Washington D.C.Romance novel

Special guest interview on the hollischapmanshow Steve Piacente talks about his romance novel Bella.

Grieving widow to a husband who died under alleged enemy fire

1.Tell us a little about yourself,and your romance novel Bella.

Thanks for this opportunity,Hollis.I’m a native New Yorker who’s been writing professionally since graduating from American university in Washington,D.C., in 1976.I began my ┬ácareer as a sportswriter as the Naples Daily News,switched to news at Lakeland Ledger,and returned to D.C. in 1985 as Correspondent for Tampa Tribune.In 1989,I moved to the Charleston(SC)Post & Courier.In the late 1990s,I also returned to the classroom and earned a Masters in Fiction from John Hopkins University.Today I’m deputy communications director at s federal agency in,and teach journalism classes at American-in classrooms where i once took classes.In 2010, I self-published the romance novel Bella,the story of Isabel Moss’quest to uncover the truth behind her husband’s mysterious death on an Afghan battlefield.There’s more,including a video trailer,on my website.The reviews are here.

Romantically involved with self-publishing a romance novel.

It took three years to write Bella,and another to devise a social-based marketing plan built around our website-www.getbella.com,and our associated YouTube,Twitter,and Facebook pages.Self publishing was new territory for me,but technology has made it possible to reach out directly to prospective romance readers.That has a definite appeal for me,especially as a former reporter focused on the little guy getting a fair shot. In other words,real people will decide whether my romance novel is worth reading.My job is to get readers to our sites,pique their interest with unique content-such as our trailer and illustrated excerpts-and close the deal by directing them to Amazon,where they can buy the book.

Build credibility to increase sales!How?

There are numerous ways to build credibility,which of course starts with a solid product.Our romance reader map got us off to a running start,and i followed with a blog that details our self-publishing odyssey,plus guest commentaries on other sites.For instance:

The romance novel Bella trailer has been viewed more than 1,500 times.

The Friends of Bella reader map shows fans in nearly every state.

I was invited to appear on the local DC TV show,”Lets Talk Live.”

And American University produced a piece on me for ITunes University.Put my name in ITunes search and it should pop up.

You have outstanding reviews for romance novel Bella,why are reviews so important?Share with us how you felt when you ask for your first review.

Anyone who says reviews aren’t important is probably writing letters home to mom and not much else.Reviews are important because they tell busy romance readers witch novels are worth their time.As a reporter, I interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people over the years.Answering the questions was a different experience,but one that i got used to quickly.As with news writing,I think interviews should keep their answers short,on point,and tailored for specific audience.Beyond that,all you can do is sit back and hope for the best.

A man writing romance!Did you do this by choice?

Of course!What male author ever conceded romance to women writers?Phillip Roth(one of my favorites)has said,”All that we don’t know is astonishing.Even more astonishing is what passes for knowing.”This perfectly describes Dan Patragno.the journalist who helps Bella uncover the truth about her husband’s death.

Self Publishers high-low tech marketing techniques,Why is this so important?

To have any chance of success with my romance novel, I believe self-published authors must utilize a strategy that mixes high and low tech,in short,Tee Shirts and Twitter.Yes,Technology has radically altered the publishing landscape.Writers can reach millions of prospective readers without the aid of traditional agents and publishing houses.And there is a kind of frontier justice in the fact that real people-if you can connect with them-will decide if your book is worth reading.But the connection is fragile.Folks are busy;they’re dealing with jobs,bosses,and a million entertainment choices.While some tweets and posts will hit the mark,many will fall well short of the mark.That’s why Facebook isn’t enough.Self-published authors must get out and add some face to face to the mix.

Romance novel Bella and social media.

Social media key to creative publishing!Give us some tips on how you do it.

Massage your links.Take extra advantage of sites that let you shorten long links by adding a customized message.When steering readers to Bella Amazon page,i used http://amzn.to/catchingon.

Get Social.Create Facebook and YouTube pages,and tweet whenever you add new content,which should be about once a week.Three tips:make your content different on each site,cross-link all new posts,and think of ways to solicit user-generated content.Which takes me to:

Market overseas.Okay,that might be a stretch.Still,friends headed overseas provide you a chance to get a shot of your book beside a famous landmark,plus send a “message in a bottle.”That is,have your traveling friend leave leave the book as a busy cafe.Inside the front cover will be your friendly note asking for a hand from whoever picks it up.Here’s more.

Inspiration,growing up,three things you couldn’t live without.

My mom was my inspiration,and my romance novel Bella is dedicated to her.This video tells more.Three things i couldn’t live without;Superman comics,Little League,and egg rolls from chinese take-out truck that rolled through our neighborhood after school.

Talk about writing matters,are things changing?

Oh,yes.There used to be one key to literary castle.You wrote your book,wooed all the agents you could find,and hopefully landed one who could hook you up with a publisher.If you didn’t get the agent,you didn’t get the key,and all you got to write was an angry passage in your diary.Technology’s changed the landscape,to my mind for the better.We self-published the romance novel Bella and are in the process of getting it before average people without the help of any middleman.Thus,as mentioned,real people will decide if my book is worth reading.That said,there is a significant challenge when an author moves from creative writing to creative marketing.

Final comment:What’s on your “Bucket List?” Top 5 things you’d still like to do?

Visit the Amalfi Coast in Italy with my wife(coming next September)

Play tennis against a top 10 pro

Hold my grandchild(We have three adult children,none are married)

Pick the actress who will play Bella in the movie version of the book.

Romance writer Steve Piacente will visit Amalfi Coast with wife- children and grandchildren and play tennis against a top tennis pro.


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