• Eric Tamburino

I am a writer of fiction and fantasy, and I confess I have not read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings….yet. This always catches people off guard and I admit it strikes me as a little odd as well. I have a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring sitting on my “to-read” shelf and it just continues to sit being passed over for various others.

So I ask you: How do you choose the next book you will read?

Do you look at the cover? The price? Books you already own, or do you search online?

In the world of self-publishing you are told readers choose by cover, then by the book blurb on the back. Do you agree? Shoot me an email. Let me know how you choose!

As we are coming up on the end of the year I figured I would provide you with an update.

A few months ago, I reached out to several of my friends in hopes to write an anthology of Fairy Tales, Reflections of Reality. We have made a lot of progress and, though we do not currently have an ETA, I am hoping to have it out by the end of 2020.

For those of you wondering, my third book is about half way written. It is another young adult novel about a high school girl struggling with loss. I am currently referring to as Heavensent but we will see if the title changes. You can expect that to be released in 2021.

Finally, I decided to try something new and I wrote a short horror/thriller story that is definitely geared towards adults. My plan is to submit it to several print magazines to see if anyone will take it. So wish me luck on that. I will let you know if I get published!

Other than that the year is coming to a quick close and I have a few plans for a second blog on my site specifically to teach some of the things I have learned about writing. This would be to help high school and college students as well as those who are writing for fun. I also have plans for a YouTube channel and audio books.

So stay tuned there is more to come!

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  • Eric Tamburino

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

My plan for August was to write a deep and meaningful blog that would blow everybody’s mind, but as I sat down to write about the topic I had planned to explore, it very quickly became something that resembled a college thesis.

I think this blog may be forever fated to be a place for me to provide updates to you and tell some stories about my life. That beings said, you can be sure that once I have finished exploring the deeper questions I have planned, you will be able to find them here.

So, this month I would like to talk about Independent Authorship.

Since self-publishing I have met more and more people who are in the process of writing a book. Some of them are self-published, and others are looking to take the more painstaking but prestigious route of becoming traditionally published.

A question I receive repeatedly is “What made you decide to self-publish?” In my case, impatience is probably the most accurate answer.

That being said, I did research traditional publishing. I spoke with a family friend who had managed to take that route. But she ended up locked into a contract on her trilogy that she later needed legal aid to get out of.

I also found the invaluable resource Derek Murphy who talks about everything there is to talk about in the self-publishing world, but he did a particularly interesting video about the pros and cons of self- publishing vs traditional publishing.

The reality is that self-publishing will offer you more control over your work and you won’t have to wait for a year once you’ve finally won the uphill battle of getting your book accepted by a publishing house.

A quick side note: I designed both of my book covers with the help of the free book cover design course Derek offers on Youtube. If you are interested in self-publishing, definitely check out his website and his Youtube channel. If you are looking for a community of writers to bounce ideas off of or are looking for help getting into self-publishing, you can join his group on Facebook (Guerrilla Publishing: Book Marketing Support and Feedback for Authors). This has also been a huge resource for me.

That all being said, with all the freedom that comes with self-publishing, once you have your printed book it’s not a breeze.

You Need Reviews.

But how do you get reviews if nobody has seen your book, let alone read it?

I have been fighting with this problem for years now. Yes, I have plenty of friends and family who have been gracious enough to assist with this.

I have also reached out to other authors and offered an honest review for an honest review, but this is a long process that doesn’t always end in getting a review at all. I have tried Facebook Ads, and though I have had some mild success with getting people to purchase my books, I don’t believe it lead to any additional reviews.

And so my question has become this - how do you get your book in front of people who actually want to read it?

Amazon has a rating system that revolves around the number of positive reviews your book has and how many people buy it.

The common strategy is to join KDP (which gives Amazon exclusive rights to your book for a year if I remember correctly) so that you can offer your book for free. Before you publish the book you give it to loyal fans if you have any, but probably more often friends and family and you ask them to leave a review during the pre-release window. Then the book finally launches and a bunch of people download your book because it has a few good reviews and hey, it’s free! This boosts the Amazon ranking. Then once the launch ends and you have to put a price tag on your book, readers go looking for the next free kindle download and your book fades into the obscure areas of Amazon.

I know I may sound Jaded but honestly I’m not. Mildly frustrated, maybe - but WM&MM has been in the top 5K (for its category) for over 2 years now so honestly I’ve done pretty well.

Anyway, I believe that the best way to get your book in front of someone is for it to be quite literally in front of them in a store, and if you wanted it to be in front of someone who actually might want to read it, it would need to be a book store…

I have reached out to a handful of stores asking how to get books on display. Most of the indie-stores I reached out to charge the author for that as it is considered advertisement. To top it off, in most cases my book has not been eligible to be sold in their store for one reason or another.

So the other night, I stared at the author copies I had left on my shelf and debated the famous question. How can I get these to people who will read them? I sat down and wrote out a little message explaining that I am a local author and that I would appreciate any and all support in the forms of reviews, social media follows, or giving the book to a friend. I copied this message into each book and signed them. I figured I could leave them in the Hannaford book bin and hope for the best.

It turns out before I made it to a Hannaford, Chantal and I decided to take a trip down to the Used Book Superstore in Burlington, MA.

I first discovered this place probably two years ago when I was on the hunt for some affordable Stephen King novels.

I confess on this particular day I was there looking mainly for DVDs.

As I walked up to the counter, I asked about their books on display. Were they paid advertisements or were they picked arbitrarily? The nice girl at the checkout counter introduced me to the manager who in turn told me that the owner picked them. I asked if I could submit my books for consideration. The manager began to jot down my information, but when I asked him to relay that I wasn’t looking for commission and I just wanted to get my books in front of readers, he stopped.

He asked me if I had any copies on me and waited for me as I went out to my car to get them. When I returned he had cleared a spot for my books on the table by the door.

It’s amazing, the little things that can make a person’s day. Maybe it’s buying the coffee for the person in line behind you, maybe it’s a simple smile and wave, and maybe it is putting someone’s book on a table and leaving it alone.

It was a simple action but it meant a lot to me. It gave my book a fighting chance!

What the manager didn’t know is that my father lives pretty close by. So when I told him what happened, he dropped by a few days later to see if they were selling. Turns out they have been. There were only three left of each (I think I had given them 10 a piece roughly).

So this month’s advice:

Write a review. Whether it’s a book, or a service, or a product - local businesses and independent artists need these to survive. Don’t just go to a local restaurant or order take out and then forget about them. Write a review letting people know how great they are… and if you happen to own a local business, consider putting a table by your front door and showcasing a local artist’s work.

Till next month!

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  • Eric Tamburino

Most people can tell you what they wanted to be when they were children: a policeman, or a teacher, or a movie star.

I think when I was a child, part of me wanted to be a speaker. If you have met me you know I talk a lot. If you knew me when I was young you would know I never stopped talking. I wanted to tell people about my experiences and I wanted to teach them what I knew. Even now, whenever I am at a conference or a live performance or a concert, I always find myself desperately wanting to be a part of it. Back then, I had very little fear of embarrassment, and I didn’t care what other people thought about me.

The other day while talking to a friend, I said something like, “because I was raised Catholic…”

Not, “I am Catholic…”

Not, “because of my Faith…”

I said, “because I was raised Catholic…”

This bothered me to the point I corrected myself right then and there. However, it left me wondering – when did I stop identifying as a Catholic?

Now, I know you may not be Catholic or even interested in my crisis of faith, my dear reader, and that is fine. Please, bear with me. The real question I would like to address is: When did I start caring so much about what people think of me? When did I start becoming afraid of how people would judge me for my beliefs?

As a writer I want my work to reach people. Not only do I want it to reach people, I want it to touch people. I want it to help them in their journey. Growing up I knew that there were people of different faiths and some people who had no faith at all. I want to speak to them, I want to speak with them.

Matthew Kelly writes in his book Resisting Happiness: “I tried to speak to people about ‘the universal call to holiness’, but their eyes would just glaze over. I kept experimenting with ways to say it that connected with people, and then one day while I was speaking, it just came out: ‘God wants you to become the-best-version-of-yourself.’ I knew instantly. I could tell by the audience’s reaction. They got it. It made sense to them.”

I think that is along the lines of what I had originally intended. I wanted the ability to reach people where they were at.

C.S. Lewis was a known Christian and his stories are read quite vastly. Where Man and Monster Meet was heavily influenced by Lewis’s Till We Have Faces and The Great Divorce, both of which I highly recommend.

Dante Alighieri was a Catholic writer. His Divine Comedy is taught in schools around the world. I also recommend that one, not just the Inferno but the Purgatorio and Paradiso as well.

Dean Koontz is Catholic and he is a modern best seller… I was reading his Frankenstein series when I began my first rewrite of Where Man and Monster Meet.



So when and why did I become so afraid my faith would affect my presence as an author?

I could try to blame this on Social Media and the effects it has had on how people treat each other’s opinions, or I could blame it on joining the workforce and how it is typically taboo to discuss religion in the workplace. I could argue that I have recently been struggling in my belief in God and that it was just a slip of the tongue…

But it is important to be honest – particularly with ourselves. In all of my searching for the secret(s) of life, the importance of honesty is the most blatant universal truth I have found; reiterated in life stories, religions, belief systems, literature, etc.

Honestly, I am just a coward. I have been afraid to stand by my faith because of something as silly as sales and public opinion and that ends now.

Please know that I am a Catholic - I want to tell you about my experience’s and teach you what I know about life. I also would love to hear about you and your journey!

So, no matter what your religion or walk of life, welcome to my corner of the internet. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it adds some value to your life.

This month’s advice:

Know who you are. Don’t be afraid to stand by what you believe. And be honest with everyone… especially yourself.

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