Thursday, July 06, 2017

Book Launches: How Things Change

By Dario Ciriello

Part of the Indie Author Series

As I prepare to release my new nonfiction work on July 4, no less, I find myself looking back at prior book launches and realize how different this one is.

In the past, I’ve had the greatest difficulty getting any real traction or interest in book launches. Oh, there’s always been the supportive family-and-friends core of a few dozen people. But interest from publications, bloggers, or reviewers, beyond one or two who are fellow writers and close friends? Zilch, zip, nada.

It’s not been from lack of trying. But the ferocious competition in every aspect of publishing coupled with the declining interest and attention span among the general public for long form fiction makes it hard to be heard above the noise. I know award-winning authors who complain that where once their books were consistently reviewed in every major venue, today it’s hit-and-miss.

So imagine my surprise when, just five or six weeks before publication (this book came together fast, and the July 4 launch was a snap decision), I found myself not only getting replies from almost every blogger I queried, but also some unsolicited interest and interview requests. What happened? Had there been a mass die-off of other writers?

No. What happened was that this time I hit a zeitgeist. Also, nonfiction is an easier sell.

Let’s take the zeitgeist first. My new book, Drown the Cat: The Rebel Author’s Guide to Writing Beyond the Rules is an insurgent book in an insurgent time: whatever your position on anything, the sense of rebellion in the air is palpable. The craft and business of writing, with its rules, its status quo, and its élites, is not immune. I didn’t really think of that when I decided to write the book, I just felt it was needed…but I’m sure that the current socio-cultural climate has been a major factor in generating interest. (My June decision on a July 4 launch makes more sense now, right?)

Next, nonfiction is easier to sell than fiction for one very simple reason: less competition. A lot less competition. With fiction, you’re competing against film, television, comics, and a raft of other media for people’s leisure/escape time; with nonfiction, the competition is much less: people looking for information on your book’s topic (e.g., writing skills) can quickly find your book. The more specialized the topic, the less the competition. (Not coincidentally, my other nonfiction book, Aegean Dream, which was also my very first book, has far, far outsold any of my novels or anthologies.)

There’s also the fact that I’ve been around for a long time now. Yes, I am old, but I mean on the writing scene! In other words, you have to put in your time. When you’re an unknown, a young Turk putting out your first book, nobody’s going to give you the time of day. After a few years, when you have a few books under your belt and have built a network of trust and social capital, perception changes. This may seem harsh to the sincere (and perhaps gifted) new writer trying to promote their first effort, but it’s just a fact of life—after all, anyone can publish a book. But, just as with job interviews, if you can approach busy bloggers or reviewers with a resumé that has some substance to it, you’re more likely to get their attention.

Finally, it pays to be controversial, or at least have something different to say. My new book, a contrarian take on writing “rules” and a direct swipe at Save the Cat!’s write-by-numbers approach is unusual, if not unique. Aegean Dream, was the same: a true travel memoir of a year spent in Greece, it was very different to the sweet, A Year-in-Such-and-Such travel memoir, where someone settles in some idyllic place, restores an old house, and lives happily ever after. In my unvarnished, tragi-comic memoir, we settled in an idyllic place and things went ruinously sideways.

To conclude, none of the above factors, which together seem to have made an assorted few influencers more receptive to my new book, were planned: I wish I could claim to be that clever (or is it cynical?) but I’m not. I just write the book that suggests itself at the time and demands to be written. This time, if the attention this project is getting is anything to go by, I think I may get lucky. We’ll see.

Good writing to you!

How has your experience of book launches been?

Dario Ciriello is a professional author and editor as well as the founder of Panverse Publishing.

His fiction includes Sutherland's Rules, a crime caper/thriller with a shimmer of the fantastic; Black Easter, a supernatural suspense novel which pits love against black magic and demonic possession on a remote, idyllic Greek island; and Free Verse and Other Stories, a collection of Dario's short science fiction work.

Dario’s 2011 nonfiction book, Aegean Dream, the bittersweet memoir of a year spent on the small Greek island of Skópelos (the real Mamma Mia! island), was an Amazon UK travel bestseller. Drown the Cat: The Rebel Author’s Guide to Writing Beyond the Rules (Panverse, July 4 2017) is his second nonfiction work.

In addition to writing, Dario, who lives in the Los Angeles Area, offers professional editing and copyediting services to indie authors.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

About Drown The Cat: The Rebel Author's Guide to Writing Beyond the Rules

Drown the Cat is a complete guide for the fiction writer who wants to develop an individual voice and understand the reasons underlying the so-called rules of writing. Although a few rules really are necessary, the vast majority are either dogma or passing fads. Worse, so much advice like “show don’t tell” and “open with action” is often poorly explained and entirely misunderstood, causing writers no end of problems.

Drawing on fifteen years of writing, critiquing, editing and mentoring experience, Dario Ciriello explodes writing myths, shreds conventional wisdom, and dissects the often misleading advice and diktats shouted at writers by books and blogs, agents and publishers. Drown the Cat gives authors the necessary tools and insights to retake control of their story and make it unique.

Whether your interest lies in novels or screenwriting, Drown the Cat shows you how to tell your story in your voice and place it before your audience, eschewing formulas and cookie-cutter fiction to remain true to your own, exceptional vision while adhering to the few rules that actually matter. Because writing isn’t about prose wonks and industry insiders: it’s about the reader, and most of all it’s about telling a story. Your story.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | iTunes | Indie Bound | Kobo | Panverse

No comments:

Post a Comment