Author Interview: Brian Bianco

Self Published Authors would like you to meet Brian Bianco.  His interview is lengthy but full of fantastic advice!  Sit back and get ready for a good read.  Thanks so much for being willing to take the time to share your insight Brian!
Author Name:  Brian Bianco (website: http://www.bbianco.ca)
                                                   (FB fan page: https://www.facebook.com/brianpbianco?sk=app_129982580378550)
                                                   (Twitter: http://twitter.com//2bbblaster)

 Book Title:  Dressed for a Kill

Book Price:  Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk: $12.99 (Paperback),  $7.99 Kindle eBook.  It’s also available at smashwords.com in eBook form for the B&N Nook and the Sony Reader for $7.99.

Where can we find Dressed for a Kill? You can find it at amazon.com, (http://www.amazon.com/Dressed-Kill-Brian-Bianco/dp/1439258880/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306005514&sr=8-1)

amazon.ca (http://www.amazon.ca/Dressed-Kill-Brian-Bianco/dp/1439258880/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1306955739&sr=8-4)                                                                                          amazon.co.uk (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dressed-Kill-Brian-Bianco/dp/1439258880/ref=sr_1_25?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306957286&sr=1-25)
and smashwords.com (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/71975)

How would you describe your novel?  ‘Dressed for a Kill’ is a fast moving murder mystery that will take the reader on a roller coaster ride from beginning to end. The best part of reading a murder mystery is trying to figure out who dunnit before the author actually tells us. In ‘Dressed for a Kill’, even though we find out who the killer is, I leave the reader still guessing as to what is what and who was really involved. Characters and their dialogue are what drive a story. In ‘Dressed for a Kill’, the characters are as real as every day life: internally bruised, quirky, at times sarcastic, at times moody, pig headed when they think they are right, passionate when the situation arises and yes, flawed liked all of us. The storyline could easily take place today because the motive behind it and the means that was used to carry it out is both plausible and real. There is no make-believe in this novel, not far-fetched ideas that will make the reader wince but real research and hard fact that went into developing this story.

I’m a huge fan of murder/mystery books.  How do you feel Dressed for a Kill stands out among the crowd? I think it’s a real good novel otherwise I wouldn’t have published it. I worked on this book for a long time in order to make sure I got it right the first time, because you only get one chance to present your best to the public. It’s like first impressions when you go for that job interview. I took a year to write it, a couple more to edit (off and on because as the author, you can get pretty bored and tired from reading the same thing over and over to the point where you loose your objectiveity) before I sent it to an editor to do the final edit. This is what my editor had to say about my book:

    
Overview
“Overall I felt that the book has interesting and relatable characters, and there are some nice plot twists along the way. The overall structure is solid.”

Characterization
“I really like the newsman angle you’re going with for the Miles character. You do a good job of putting the reader in the newsroom, and the character of Miles has good depth and texture. I particularly liked how you developed the
character of Bruno Carboni. He has real struggles and deep flaws, yet you do a great job of creating a sense of sympathy for him. He has a unique personality and is a very memorable character. I also thought that some of the minor
characters were particularly nicely done and add nice texture to the story, including Tammy and Jimbo at the Foxhole bar, Anthony Torricelli at the newspaper, old man Jenkins at the gas station, and Brooke Whitney. Though their
roles are brief, they are all unique, distinctive characters in their own right, and they definitely contribute a sense of depth to the story.”

Dialogue
“Overall I felt that the dialogue is one of the strongest elements of the novel. In general, the dialogue is well paced, purposeful, serves to move the plotline forward (no problems with empty dialogue that just fills space), and sounds
like realistic, natural speech. In particular, I thought you did a great job with the snappy, fast-paced scenes that rely heavily on dialogue to advance the plot.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      . . . Jessica

The reviews that I have received are really positive. What follows are some excerpts of what they had to say.
“. . . a gripping, suspense thriller, . . . a devious page turner, . . . the story is unique and instantly engages you. The characters are smart and well thought out, . . . I picked it up, turned the page and did not finish until the last word
was read. A must read, . . . the plot of this book is extremely well planned out. The ending is superb, . . . powerful, with a main character you love to hate, . . . I give it 5 stars, 6 if I could.”

You can read the full reviews either from my website or from their actual posted page by clicking on the links. All the details are at my website. Summing it all up, I didn’t write a book just for the sake of making money. I
wrote the book because I knew I could write and I could write a good book that would engage the reader. New writers I find always bring something fresh to read to those who love books, new twists, a storyline from a different
angle, a merging of ideas to offer a different take on something that has already been written because let’s face it, everything that can be written has already been done. The thing is to find a new and different way to engage your
audience and to being it forward from a new and different perspective. That’s the secret.  You can read the first 10 chapters of ‘Dressed for a Kill’ by downloading the PDF file from my website at http://www.bbianco.ca and I hope you will read it when you are in the mood to read a good novel. I also have a book contest currently running. All one has to do is read the first 10 chapters, answer the 10 easy questions, one pertaining to each chapter, be one of the first 10 people to email me the answers and then receive a FREE EBOOK copy in the format of your choice.

Do you have any life experiences that helped you write your novel?  In the story, the main character, Miles Fischer, has some personal problems that are affecting his relationship with his wife. The problems he encounters were actually taken from my own experience, which to some may be hard to believe but pregnancy is not a mistake, especially in this day and age. The how and why was a good fit because the storyline is as real life as any story can be and this part made it even more so. As for the rest of the story I did a lot of research and took note from all the books that I have read as to what made a story flow and what made it interesting from the reader’s perspective.

Does Dressed for a Kill read more like an episode of CSI, a Sherlock Holmes novel or something entirely different? I’ve never watched CSI so I can’t comment since I prefer comedies over everything else besides English Detective stories but I have read Sherlock Holmes but that was a long time ago. I never really thought of my book in this way but if I had to choose, I would say it reads more like a John Grisham novel. It’s not overly descriptive with character description that can bore the reader other than what is important. No over use of metaphors (which have been so over used) or emphasis on the weather or what the scenes look like other than to give you a compact view so you don’t get bogged down to where you want to skip pages because you forgot what the story was about, which has happened to me as a reader. I stuck to the story and made sure it flowed nicely and moved forward instead of moving laterally and boring the reader which can happen if we, as authors, don’t watch what we’re doing. I believe that as a writer we have to leave something for the reader to add in the way of their own imagination so that they can connect with the storyline and its characters. It makes them part of the story as creators. I believe it’s what we all do in some form or another and that’s how we connect even more to what we are watching or to what we are reading or what we have read. How many  times have we read a book and then watched the movie only to find the characters are different from what we imagined in the book and that we actually preferred our own interpretation of who and what they look like?
 

How did you go about creating Miles Fischer? I used some of my own traits to build his character, which I hope is a good reflection of me but I did have one person who read the book describe Miles as “as a main character you love to hate” and that was from a guy. It had me rethinking where I went wrong because that’s not how I thought I was portraying that particular character. He’s likeable but he also comes with flaws, like all of us. It would be nice to be perfect but then that would only make us boring.

What is one unique fact that you’d like your readers to know about you?  That I worked very hard on this novel to make sure it was something I would be proud of putting my name on and that I wrote what I believe is a good story that will keep the reader engaged until they have read the last page. Every writer starts out as an unknown to his or her audience but that is all they are, unknown. The one thing I hope they take from this interview is that they will give us a CHANCE like they did to those writers who are now household names. Everyone has to start at the beginning, at that point where nobody knows who they are and then go from there. What can be better than to sit down and begin reading a book that takes you away from everyday life into another world and experience what compels them to do what they do? It’s the experience and the journey of discovering a new author and a new face with a fresh new story to tell in the world of literature and then to share that feeling of being able to tell your friends of this new author YOU just discovered that makes it all worthwhile and the experience satisfying. If nobody took a chance on say Nora Roberts, Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling or even Ernest Hemmingway, then nobody would have experienced what they wrote. It’s all about the opportunity to experience something new and isn’t that what life is all about?


Do you have any other books that you’re currently working on?  I’m actually working on three others, not including a sequel to my first book. The three that I just mentioned are not in the murder mystery genre since I want to try my hand at some of the other genre’s out there. One is titled, “Poof”, which is about a guy who wants to make his life disappear so he can start over since he made such a mess of his first one. ‘Journey to Destiny’ is another. It’s written in the first person, a first for me and harder to write I think. It’s about an individual who suffers from depression and can’t cope with life until something magical happens. I’m still debating over the title for the 3rd one, caught between ‘Maggie’s Teahouse’ and ‘Readings from the Teahouse’. It’s set in the late fifties in Louisiana about a teahouse owned by Maggie and the author who is coming to do a book signing. Maggie is black and with the turmoil that is embroiling America, I don’t know if I can pull it off since I don’t want to write a story about segregation. I want it to be about Maggie but somehow it’s hard to separate the two. I’m still working my way around it but I like the concept of what I have locked up in my mind.

How has your experience been with self-publishing?  The publishing part was pretty easy since I knew how I wanted the book to look on the inside, which had to be easy to read, so I used Times Roman as my font. As for the book cover itself, I told them exactly what I wanted as far as the colours that we were going to use, the pictures, and the finish and they put it together for me. I’ve been told that the cover is really eye catching because it really stands out. I guess I’m trying to be funny here because what’s inside is just as good if not better. That’s my plug for my book.

Do you have any advice to share with up and coming authors? In a nutshell: It’s a tough grind. Nothing in life is easy and that is especially true for writing, pursuing an agent and landing one if you can and then the process of marketing your work, which is the hardest of all. The reason I say this is because there are over 5 million books for sale on Amazon alone. Over 4,000 books get published every week. I read a survey about 10 years ago that 80% of the American public wants to write a book. The internet and the publishing options that are available to anyone who wants to write a book are many and readily available but it definitely is not easy. Getting recognition, positive reviews are an ongoing process that requires both your time and patience. Let’s take Amazon for example. Amazon is one big store. It’s a store with a main window and behind it are millions other windows and the secret is have those that go to Amazon find the window that has your book in it. As a writer, how are you going to do that? It’s starts with recognition and how does an unknown author get recognition? Good question. It starts with the product. A good story and a good cover are paramount because that is what will drive your success and your branding because without it, you’re done. Then comes the press release which you can do yourself or you can have a professional do it after or before you publish. Great! My book is available on Amazon, now what? Go to where the readers are, which is a place like goodreads.com. They have over 5 million subscribers made up of both authors and those that love to read books. Places like Facebook are good too but to me, as of the present, it’s more of a numbers game that anything else, even if you have a fan page. And the reason I’m saying this is because unlike other businesses that are selling clothes, cars, and advice on how to market yourself on places like Facebook, which seems to be the rage right now, you are selling a book, not necessarily a necessity in today’s life styles, unlike cars or clothes. Even those selling advice or books on how to market yourself have an advantage over your book, whether it be fiction or non-fiction because what they are selling is considered what you need or require as an author in order to be or to make a success of both yourself and your book(s) and herein lies the dilemma. How do you get noticed when just like being on Amazon, so is everyone else on Facebook with a fan page.? Like I said, it’s not easy. Let’s do a blog then. Okay but there are presently 60 million bloggers on the internet and again, it’s population is growing. So again you ask yourself the question, how do I get noticed that will lead to recognition which will lead to success. Again, good question. And therein lies the same dilemma. As you can see, I don’t have an answer. Indie author’s I believe have a tough road ahead of them. They say we must have quality content for our website, our FB fan pages, our blogs, but how does an author go about doing that when all they have is what they write and to continually talk about what they write can be construed as spam or annoying or just downright boring to whoever follows them. One answer seems to produce more questions than direction. No matter what you use, a website, a fan page, a blog, it all boils down to traffic to your sites and what brings or drives that traffic? It’s either content, brand, or product. Yes, I know, it’s one vicious circle. You can advertise but that becomes expensive when you consider the return that you are going to get as far as people who buy your book. But if you do choose to advertise then my suggestion is to do so on goodreads.com because that is where the readers are and if your choose to advertise on Facebook, you can choose to only show your ad to those who have stated in their personal info that they like to read, that way you get more bang for your buck.


This is what you are looking for:   a  good product = creates awareness = brings recognition = creates a following = increases exposure = brings success = creates a solid brand

So this is my advice:
When you first publish as an Indie author and you have your book on Amazon for sale, set your selling price as low as you can afford. The reason being, by setting a low price, you may be able to draw more attention and more customers to buy your book, to take a chance on an unknown, especially if they don’t have to invest a lot of money, not that what it costs to buy a book is a lot of money. If they like your book, hopefully they will post a good review.

As you get more reviews you can then consider raising your price to a more equitable amount that is more fairer to you, the author. Also, make sure you offer your book in eBook format with digital rights management. Advertise it from your website, your FB fan page, on goodreads.com.  Join smashwords.com and make your book available there also. They offer eBook formatting for all readers, including PDF, which I don’t advise since it is easier to pass around,
since on smashwords.com, they don’t offer digital rights management. Just stick to the main eBook readers, like Kindle, Sony Reader, and B&N Nook. In the end, don’t give up because you never know. When you least expect it . . .
Look, here I am on Amy’s blog and your taking the time to read this, which means there is traffic here and why, because of the content. See, it all works out. Don’t give up. Keep writing and make your writing better.

One last thought on this subject. If you are considering doing a blog, why not team up with another author. He or she does not necessarily have to be of the same genre since it is content that will drive your traffic. Most templates come with multiple columns which you divide between yourselves to promote your work and the work of others. Working with two or more means each brings their own list of supporters and followers which can only grow your following.
Something to consider if you think about it. It doesn’t matter if you are promoting someone else at the same time because it’s the traffic that you want.  With traffic comes exposure, which brings recognition, which brings validation
which brings followers which brings awareness, which brings success, which when translated, means sales, which means a brand. They now know who you are. And I for one, never forget a face. Personally, I’m still looking for
someone who would like to try such a project.

Author Bio:  I’ll keep this short. I hail from the picturesque city of Vancouver, the city of mountains, Stanley Park (much bigger that Central Park in New York) and beaches and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I also lived in Sidney on the island for 2 years where I built a house while I commuted to Victoria to work before moving back to the mainland. I love writing, being creative and hope in the future that people will come to read and enjoy what I have written. Corny heh. I’m Canadian so you get the ‘heh’ sometimes. I love hockey which shouldn’t come as a surprise along with soccer since I coached it for 13 years and was involved in the administrative end also. I went on my first flight just this year and although I will never fly again because I don’t like it, hanging there in mid air, I hope that I will be able to cruise again because that I really enjoyed. Travel is my quest since I want to see the world I live in. I invite everyone who has not been to Vancouver to set aside some time and take the transportation of your choice and come and visit. You just may want to stay.


In closing, I would like to thank Amy for making my appearance here a reality and to say what a great time I had answering her questions and I hope with regards to my advice to fellow authors that what I stated has or can help you in some way to achieve that success we all strive for. The best to all of you and your writing. Keep at it.

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