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Local authors adapt to market changes

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This has long been the book buying season, something shown by the lines in the few surviving bookstores. And, that's the problem, the few surviving bookstores. WBFO's Mike Desmond spoke with some local authors about marketing their work.

Christina Abt has four books out there, books she now self-publishes. To sell them, she travels to develop new markets.

"Someone will invite me to stay with them and then they will help me put together four or five book clubs that want to read my book. I don't ask for any money but ask them to buy the books from me," Abt explained. 

As a self-publisher, she keeps 75 percent of a book sale. In traditional publishing, she says that rate can dip to "12 percent or five percent or two percent."

Marti Gorman is CEO of Buffalo Heritage Press, a local publisher of glossy, beautifully printed books about local topics.

"I publish gifts that are cleverly disguised as books. And, they all have a purpose and the majority of them the purpose is to instill pride in Buffalo. It's to engender respect for Buffalo," Gorman said.

The local publishing crowd is across the board, from fiction to history and neighborhood history. It's also increasingly multi-cultural. Marilyn Foote pitches her Puddinhead series of Christian books to local churches, preaching traditional values.

"My books are e-books as well. So, then I do satisfy that market. So, if they really want to get me as an e-book, they can," Foote said. 

Some books start small and expand, like the Black Rock Historic Photo Project. The work began as a look at businesses in the community. It eventually evolved into a community history, said lawyer Mark Peszko.

"Over the years, people started submitting pictures not only of businesses but industry, their family, schools, churches, events that took place at the Polish Cadets Hall which is still in existence at Grant and Amherst Street," Peszko said.

Alice Loweecey stresses social media in pushing her books about a nun who becomes a private detective, most recently "Nun After The Other."
           

"You have to make connections with people and that's what I do. I forge bonds. We talk food. We talk other stuff and then they spread the word," Loweecey said.

That's what it's all about, moving those books and there are a lot of ways to do it, turning that "I have a story" into ink on paper.
 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.