On the beat

Local author navigates e-book waters

By Jim Bucher

Are you one of the new converts, giving up on the thrill of holding a physical book in your hands for the ease and privacy of using a digital device?

If you said yes, you are still in the minority.

Check this out: the latest statistics from Nielsen Books & Consumer show e-book sales in the U.S. made up 23 percent of unit sales, hardcovers 25 percent and paperbacks 42 percent of sales.

But who woulda thunk just a few years ago, you could be reading a book electronically and traditional bookstores would be struggling?

Well, the e-publishing journey has been a fun ride for one local author.

She is Marisa (Mo) Dillon, whose debut novel, “The Lady of the Garter,” went on sale in December exclusively on Amazon as an e-book. Her publisher, Soul Mate Publishing, releases most of its titles this way.

Recently, I found out, there’s a big upside to this strategy.

“Buch, what’s great about being exclusive with Amazon, even just in the beginning, is that you get access to their promotion machine,” Dillon explained. “For a first-time author like me who doesn’t have a loyal following yet, they are perfect for launching a writing career.”

Sounds pretty easy right?

“It is, they use their search engine algorithms and key word strings to suggest books to its customers,” Dillon said. “Call it the Dewey Decimal System of the 21st century. Amazon works its magic to help readers find the books they want.”

And look at this, according to Forbes.com estimates, Amazon earns between $265 million and $530 million a year from e-books and they sell their own Kindle e-book reading device, pretty smart huh?

Marisa’s book, “The Lady of the Garter,” is set in the late 1400s.

When it came to writing this book, Dillon said she had today’s historical romance reader in mind, but it reads like a modern novel.

And with my attention span it’s perfect, her book is written tightly, so you can finish it in a day or two.

OK, in a nutshell, the heroine, Lady Elena, is a strong, independent woman determined to achieve two goals: win the heart of Sir James, a knight in the Order of the Garter, and to attain knighthood herself.

The story grows as Elena disguises herself as a boy, becomes James’ squire and follows him into battle, but Elena’s determination and strength are tested as she confronts obstacles put in place by her nemesis, the evil Sir Nicholas.

The twists and turns lead the reader on a romantic, high-spirited adventure that follows one woman’s pursuit of honor and true love.

What do reviewers say about the book? Well, let’s just say local, first time author done good.

“What do you get when you mix an alpha knight in shining armor and a feisty lady in need of one? That equates to a rollicking, fast-paced tale of love, honor, mystery and revenge,” wrote reader (and established author) Terri Valentine on Amazon.com, adding, the story will “hold you spellbound page after page.”

“If you’re looking for an exciting romance read, look no more … this is it,” wrote Patricia L. Cantrell. “Great first book by this author, and looking forward to her next book. Marisa is a wonderful storyteller.”

Valentine, Cantrell and many reviewers gave the book five out of five stars.

The book is also getting favorable reviews on Good Reads.

So, why write a historical romance?

“The inspiration for the story came to me after a trip I took back in time one autumn afternoon,” Dillon said. “We have one of the largest and most authentic Renaissance Festivals in the country held every year in Harveysburg. I go every year and one time, I dressed the part and took a ride on a warhorse. I was so inspired with the jousting reenactments, danger, romance, chivalry, comedy, comradery. It was all there and I wanted to write a story about that world.”

By the way, Dillon does most of her writing on the weekends because she has a day job.

She is a long-time local TV ad sales account rep who I got to know when we worked together at Channel 2 and currently is doing the same at WKEF Channel 22 and WRGT Channel 45.

You can find more Mo at: marisadillon.com.

So, this e-book thing is really cool, but what on earth am I going to do with all these paper bookmarks?

Cheers and happy reading,

Buch

A regionally known and loved local television icon for over 25 years, “Buch’s” followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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