On Being a Small Press Author – Sabrina Zollo

Running a small press is just like running a business with a group of employees – well almost. I don’t actually get to see them every day and we can’t gather around the water cooler to chat. Since we all see each other only virtually, I thought it might be nice to ‘introduce’ our authors to both each other and their readers via a series of short interviews. These interviews will run every couple of days for the next month or so – it’s a neat way of finding out how similar authors can be, and yet so different.

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Today I’m happy to present Sabrina Zollo, the newest author in our publishing house. Her book, WHY I LOVE MY GAY BOYFRIEND, was just released on Friday and it’s a fun story of a young woman’s new life as she enters the corporate world. I met Sabrina through a former mutual colleague who encouraged her to submit to our house, and I’m sure glad she did. She’s a fun, very professional gal who also happens to be Canadian! Please join me in welcoming her aboard.

1. The first book I can remember reading is: I was a reading monster growing up. I loved books. A WRINKLE IN TIME really stands out from my childhood. Before you’re impressed, note that I also owned the whole Sweet Valley High series.

2. The first book I ever wrote was: Actually, it’s the one that Central Avenue Publishing is publishing right now. I wrote a lot growing up but WHY I LOVE MY GAY BOYFRIEND is the first book I ever finished writing. A pretty good incentive for me to follow through on all my endeavours!

3. I found out about Central Avenue Publishing through my day job. I was presenting to a retailer and my colleague thought it would be fun to mention that I wrote a book. With a title like WHY I LOVE MY GAY BOYFRIEND, it was a little embarrassing to talk about in a corporate meeting with a customer, but it turned out the buyer knew Michelle and recommended that I submit my novel. I decided to submit my book to increase my odds.

I had gotten about twenty rejections before Michelle reached out to me. I read her email while I was away on business late at night and broke out in a celebration dance alone in my hotel room, contemplating whether I should contact my co-workers to go down to the hotel bar and celebrate. The next morning they were upset that I hadn’t!

4. The last book I read was the Steve Jobs biography. A fascinating book. What a true genius to have revolutionized everything he touched, despite possibly being the meanest person in the world.

5. In order for me to sit down and write, I need to feel so strongly about something and so connected to it that it just comes pouring out of me. I read in WRITING DOWN THE BONES that you need to let life experiences marinate within you before you realize what impact it had on you. WHY I LOVE MY GAY BOYFRIEND was inspired by a life event but it took me more than five years to realize what I wanted to say about it. And then as I wrote, I learned some more.

6. My ‘day job’ is:  I’m a brand manager at a health company. After marketing beauty, food and drug products, it’s so weird to be marketing myself!

7. I carve out time to write by forcing myself to write every Sunday afternoon no matter what. It’s amazing how efficient and productive you become when you restrict yourself to small windows.

8. I am currently working on marketing my first book – it’s my night/weekend job right now but I’m loving it. My second book is still marinating but I feel like it may be ready soon.

9. The best piece of advice I ever got regarding my writing was from my good friend Alysia. I was disappointed after a year of rejection for my book and she made me promise to keep submitting and not stop until I got a hundred rejections. Who knew that setting massive rejection as a goal would end up as the opposite?

10. The best piece of advice I would give is: Ask yourself what gives you joy and happiness and what you are truly passionate about in life. If you’re not doing it then ask yourself what the hell you’re waiting for.  Asking myself this question is what inspired me to actually write my book.