Christina. Small papers love it when they get something they can use without a lot of revision.

Glad you enjoyed the books, Jean. I need to get back to work on the new one.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Thanks for the tip, Chester. And, congratulations on the successful signing.