Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Featured Author Interview: Maria Zannini

Welcome to the second author interview of the weekend...give a big hello to fellow Samhain author Maria Zannini! Rather than the standard Q&A today, though, in honor of Small Press Month, Maria's giving us her take on what makes a small press successful. Enjoy!

Swami Sez…

…I have discovered the secret of successful publishing. And I learned it from the small press publisher.

Who would have thought the small press publisher could influence the big boys in New York in such a big way? Less than a few years ago, the e-publisher was a novelty, the place to go if your work couldn't find a home in traditional publishing. Erotica was the first to gain a foothold while the big publishers looked on hungrily, too scared to dip a toe in unfamiliar markets.

Now all that's changed. Harlequin was the first of the big publishers to embrace e-publishing and use it as part of their standard practice. Today, you won't find a contract with a traditional publisher that won't negotiate for your e-rights as well. E-publishing has become a force to be reckoned with.

With the advent of e-readers, now more sophisticated than ever before, NY is beginning to understand the depth of their shortsightedness and is scurrying to catch up.

That's good news in that e-publishing is being taken seriously. The bad news is that there is more competition for many of the same readers. The small press will have to fight to retain its market hold against deeper pockets.

Swami Maria is not too worried about this though. Stable and respected e-publishers like Samhain and Ellora's Cave have done a remarkable job at maintaining reader loyalty.

Smart swami that I am, most of my mentalist powers are derived more from observation than doing the Drunken Pony stance. --What, there's no Drunken Pony stance? Sheesh! Details!

Anyway, having studied Samhain in particular, I think I have learned the secret of their publishing success.

I will share that secret with you, but you need to be in that pure transcendental state of mind. (Hey, you with the Appletini. Put that down!)

Okay, now. Ready?

Are you transcending?

Just kidding. The only thing transcendental about me is my 401K. I'm pretty sure that one's flown the coop. But I'll tell you the secret anyway.

After spending the better part of a year studying Samhain, I've deduced that the reason they've become so successful is due in large part to their interaction with the public. Samhain has relationships with its readers.

That relationship is the trough that nurtures an idea, an author, a book, or an organization and makes it turn viral. Viral is a good thing in this sense. It means that a total unknown can go around the world with the click of a mouse button.

Samhain is constantly reaching out to its readers via chats, contests, appreciation weeks and blogs. They encourage discussion on their forums, and moderators go above and beyond to make you feel welcome. Their website is easy to navigate and a live person actually answers you when you email them.

It's a simple equation, but solving for 'viral' is a lot harder when you have to put it into practice. My swami brain tells me that the way to Nirvana is to start slow. Begin with the relationships you already have. Make them feel welcome on your blog, forum, newsletter or website. And always deliver more than you promised.

Relationships don't happen overnight, but good ones last a lifetime. It's a lesson the big boys are learning fast.

Swami sez…reach out to your readers wherever they hang out.

Swami Maria no longer meditates in public ever since that unfortunate incident in Rampur but she does blog regularly at Be sure to add yourself to her followers list because in April she is going to have one bodacious book launch contest.

Book launch, you say? Why, yes! TOUCH OF FIRE gets physical on April 28, 2009. It's a futuristic fantasy set on an Earth that knows only magic. Here's the tagline: He's a scoundrel and a thief. She's a woman on a mission. They're the perfect team--if they don't kill each other first.

Order the book now and be the first cool kid on your block to read it during lunch break. If you are too sophisticated for print, by all means get the e-book. Write me, write Amazon reviews. I'd really like to know what you thought of it.

I guess that's it. I am all out of swami goodness. Visit me on my blog and let's chat. Swami is listening. You can also follow me on Twitter or my website.

Touch Of Fire is at:
Barnes & Nobles
My Bookstore and More

Read an excerpt at Samhain Publishing


Mary Ricksen said...

I feel the same way, that e- publishing is the wave of the future. With the price of an ebook considerably lower then paperback, it just makes sense.
I didn't study my publishing company, (grin), I just jumped for joy when they contracted the book!

Diane Craver said...

Hi Maria,
Great and fun post!

It's so awesome to be able to quickly order online an ebook and read it the same day and never have to step out of your house!

Good luck on your new release - love the cover. Samhain has wonderful cover designers, too.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Mary!

With all the strides that e-publishing is making, the general public still needs to be educated on available readers. Oprah helped when she touted the Kindle, but it might be a while before the less techy among us get on board.

Thanks for commenting!

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Diane! How are you? Thanks for stopping by. You are always so kind to me.


Maria Zannini said...

Thanks for letting me hang at your blog today, Allie.

Your blog is an inspiration to all authors. Thank you!

Sarita Leone said...

What a fun blog post! Love the swami prognostications.

Wishing you much success with the upcoming release. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Sarita! (Swami blushes.)