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May 3, 2013 / anthonykzullo

How to Market Your Novel to Me

When thinking about publishing my novel, I often times wonder about whether or not its going to be a success.  I wonder what are the best practices to make it successful. That’s when I think about when I buy a book and what I look for.  There’s a lot that goes into my process of book selection.  If you’re aiming to catch my attention, then here are a few tips that I recommend.

Have a Good Cover

First, I’ll browse some covers.  Yes, I know, you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I do anyway.  And I’m sure a lot of people do the same. A cover is extremely important, especially for an indie author.  It shows how much time, money, and effort you put into the book by selecting a good cover.  It also sets the mood.  If I see abdominal muscles, I’m going to think this book has sex in it.  If I see a couple together, I’m thinking that it’s a romance.  If I see a bloodied knife, then I’m going to assume that it’s about a murder.

Have a Good Title

Next, I’ll look at the title.  Sometimes, the title can be really different.  Sometimes, it can be wordy but funny.  It’s best when I hear a title of a book that you don’t hear that often.  Take for example Ksenia Anske’s Siren Suicides or Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games.  Both books have unique titles.  Having a title that’s too simplistic or overused won’t really catch my attention unless it’s something I’m thinking about at the time.  I enjoy creative titles.

Your Back of the Book Blurb Better be Intriguing

After checking the front of the book, I’ll read the summary of the book on the back.  It has to really catch my attention if you want me to read your book.  Don’t just tell me it’s an unforgettable romance.  A lot of books say that.  Instead, shock me with what’s different about your book.  It’s an unforgettable romance between a man with one leg and a blind woman is a much more interesting topic and one I haven’t really experienced.  Make sure you have that hook on the back cover or else I may never open your book to take a peek.

Catch my Attention By the First Page

Finally, make sure the first page shines. Right before deciding to part with my hard earned money, I’ll make sure to take a glimpse of the writer’s first couple pages. If the  first couple paragraphs don’t grip me, I often don’t give the book a chance. Get to the good stuff right away. If there’s a murder scene, show me the corpse. If you’re writing fantasy, throw in some magic and mystery. I want to be drawn in right away and have a connection immediately.

So here are my tips on how to draw me in as a reader.  Of course, there are a lot of other things that I look at before buying a book, including reviews and price.  But these are the most important.  At least to me.  Let me know what draws you to buy novels in the comments.  Thanks for reading.

 

Anthony Zullo is a novel writer who aims to self-publish his book in late 2013 or early 2014 The Guardian’s Charge:  Book I of the Bloodborn Series, which is a paranormal/dark urban fantasy about what happens when the six alien Gods of Niburu return to Earth to decide the fate of all Life.  To follow his pondering thoughts and to communicate with him, check out his twitter @anthonykzullo.

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April 28, 2013 / anthonykzullo

Self-Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing

self-publishing

Photo by Riff Raff

Why self-publish?  Going on this journey as an indie novelist, I have looked over the different benefits that self-publishing has over traditional publishing.  Here is a list of both pros and cons to self-publishing so you can decide what kind of journey you want to take.

Pros to Self-Publishing

·         You Get to Choose Everything

When you deal with traditional publishing, you’ll have to work with a lot of different professionals, and everyone is going to have their own idea of what your book should be.  You won’t have a lot of say on cover work, especially if you’re a new author, and your editor might change your entire story.  When you self-publish, you get to choose what cover you want, and you get to choose what is in the final product of your book.  Basically, you get to retain the vision that you set out with when you first started writing your book.  You even get to say how much you want to charge for your book and where you want it sold.

·         You Don’t Have to Impress Anyone

Unlike traditional publishing, you don’t have to fight your way to someone’s desk.  Publishers have tons and tons of manuscripts sent to them.  They don’t have time to read everything that is sent their way.  A lot of books end up as flops, too.  Because of this, they avoid any really risky book in favor of what they think will sell.  As a self-published author, you can write whatever you want and publish it.  Whether it is about a Mormon Covenant versus the Mexican Cartel or about a poodle that ends up a superhero, no one has the ability to tell you what you can or cannot do.

·         You Can Publish Right Now

While I don’t recommend publishing a novel until after it’s been through a few drafts and proofread by a professional, you do have the power to publish your novel whenever you choose to do so, which is unlike traditional publishing that could take years to finally have your novel out to the public.

Cons to Self-Publishing

·         You Have to Do Everything

While it’s a boon that you get to choose everything about your novel, this also means that no one is really there to help you.  In self-publishing, you are more than just an author.  You become a marketer, a cover designer, an editor, a proofreader, a publicist, and more.  Unless you hire out and fork over a lot of money, you’ll be in the same boat.  Of course, you can hire a friend to do some of the work for you.  Just make sure that their work is professional enough.  You don’t want a proofreader who is going to miss half of all the grammar mistakes.

·         It’s Time Consuming

Because you have to do everything and don’t have a team of professionals to help you, you’ll be spending a lot of your time doing other things besides writing.  I once read something about Amanda Hocking, a legendary self-publishing author, who used to say that she would spend forty hours a week doing marketing and extra things to sell her novels.  Self-publishing is not an easy feat.  It requires time and patience.

·         You Probably Won’t Be on the Shelves in Your Local Bookstore

It’s not very likely that you’ll be in bookstores so you can save your money on that cross country book tour.  Most of your fans will only find you online, meaning that your reach won’t be as big as if you had gone traditionally.  This is because bookstores get a substantial discount when purchasing books from traditional publishers, which they don’t generally receive from independent authors.

As you can see there are some clear benefits and disadvantages when it comes to self-publishing.  One more thing I want to note before ending this article is that once you self-publish, it doesn’t mean that you can’t go back and traditionally publish your book.  In fact, if you’re doing really well, a traditional publisher might come up to you and ask permission to publish your book.  This is one of the times you get an agent, and then you get to see the benefits of both worlds.

So what do you guys think?  Do you have other pros and cons to add the list?  Let me know in the comments.

 

Anthony Zullo is a novel writer who aims to self-publish his book in late 2013 or early 2014 The Guardian’s Charge:  Book I of the Bloodborn Series, which is a paranormal/dark urban fantasy about what happens when the six alien Gods of Niburu return to Earth to decide the fate of all Life.  To follow his pondering thoughts and to communicate with him, check out his twitter @anthonykzullo.

April 25, 2013 / anthonykzullo

Why Write a Novel?

Writing a novel

Photo by Riff Raff

Whenever someone first starts to write a blog about novel writing or self-publishing, it’s important that they tell the world why they do it.  Everyone has different reasons they write.

For the Money and the Fame

Some people write because they think it’s going to make them a lot of money or make them famous, which is really a horrible reason if it’s your only reason.  Most people will never end up being the next J. K. Rowling, Amanda Hocking, or Suzanne Collins.  Although hoping that you will become a part of the writing elite is okay, writing just to make money is never a good thing.  People will be able to see passed your words on the page and feel your insincerity.  There’s a sense of emotion from an author that ties together a good book.  If you don’t have that emotion and passion to write, you’ll never create something worth reading.

For the Love of the Story

Other people have stories deep down inside of them that yearn to see the light of day.  These are the people you should look out for.  For these are the stories that touch you, that live and breathe inside of you, that twist and break your soul when you read them.  When a writer pours their heart into a story and gets attached to the characters and the world they created, you can read that love on every line and on every page.  It’s a beautiful thing.

For the Escape

When a person writes a work of fiction, they go somewhere.  They go to a place where no one has ever been and where they decide what goes and if the trees are green or gold.  They meet people that no one has ever met with quirks and attitudes of the author’s own creation.  To live and breathe in this world, knowing that you have control, is one of the greatest feelings of being an author.  You have magic in this world, the magic to do whatever you want.  Many authors are tortured souls, and writing is often what they use to convey their feelings, to express themselves, and to escape.

So why do I write then?  When I was younger, I used to write to escape.  I was a poor gay, tortured soul that rebelled against the religion that my family clung to, which denounced who I was inside.  So I wrote to free myself from my life because it was the only way I could.  When my father died when I was fourteen, I used my writing to cope with the pain of loss.  It was then that I finished my first manuscript, which took eight years of struggle and false starts.  Now, eight more years later, I one day hope that my writing can support me and my adventures across the world, but that’s a faraway dream that I might only be able to live through my stories.  Until then, I let the stories build inside of me.  Then I fall in love with my characters and have to write them.  I love writing and storytelling.  It’s a part of who I am, and that is why I write.

So why do you write?

 

Anthony Zullo is a novel writer who aims to self-publish his book in late 2013 or early 2014 The Guardian’s Charge:  Book I of the Bloodborn Series, which is a paranormal/dark urban fantasy about what happens when the six alien Gods of Niburu return to Earth to decide the fate of all Life.  To follow his pondering thoughts and to communicate with him, check out his twitter @anthonykzullo.