By Anita Garner
That’s my family on the road, stopping at every radio station to sing a couple of songs and let people know we’d be coming soon to an All Day Singing or a tent revival near them. Our parents, Brother Ray and Sister Fern Jones, made it through the 1950’s with limited-to-no resources, touring with a car full of musical instruments and harmony-singing kids. We were the advance team driving from town to town with Leslie Ray and me mailing homework back to schools where we registered before leaving again.
When I signed a book contract last year I already had a publicity tour planned. I was eager to get going. The ways authors tell people about their books today keep expanding, but even with the boost from social media, the path to book sales still includes suitcases and planes and stops in many towns.
The publisher has two catalogs a year, Fall and Spring. I hoped my book would make the Fall, 2020 edition. I thought, oh yeah I can do that, get all my tour stops confirmed and hit the road by then. Two things became clear. 1) I knew little about the process and 2) Authors would not be hitting the road in the second half of 2020.
Getting a book into the world via a University Press is a much longer process than I knew. Having now been through acquisition, vetting, peer review, board review, editing, design and working on marketing plans while moving into production, Spring, 2021 makes sense. Today I feel a pang for every writer who worked long and hard on a manuscript and counted the days til their Spring 2020 or Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 release.
I’ve now received more release details. The Glory Road: A Gospel Gypsy Life arrives in April, 2021 from University of Alabama Press, 232 pages, 22 photos and lots of stories.
Everything we’d planned for publicity is being retooled. There’ll now be a different kind of launch, one I’m excited about. There will be guests. There will be music. How could there not be music?
I don’t accomplish this by myself. My part of the marketing plan for The Glory Road involves many people. Thank God for talented friends. We’re right this minute creating the ways we’ll share this show. If Daddy and Mother could see all this communications magic, they’d immediately adapt to using everything at their disposal. I saw them do that many times.
At the end of my book, there’s a list entitled, Gospel Gypsies Know. In light of the events of this year so far, the caption above, Gospel Gypsies Adapt feels more appropriate.