Monday, April 3, 2017

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with 'The Investment Club' Doug Cooper

Doug Cooper is the author of the award-winning novel Outside In and The Investment Club available October 2016. He has a BS in Mathematics Education from Miami University and a MA in American Studies from Saint Louis University. Always searching, he has traveled to over twenty countries on five continents, exploring the contradictions between what we believe and how we act in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and love. Originally from Port Clinton, Ohio, he has also called Cleveland, St. Louis, Detroit, New York, and Oslo, Norway home. He now lives in Cleveland working on his third novel Focus Lost.



About the Book:

Forty million people visit Vegas every year but most never get past the strip. What about the people who live there? What brought them there? What keeps them there?

Told from the perspective of a seasoned blackjack dealer, The Investment Club tells the stories of a self-destructive, dwarf entrepreneur, a drug-addicted musical performer-turned-stripper, a retired, widowed New Jersey policeman, a bereaved, divorced female sportscaster, and a card-counting, former Catholic priest before and after their fateful meeting at the El Cortez Casino in downtown Vegas.

As the five learn the greatest return comes from investing in one another, their lives stabilize and take on new, positive directions. But their love and support for each other can take them only so far before they must determine the meaning and value of their own lives.


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Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I moved to Vegas to the area the novel is set and played blackjack in every casino on the strip and downtown to learn the game and scout the right locations to tell the story, of which the El Cortez downtown was the ideal place. In addition, I volunteered for the American Cancer Society to drive patients who were unable to find their own transportation to appointments to learn the area, meet locals, and give back to the community. For one of the main characters, Crystal Moore, the singer/dance-turned-stripper, I also visited all the strip clubs to find the appropriate place of employment for her — most certainly will be the most expensive character I ever research. LOL

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I queried agents and publishers.

If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?

My publisher, Rare Bird Lit, a division of Rare Bird Books, did the promotion and publicity for my first book. Throughout that process, I developed a relationship with the owner, Tyson Cornell. As I was contacting agents and other publishers and staying in contact with Tyson, it became clear they were the right publisher for The Investment Club. They specialize in literary fiction and publish books for the same reasons writers write them: to create art and share a message.

If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?

Yes, at $17.95 I think it is great value for the money for a 120K-word book.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

We chose a fall release in October to get it into the market and be ready for the holiday retail season.

How did you choose your cover?

The cover choice was a collaborative choice between me, the publishing team, and the sales reps with input from the retail outlets. One aspect I absolutely love about the cover is the gold foil stamping that was added to the matte black background with the red arrow and yellow lights. It conveys that Vegas bling without being ostentatious.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I did a lot of structure and outline work then wrote and revised hundred pages for the base then worked through the outline, periodically dropping back and editing for continuity and additional ideas.

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?  

One of the special SWAG items I created was a black $100 casino chip with the title on one side and my info and website on the other. If I was playing blackjack or out and about and asked what I did or when the book would be out, I would give them a chip. Works so much better than a business card.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

I did a book trailer for my first book Outside In (, but for The Investment Club, I decided to invest that money in other areas. I created other short videos from events and gifs with content to promote the book.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

I do giveaways and contests and leave copies of my books in cafes, bed & breakfasts, doctors’ offices, anywhere there is a library or other reading material.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

Following are the three most important things an author should do prior to release:
1.      Understand your market and the value your book delivers to readers.
2.      Build a platform from which to sell. Why are readers going to be interested in you and your book more than all the others you are competing with?
3.      Craft and hone your pitch: an elevator version, a medium one if they want to hear more, and an extended one if they are really interested.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

Following are the three most important things an author should do after release:
1.      Partner with other authors to collaborate and sell together.
2.      Engage the independent booksellers, not just in your area, but across the country. Don’t just focus on Amazon, B&N, and the other mega-retailers. Support the independents, and they will support you. But more than anything, we as a community and society need independents to promote artists and sell books.
3.      Be resilient. Don’t get discouraged and don’t take no for an answer. The demand for you and your books will not materialize on its own volition. You have to create it and maintain it until it develops its own power to sustain.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

I have all the social media accounts and did all the usual advanced notifications. One of the new things I did with this book is include fans in the development process. I offered the opportunity to readers I met through the release of my first book to be part of my beta-reading team. I sent them the final edit before the advanced reader copies were printed and ten questions to get their feedback, which I used to finalize the ARC. In exchange, I sent them a free signed copy and included them in the Acknowledgements. I also did contests to win ARCs and other contests.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

Being a character-driven book with five very different characters spanning the ages of 25-70 and from different backgrounds, I think The Investment Club would make a great TV show. There are so many directions you could take the story, and there is so much depth to drill into, you could expand on their stories in so many different ways. With over forty million people visiting Vegas every year, I’d also like to get a copy in hotel rooms and gift shops in Vegas.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

The Investment Club is a reminder that the greatest return we receive in our lives comes from investing in one another. We focus so much on what we want and have, but our greatest achievements are what we do for each other.

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