Peter Troy's novelAll of my publicity clients have either tracked me down or come through another client. All except one.

I found Peter Troy’s book at my small local library in the two foot section reserved for new books. Loving all things Irish, I was captured by the title immediately. And then I couldn’t escape the book. I was completely enthralled by the storytelling and wrote to tell him so. He answered back asking if I could help him with publicity.

I was thrilled, but I knew the book was already considered “old” having been released a few months prior. Troy had relied upon his large publisher for publicity, but they, having numerous authors and books to promote, couldn’t do his book justice. I did what I could, and found him opportunities and interviews he wouldn’t have had otherwise. But the worth of having a publicist was proven in one, simple act: I submitted paperwork for a prize for which his book was entitled to be in the running. His agent said she would make sure the publisher submitted the books. I suggested to Troy that we shouldn’t take that risk, and that he or I should submit the books before the deadline. His publisher did not submit it.

Peter’s book won the award because we were proactive in submitting it.

The bottom line is that you are your book’s best advocate. Next in line is your hired publicist. Take your book’s destiny into your own hands. Be aware of any awards and deadlines for which your book may be entered.

Oh, and if you haven’t read Troy’s book, go out and get yourself a copy. Or two or three for Christmas gifts. It’s beautiful writing, sublime reading, and powerful storytelling. Because of the award, his publisher is printing more books – so there will be plenty :).

“Historian David Blight to deliver Fortenbaugh Lecture, Peter Troy to receive Shaara Prize Nov. 19 at Gettysburg College’s Majestic Theater

Gettysburg College’s Majestic Theater will host the 52nd Annual Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture will take place on the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University, will present, “Ambivalent about Tragedy: Bruce Catton’s Civil War and Ours.” The lecture is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Gettysburg College’s Civil War Institute and Department of History. Tickets are required for this free event and can be obtained at the Majestic Theater Box Office, or by calling 717-337-8200.

In addition to the lecture, the $5,000 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction will be awarded to Peter Troy for his book May the Road Rise Up to Meet You.

About Blight

A professor of history at Yale University since 2003, Blight is currently writing a biography of Frederick Douglass that will be published by Simon and Schuster by 2015. Blight works in many capacities in the world of public history, including on boards of museums and historical societies. Blight’s newest book, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era (Harvard University Press, 2011), received the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Award for best book in non-fiction on racism and human diversity. Blight is also a frequent book reviewer and has written many articles on abolitionism, American historical memory, and African American intellectual and cultural history.

About Troy

Troy is a former high school history teacher from New York who spent fourteen years trying to make history come alive for his students before taking the grand leap to write a novel. He graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C where he majored in political science. He is working on the second book in a trilogy that will span one hundred sixty years of American history when it is completed, and is centered around a mysterious picture of Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address that is buried in a Cooperstown, N.Y. attic for more than a century and a half.

About the Fortenbaugh Lecture

The lecture was sustained during its first two decades by an endowment contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Clyde B. Gerberich of Mt. Joy, Pa., in honor of Fortenbaugh, who taught history at Gettysburg College from 1923 until his death in 1959. The endowment has been substantially supplemented by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harry D. Holloway Fund and Helwett Foundation. Bruce Catton delivered the first Fortenbaugh Lecture in 1962. He was followed by, among others, David Herbert Donald, John Hope Franklin, David Brion Davis, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., C. Vann Woodward, Eric Foner, John Keegan, Drew Faust, Jean H. Baker, Ira Berlin, and Gary Gallagher.

About the Shaara Prize

The Michael Shaara Prize was established in 1997 by Gods and Generals author Jeff Shaara, and is named in honor of his father, author of the novel The Killer Angels. The prize, administered by Gettysburg College, honors a novel about the Civil War and encourages fresh approaches to Civil War fiction.

About Dedication Day 2013

The Nov. 19 events in Gettysburg will kick off with the Dedication Day program at Soldiers’ National Cemetery, located along Taneytown Road. The ceremony, with speakers including U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson, begins at the Cemetery’s Rostrum at 10 a.m. More information is available at http://www.nps.gov/gett/parknews/gettysburg-address-150th-10-2013.htm.

About Gettysburg College and the American Civil War

These events are part of Gettysburg College’s American Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration. The College will sponsor events and programs throughout the anniversary that runs from 2011-15 with special focus on 2013, which marks the 150th anniversary of the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Battle of Gettysburg, and President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. For more information, visit www.gettysburg.edu/cw2013 and www.gettysburgcivilwar150.com.

Gettysburg College (then known as Pennsylvania College) played a vital role in the Civil War, with more than 200 alumni serving the Union or Confederacy, and the College’s Pennsylvania Hall functioning as an observation post and hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg. On Nov. 19, 1863, College students and faculty processed to hear Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address at the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Earlier in the year, an 1851 graduate of the College, prominent attorney David Wills, had invited Lincoln to deliver “a few appropriate remarks” at the cemetery’s dedication. Lincoln stayed with the Wills family on the square the night before delivering his famous speech.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college, which enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students, is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.”