For over thirty years, Don Weeks was among the most popular radio personalities in the Capital District region of New York State. He received a Marconi Award for radio excellence in 2005 and was inducted into to the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame four years later. He had just completed a rough draft of Scarecrow on the Marsh when he died of Merkle Cell Cancer in March of 2015. Author royalties from this project will be donated to the WGY Christmas Wish Campaign, which benefits a variety of charitable causes. Weeks worked tirelessly over the years to help raise money for the campaign.
Jonathan Weeks has published several books on the topic of baseball--four non-fiction projects and one novel. His latest work, a mystery-thriller entitled Scarecrow on the Marsh, is a posthumous collaboration with his father--former radio icon Don Weeks, who passed away in 2015. Weeks finished the book in fulfillment of a promise he made to his father before he died.
Visit Don at:
About the Book:
When the mutilated body of renowned cosmetic surgeon Randall Landry turns up at a secluded bayside marsh in the town of Sandwich, Police Chief Thom Burrough's life is turned upside down.
Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?
The first draft of Scarecrow on the Marsh was written by my father, so this put me at a bit of a disadvantage. He had chosen Cape Cod as the setting because it was his favorite vacation spot and he was intimately familiar with the place. I myself had not been there in years so I was forced to consult street maps, travel brochures and Google Earth to get the lay of the land. Since the novel deals with terrorism and I had only a rudimentary understanding of the subject, I had to look up a lot of information online. There’s an interesting website known as the Global Terrorism Data Base. It provides details of more than 150,000 terrorist attacks. I used it repeatedly. The fact that there have been that many attacks scared me a little.
Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?
I pursued traditional publishers. I didn’t have a literary agent so most of the biggies were off the table. I reached out to roughly thirty publishers before I got my first contract offer. I ended up signing with an indie outfit that uses a print-on-demand format. I like that arrangement. It reduces publishing costs and increases author revenue.
If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?
I trolled their website and checked out some of the books they had published. I looked around for author feedback from outside sources. They had a reputation for being tough editors. I liked that. I also liked their cover designs.
If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?
I think that a lot of paperback books are too expensive nowadays. It’s not my publisher’s fault. Their prices are competitive. But $15.99 is a little steep. I know the Kindle versions are cheaper, but I’m an old-fashioned guy. I like to have a real book in my hands.
Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book? Why?
My book was actually published months ahead of schedule. It put me in a bind in regard to promotion. I hadn’t even formulated a full plan yet.
How did you choose your cover?
I definitely wanted a scarecrow on the cover in some context. My oldest daughter and I made a homemade scarecrow and took pictures of it. We tried to enhance the pictures with a Photoshop program but nothing really stood out so we scrapped the project. The publisher came up with the final design with some input from me. I’m happy with the way it turned out.
Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?
My father completed a rough draft before he died. I intended to edit the chapters as I was reading them then quickly realized I didn’t know where the plot was headed. I ended up reading it all the way through and taking notes before I actually made changes.
Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?
Nope. No swag. I’m donating all author royalties to a charity sponsored by the radio station my Dad worked at for thirty years—810 WGY. It’s located in upstate New York. They’re doing a station-wide promotion with a heavy push around the holidays. The charity is called Christmas Wish. It benefits sick and underprivileged children.
Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book? If so, what’s the link?
I love movie trailers but have to admit I’m not a big fan of book trailers. I think they plant unnecessary imagery in the minds of readers. I want my audience to come up with their own mental pictures.
What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?
I don’t mind at all. I’ve done Goodreads and Amazon giveaways for all the books I’ve published. It’s great publicity—and a good way to get reviews for your book.
What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?
Determine who your target audience is.
Figure out how to reach them.
Use every social media outlet at your disposal.
What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?
Make yourself available to the media.
Gather as many reviews as possible.
Don’t be afraid to give away free copies to get reviews.
What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?
I have my own blog and I also used Facebook. Book Blasts are a great investment. Book Giveaways also help spread the word. If you know the release date of your book, you can start them a month ahead.
Do you have a long term plan with your book?
After WGY’s holiday push is over, I may invest in a Book Blast. I also intend to try to get some copies into bookstores on Cape Cod, where the novel is set.
What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?
I believe I mentioned before that all author royalties are going to charity. The annual WGY Christmas Wish Campaign benefits sick and underprivileged children. It’s a great cause. Having this book published was my father’s dying wish so picking up a copy is a charitable act on multiple levels.