Book Promotion

Choosing an Excerpt

Last month, I did my first reading for Baby Grand as part of the Summer Gazebo Series in Oceanside, New York.

And when I was deciding what excerpt I would choose for the event, I just thought I’d start from the beginning and read Chapter 1 — seemed like a logical place, right?

But I began watching some YouTube videos of authors who had been featured at the Gazebo over the years and realized that Chapter 1 was going to be a poor choice. Why? Well, even though Baby Grand is a thriller, there’s really not much action right off the bat, and my main characters don’t appear until Chapter 2 and beyond. Yes, Chapter 1 is a wonderful beginning to the novel, but, by itself, is by no means suitable as a representation of the entire work. As writer-friend Roz Morris wrote in a recent post about how she went about selecting an excerpt for a reading, beginnings are “for settling down with, not standing up.” I needed an excerpt that not only featured a few of my major players but one that had a little more suspense, something that grabbed listeners and made them want to know more, without giving too much away, of course.

Profanity was also an issue. There are characters in Baby Grand who have a penchant for the F word, so those scenes were out, because I had been instructed to select an excerpt that was more basic cable than premium channel.

What to choose? What to choose? I mean, there are 62 chapters in Baby Grand!

I began to narrow down the possibilities. The excerpt had to be a chapter that was early on in the novel or else too much of the plot could be given away. But it couldn’t be too early, because I needed things to be set in motion to make it more interesting for the listener. There was the profanity issue, yes, and I also had to think about timing — I had been given a ten-minute slot to fill and was told I could not go over, because there would be four other readers (two poets, a fellow fiction writer and a nonfiction writer) there that night as well.


Meet Dina Santorelli

I was recently interviewed for Hofstra University, my alma mater, about the making of Baby Grand and about being a freelance writer. Although I normally showcase fellow debut authors on Tuesdays, I thought it might be fun to feature myself today since these videos just went live. I hope you enjoy them.

On writing Baby Grand:


On being a freelance writer:


Book Trailers #2

When I first wrote about book trailers back in November 2010, they were a growing trend in independent book promotion. Now they’re pretty standard as part of a marketing strategy, as many indies and traditionally published authors have them.

That is, except me.

Last week, my writer-friends in the Long Island Writers Group were urging me to do a book trailer for Baby Grand.

Truth be told, I’ve been hesitant. Here’s why:

  1. A professionally done book trailer costs $$$$. Over the last few years, I’ve seen tons of book trailers, many of them not very good or effective. And I really think a bad book trailer reflects poorly (just like a film trailer would) on its book, which might be incredibly good. So if I were to do a book trailer, I’d want it to be professionally done. That means it’s going to cost me some $$$$, which leads me to…
  2. Are they worth the investment? I know that lots of books have book trailers, but I’m still not sure how effective they are in actually the selling the book. I can’t think of anyone who says, I’m thinking of reading Book ABC. Let me look for the book trailer first (and they have to find it!) and see what I think. Most people just hop on over to the book’s Amazon page and take a look at the book cover, synopsis and reviews. At least that’s what I do. I rarely look at a book trailer, even if there’s one right there on the Amazon book page or author page.

However, I do have to say that there have been book trailers I’ve stumbled upon that I found to be quite effective — meaning they made me not only want to read the book, but go and buy the book.

Here’s two of them:


By |2012-06-30T06:00:06-04:00June 30th, 2012|Book Promotion, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Bryan Adams and ‘Baby Grand’

So I’m doing what I do every morning, checking out various social media sites for news and trends, and I come across the new song “Don’t Look Back” from Bryan Adams, one of my all-time favorite recording artists (his was my very first concert when I was a teenager):

And I think to myself, Hey, this is perfect for BABY GRAND. “Don’t look back” is a recurring theme in my debut thriller. And the song’s opening line, “Look into the eyes of a child,” made me think of little Charlotte Grand, who is at the center of the story.

So I ask Bryan Adams — via Twitter, of course — if I may declare “Don’t Look Back” the unofficial theme song of Baby Grand and he says yes.

How cool is that?

So there you go. New theme song. Next on the list is to get Robert De Niro to agree to play Gino Cataldi. Hmmm…

By |2012-06-09T19:14:12-04:00June 9th, 2012|Baby Grand-palooza, Book Promotion|0 Comments

Let the BABY GRAND-palooza Blog Tour Begin!

One of the most important — and challenging — aspects of publishing a book today, whether you self-publish or traditionally publish, is marketing. Getting the word out. I just came across a sobering article that says that half of all self-published authors earn less than $500 a year. Holy cow!

That’s why when my novel was published last week on Amazon, I revved up the marketing machine immediately and reached out to bloggers to see if they might need some help writing posts this summer (as a blogger, I know how difficult it can be to come up with new material regularly) and would like a guest blogger or an eager interviewee. The response has been wonderful.

Today is the first stop on what I’m calling the Baby Grand-palooza Blog Tour. Thank you to Belinda Frisch, who was kind enough to interview me. You can check out the interview here and here. Of course, while I’m looking to promote my debut novel, I also want to be able to provide useful insight into the writing, editing and publishing process. Hopefully, I succeeded. :)

Think of Guest Blog Posts as a Collection of Essays

I’m cranking up the marketing machine for the upcoming launch of Baby Grand this month, and I have already been asked to write several guest blog posts as part of my promotional campaign (thank you!).

I take writing guest blog posts very seriously. I treat them as I would any freelance writing assignment. I do find, though, that there’s a tendency among guest bloggers — particularly those who are trying to promote a product or service — to rehash what they’ve already said in other blog posts or to treat that guest post as an advertisement. As a blogger, I know what it’s like to try to write posts regularly, to try to make each one unique and totally stand-alone, and it’s difficult. It’s virtually impossible not to repeat themes or ideas, or even a sentence or two. But I think it’s important to make an effort, to try and provide the blogger you’re writing for with an original and thoughtful post that will be helpful to THEIR READERS as well as your OWN publicity strategy.

I’ve featured many, many debut author interviews and guest bloggers here at Making ‘Baby Grand,’ and it’s very easy for me to tell how much effort went into an interview or post. I do have to say that the vast majority of the authors and writers I’ve featured have gone above and beyond and sincerely shared their stories and insights with my audience, and for that I’m truly grateful. But there have been a few whose efforts seemed as if they were just looking to check me off a list, whose comments felt like I’d heard them before. And I wondered if that was because they were truly tapped out and couldn’t think of anything else to say or if they were just bored and taking the easy way out.

To keep this from happening, my plan, as a guest blogger, is to consider each guest post that I write as if it were featured in a collection of essays — each one fulfilling the overall goal of promoting my work and platform, but also meeting the needs of each individual host blog and finding a new angle with which to convey my message or journey. This way, if viewed all together as one work, there will be a uniqueness — and a cohesiveness — about them.