Start to Finish: Iditarod Nights

The process of publishing Ooligan’s second title from the Multnomah County Library Writers Project continues! Iditarod Nights by Cindy Hiday will launch in April 2020, and we can’t wait for you to read it. This action-packed romance takes place in Alaska and follows a budding relationship between Claire Stanfield and Dillon Cord, two mushers racing on the Iditarod Trail. Claire (a defense attorney from Portland) and Dillon (a former Portland police officer turned bar-and-grill owner) both have secrets about their traumatic pasts. They’re running the Iditarod to try and escape those secrets, but neither of them expected to fall for someone along the way.

Marketing Iditarod Nights has been a bit of a unique challenge. Ooligan Press does not typically publish romance titles, so doing research on romance bloggers and reviewers was a bit like reinventing the wheel; but it was rewarding to devote the time to ensuring that the book would be marketed in the best ways possible. We also focused on outdoor and adventure bloggers, Alaskan bloggers, a variety of Alaskan media, and some Iditarod-specific media outlets, along with general fiction bloggers, media outlets throughout the Pacific Northwest, and literary sites and podcasts around the country. It was fun to get a little creative with our marketing, too; since Iditarod Nights wouldn’t exist without the determined sled dogs, we spent some time researching sled dog and musher media. We even discovered the Iditapod, a podcast about all things Iditarod produced by NPR.

The design process for Iditarod Nights has been thrilling from the beginning as well. The cover above was not the result of our initial cover design brief—more on that in one of my future posts about designing romance covers—but all the same, we were very excited about the cool wintry tones and the gorgeous aurora borealis that are featured on the final cover above. This beautiful cover represents our best attempt at capturing both the majestic beauty of Alaska and the emerging romance between Claire and Dillon.

Iditarod Nights has undergone a line edit, a heavy copyedit, a medium copyedit, and a print proofread. We also spent some time fact-checking elements in the manuscript, like the various Alaskan towns and race markers that Claire and Dillon encounter. It was exciting to learn more about the history and traditions of the Iditarod through the fact-checking process. For more information about the Iditarod, which happens every year in March and traverses the state of Alaska, visit the official Iditarod website—and keep an eye out for Iditarod Nights from Ooligan Press, launching in April 2020!

Here’s some information about Cindy:

Writing in the spirit of adventure and happy endings, Cindy Hiday has won numerous honors, including first place in the Kay Snow Awards for Fiction from Willamette Writers. Her 2014 novel Father, Son & Grace (republished as Destination Stardust in 2019) is a Five-Star Readers’ Favorite and a local book club choice. Cindy draws inspiration from the beautiful state of Oregon, where she lives with her husband and four-legged friends. When she isn’t hard at work on her next novel or mentoring the latest group of writing talent as a part-time instructor for Mt. Hood Community College, Cindy enjoys hiking, gardening, and traveling. Follow her online here.

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