Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Promotion the Weak Link

For authors, there are so many tasks to undertake, and most of them, I think, are relatively easy. You can come up with an idea or premise for a story, you can create characters, devise a plot, fill it with events as the plot unfolds, you take care of the prose, you improve it, you make sure all of the punctuation is correct, the meanings of your words, you make sure you use your verbs properly, you don't confuse transitive verbs with intransitive verbs, and you make sure you don't misuse your dialogue tags. Then you find a publisher, and then you get an editor and you get your cover design.

But the one thing that mostly seems to be beyond the author's control is promotion. And that's because promotion/marketing just isn't in the equation for most authors. At least not authors who have a limited budget. Big publishers can advertise on TV, in magazines, in newspapers, etc. I've heard of books that are already on the NY Times bestseller's list BEFORE they've even been published!

Just how that works is beyond me. Do people buy books or order them before they are published? How do they even know about them? That must be some awfully good marketing then. To have sold enough  copies of your book to make the bestseller's list before it's even been released!

I have heard of hiring a publicist, and I suppose a lot of authors do that. But there's that budget thing again. I've heard of making reader's lists, email lists, and blogs, and all of that sounds nice, but does any of that work? I know of one thing that works. TV commercials. Because I think most people do watch TV at least sometimes. Others a lot of the time. And those pesky commercials are always there. You can't help but to see them, even if, like me, you hate them. But there's that budget problem again.

The best way for someone like me to promote a book is to get that book into a bookstore. But that brings up another problem. Small publishers don't do that. So it would behoove an author to be published by a big publisher. How? Keep writing books. Small publishers are a great way to begin your publishing career. But you don't just stop there. You keep writing new books, and you keep finding new publishers. Then, and only then will you get a big publisher, who will then get your book into a bookstore.

So the journey continues. Forever forward!

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