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University Presses are a force to #KeepUP with! 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of University Press Week and we’re celebrating with a guest blog from author Mary Martha Greene that we hope inspires you to #ReadUp!
When a beloved goddaughter was leaving for her semester abroad, she asked me if I’d teach her to cook when she returned – I told her I’d do her one better and write down all the recipes that have been special to my family and hers. I began writing the recipes and the accompanying stories began to flow. As friends found out I was writing a cookbook, they inquired how they could obtain a copy. I was very fortunate the University of South Carolina Press expressed an interest in publishing it, and in May of 2021 The Cheese Biscuit Queen Tells All made its debut.
The book sold out even before it launched, UofSC Press immediately ordered an additional printing – and three more have followed. Some of my friends were a little nervous about the “tells all” part of the title, so some of the success of the book may have been people buying it to make sure they were – or were not – in it! I think another reason the book has proven popular is the fact that most everyone has not only a favorite family recipe, but every family typically has THAT relative (or several) about whom there are legendary stories. In both the introduction and closing of my book I encourage others to write down and share their own family recipes and stories.
The meeting with the sales team from Columbia University Press was scheduled for December 2020 – in the midst of the Covid shut down. In order to give a little extra highlight to the book, I filled small paper take out containers with about two dozen cheese biscuits, and packed them in the smallest postal service box, I packed 4 mini lemon pound cakes around them as edible cushioning, and we mailed them to all the sales team along with the fall catalog. While they were hearing about UofSC Press’s new releases, they were also munching on some goodies from the book.
I’ve traveled from one end of the state to the other for book launches, in-store events, luncheons, book clubs, cooking demos, and everything else the team at UofSC Press and I could cook up for me to promote the book. I always have a plate of freshly made cheese biscuits at the ready. I've found they are a great way to get people to stop and talk about the book. Going into the Christmas holidays, I’ve found a retro wrapping paper that matches the cookbook and have been offering signed and wrapped copies ready to place under the Christmas tree. People will often buy additional copies for gift giving.
I’ve enjoyed incredible support from friends and fellow authors who’ve shared and recommended the book on their social media pages, hosted parties in their homes, invited me to book clubs, and many, many other kind things along the way. My best advice is to use all your contacts and think of creative ways to promote your book!
Learn more about the Cheese Biscuit Queen Tells All and shop online at bit.ly/CBQTAMMG
Mary Martha Greene, 2021
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