On Tuesday, April 24, Cornerstone Press, a student-run publishing company, hosted a book launch for Author Elizabeth Caulfield Felt’s historical novel “Syncopation.” The launch began at 8 p.m. in The Encore at the Dreyfus University Center (DUC) and included a brief reading and book signing. Cornerstone Press is actually English 349: Editing and Publishing, a class in the English department at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and is advised by Professor Per Henningsgaard and President Alex Weise. It was Weise’s responsibility to notify Felt of the decision to publish her manuscript. He said she was very excited.
“Syncopation” is a memoir of Victor Hugo’s daughter, pianist and poet Adèle Hugo. Adèle struggles to find “personal freedom” while living under the strict societal roles dictated by 19th century France. She rebels against her father and, over the course of her life, becomes a seductress, thief and a liar. In an article published online on the University Relations and Communications webpage, Felt was quoted as saying of the novel: “I’m eager for people to read the story, and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss the book with my readers.”
Marketing Director of Cornerstone Press Emiline Buhler worked very closely with Felt in promoting the book in the weeks before the launch. Buhler said that Felt attended meetings once a week and was an adopted member of the marketing team. Buhler, Felt and the rest of the marketing team spread the word about the launch by using social media, writing invitations, organizing and coordinating discounts for the novel and plugging the book during trivia week. “One of the biggest projects we worked on was a promotional video for the book. It looks a lot like a movie trailer,” Buhler said. She said that students from the drama department were recruited to act in the video, and that it is posted online and plays as a preview for movies played in the DUC.
Sales Director Kristen Colgin noticed that the historical elements of the book were carried over into the book launch through the décor and paintings reminiscent of 19th century France. She was also impressed at the turnout. “There were at least 150 people there,” Colgin said. To date, Cornerstone Press has published a total of 32 books. Weise explained that the English 349 class had to choose from between 25 to 30 manuscripts that were submitted at the beginning of the semester. The manuscripts are read by students and ultimately narrowed down to three. Advisor Henningsgaard then has the class choose which manuscript they would like to see published. Colgin said that there will be more promotions of “Syncopation” over the next couple of weeks. She said on May 3, Felt will be conducting a book reading and signing at Zest Coffee House at 5:30 p.m. On May 10, she will be doing the same thing at the McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids.
“There will be a lot of the same events that took place at the book launch in a more informal setting,” Buhler said.