Biblio file, 2014–2015

 

University of Indianapolis faculty are busy writing, editing, and contributing to scholarly works. Here are some examples of UIndy faculty who published in 2014–15.

A fresh take on sport marketing

DeGaris-book-coverProfessor Larry DeGaris doesn’t just teach sports marketing. Now he can say that he literally wrote the book. Aimed at college students and practitioners, Sports Marketing: A Practical Approach is billed by publisher Routledge as “the first textbook to offer a comprehensive, engaging and practice-focused bridge between academic theory and real-life, industry-based research and practice in sports marketing.” In fact, a professor from another institution liked the approach so much that she arranged to begin using it even before it was officially published in February. At least one other college program already plans to adopt it. DeGaris, director of the Sports Marketing program in UIndy’s School of Business, says he wanted to improve on existing books in the field, which tend to use sports-related anecdotes to dress up otherwise-generic surveys of basic marketing principles.
“My students were my main motivation for writing the book,” he says. “I wasn’t satisfied with the other textbooks and thought they deserved better.”

Thus, DeGaris tried to tackle the subject fresh, from the ground up, drawing on his own experiences as a nationally known research consultant to the sponsorship and sports marketing industries. He has personally conducted more than 100 research studies for sponsors and sports organizations including Home Depot, Bank of America, Pepsi, the NFL, NHL, and LPGA. He is a sought-after source for journalists worldwide on the intersection of business and sport. Beginning with the premise that generating revenue is the sports marketer’s primary role, Sports Marketing: A Practical Approach focuses on the key areas of ticket sales, media, and sponsorship, exploring such topics as fan development, brand management, media rights and revenue, live events, retail merchandising, sponsorship, and business-to-business opportunities. Research findings are incorporated into every chapter, as well as guidance for building a career in the field. “The book is very career-focused,” says DeGaris, who holds a PhD in Sport, Leisure, and Exercise Science from the University of Connecticut. “I included a lot of actual job descriptions from the industry to show how what you learn in the book gets used in the industry.” Hulda Black, an assistant professor of marketing at Illinois State University, learned of the book online before it was published and contacted DeGaris, who provided proofs of initial chapters so her students could begin using it early. “I was searching for a book that went beyond the basics and immersed students in the ins and outs of sport marketing, as well as what it meant to actually have a career in the industry,” Black said. “From its focus on ticket sales to the integrated marketing communication aspects involved in sponsorship, this book leaves the students with a sound understanding of the industry, as well as great insight on working in sports marketing.”

Preparing for literary spotlight

ZappiaAt age 3, Francesca Zappia was screened for autism. “The teacher doing the testing said that I was the lowest-functioning child she had ever seen,” says Zappia, apparently just a late bloomer. She was a Dean’s List student at UIndy before graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, minoring in Mathematics. But this spring was significant to her for another reason, too. May 19 was the day her debut novel, a quirky and thoughtful teen mystery titled Made You Up, was released nationally in 448-page hardcover by a subsidiary of big-league HarperCollins Publishers. The Greenwillow Books imprint specializes in young adult fiction, or YA, the genre popularized by such mega-selling writers as J. K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Indianapolis’s own John Green. Thanks in part to a national marketing push that has included advertising, social media, and outreach to librarians and educators, the book was touted among the most anticipated YA novels of 2015 by critics for Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, Barnes & Noble, and PopCrush. MTV News called her “John Green’s favorite author” after he tweeted a congratulatory message on the release date. The attention “is both extremely humbling and kind of terrifying,” Zappia said in an interview with the Indianapolis Star. “I’m so grateful for these articles. Sure, there’s pressure in it, but I’d rather someone read the book with high expectations than never read the book at all.”

The 22-year-old Franklin Central High School grad marked the launch date with a reading and book-signing event at the Greenwood Barnes & Noble (photo). She already has deals for translations to be published in Germany, Brazil, Taiwan, and several other nations. This dizzying turn of events is just a milestone in a journey that began at age 8, when Zappia started reading Rowling’s Harry Potter series and realized that writing was a potential vocation. Soon her free time was consumed with writing stories and drawing pictures. By age 10, she was developing characters and themes that appear in her new book. At 15, she began hunting online for an agent. “I remember when I got my first request for a manuscript,” says the daughter of Steve and Jeanne Zappia of Wanamaker. “I threw the letter at my mother; I was so frazzled and excited.” She eventually gained the attention of New York-based agent Louise Fury, who agreed to represent her in their very first phone conversation. The manuscript that became Made You Up went through four rounds of editing before Fury began shopping it to publishers in late 2012. Zappia was stunned when she scored a two-book deal with Greenwillow, the publisher of a personal favorite (“the book I read 50,000 times in third grade”), Robin McKinley’s Newbery Medal-winning YA fantasy novel The Hero and the Crown. “I had a good half-hour freak-out about that,” says Zappia, known to friends as “Chessie.”

Made You Up takes its title from a Sylvia Plath poem and is the tale of Alexandra Ridgemont, a smart, plucky teen trying to manage her mental illness and survive senior year in a new high school where strange things happen; and Miles Richter, the arrogant, mysterious valedictorian who may or may not eventually let his guard down and team up with Alex.The Goodreads book review website (where Made You Up rates more than 4 out of 5 stars) summarizes the story like so: “The ultimate unreliable narrator, a schizophrenic teenage girl unable to tell the difference between reality and delusion, discovers—thanks to her Magic 8-Ball, her little sister, and a boy she thought was imaginary—that sometimes there really is someone out to get you.”

Behind the book’s outlandish elements is a witty and sensitive look at adolescence and the human quest for identity and acceptance. “It’s about accepting that it’s OK to ask for help,” Zappia says. “If you need help, there’s always somebody out there who will help you.” Though she’s a big fan of other YA writers, she wanted to steer away from the dark, apocalyptic sci-fi and fantasy themes that have fueled recent top-sellers. For one thing, she made sure her endearingly flawed heroine had a healthy sense of humor. “They’re always thrillers or psychological horror, or the main character is jaded or just bitter, kind of hostile,” she says. “I didn’t want Alex to be like that.”

Zappia wanted to craft a thoughtful portrayal of mental illness and its impact on a family. The book is informed by extensive research on paranoid schizophrenia, and the publisher even had a psychiatrist read the manuscript for accuracy. Although her literary career was well underway when she arrived at UIndy, and she chose a different route for her academic major, Zappia has enjoyed the perspective and support she gained during her UIndy years, noting among others the creative writing and literature courses taught by adjunct faculty member Kitty Flowers. “If you want to go to a school with smaller classes and professors who are there for you, definitely go to UIndy,” she says. “It’s just very comfortable. It’s very conducive to learning in general.”

Now, having graduated, Zappia is keeping her eyes open for more conventional job opportunities, but she’s also working on her next novel. Trying to keep the details under wraps, she says only that it’s another youth fiction venture in a contemporary setting. She hopes the publisher will green-light it for national release. Thus, writing remains a top priority. “I put on my noise-canceling headphones and just write for hours,” she says. “I was just made to tell stories.”

Made You Up is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers. Follow Zappia on Twitter and Instagram at @ChessieZappia. More information at www.francescazappia.com.