Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Advocate's Betrayal, Day One

Today was the first official day of sales for ZOVA's first official book release. Teresa Burrell's novel, The Advocate's Betrayal, was unveiled to readers at the Barnes & Noble in the Long Beach Town Center this morning around eleven o'clock. A thorough launch party is scheduled for this weekend, as I'm sure regular blog readers know, but several fans stopped by for their signed copies at the Long Beach location, bright and early. Paired next to her first novel, the new release looked appropriately patriotic with it's eye-catching cover graphics and sleek finish. If the sales figures from today are anything to go by, I'd say we have a new wave of eager readers entering the ranks of Advocate fans. Time to take a step back and let our author do what all our authors do best: tell a good story. Thank you, Teresa. Day one, done well.

Monday, June 28, 2010

If anyone's checked the countdown recently, you'll know that our first book, The Advocate's Betrayal, is being released in a matter of hours. You read that right. Not weeks. Not days. But hours. Teresa Burrell will be signing copies at the Barnes & Noble in the Long Beach Town Center tomorrow morning and through the week till she heads toward the Riverside Barnes & Noble at the Galleria at Tyler. There, we'll be celebrating the release from Friday to Sunday, with a special event on Saturday at two o'clock. Join us for a conversation with our author, your own signed copy of The Advocate's Betrayal, and some coffee and cookies on us! We're looking forward to meeting you there.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Press Release for the Launch

Four days left till the launch of The Advocate's Betrayal, and we're spreading the news wherever news can be spread! The press release for the launch aired today. It's a fun sort of game to Google around trying to find new and interesting places the press release has been featured. (More proof that the speed of knowledge in this information age has made us more curious rather than less.) Alternately, post the press release on your own page, blog, or site (is that redundant?) and see how quickly you pop up in the same search. It's also a sneaky way for us to get to know you, since we'll find you when we Google ourselves (Yes, we do that. You know, if we're ever bored...).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Interview with Teresa Burrell

With barely six days left before the launch of The Advocate's Betrayal, we thought we'd ask the author a few questions about her writing. It's always a pleasure to get to know serious authors, and Teresa is no exception. I shot her some questions last night, and was delighted to hear back from her bright and early this morning with the following:

Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

Most of my story lines come from real cases I was involved in at juvenile court. The Advocate's Betrayal came from an adult case and a juvenile case I dealt with in real life. The juvenile case dealt with a family that taught their children to hate. That kind of petition is very difficult to beat. The adult case is based on a dear friend of mine who lived her entire life in a lie. The main threads that run through both story lines are true, but they have definitely been fictionalized. Strangely enough, some of the true story is less believable than the fiction.

If you were going to write a series with a hero or heroine other than Sabre Orin Brown, what would the character be like?

I've thought for a long time about writing a young adult series, but I just have too many Advocate stories rambling around in my head that I'm not quite ready to move on yet.

What habits or rituals do you have while you're writing?

I write best in the early morning and without interruptions. When I get on a roll, sometimes I'll keep writing all day. If I have a few days when I can just keep writing, I leave my laptop on my bed and just start when I wake up.

What are your favorite mystery novels?

There are just too many to pick a favorite. I definitely prefer legal suspense novels, but I also enjoy a good 'cozy', like Rita Lakin's books.

Any hints as to what the third book will be about?

Sabre finds herself dealing with a satanic ritual case.

We could go on, but we don't want to steal your own questions. Swing by the Barnes & Noble in the Long Beach Town Center from June 29th to July 1 to grill her in person, or join us for a discussion and signing at the Barnes & Noble at the Riverside Galleria on July 3rd.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One More Week....

Our first book, The Advocate's Betrayal, will be hitting stores one week from today. We've talked a lot about the release, and we're excited to hear feedback from readers about the story itself. Of course, you can read the blurbs on Amazon, our website, and even the back of the book. You can also check out Teresa Burrell's website for a sneak peak at the thrilling preface. There are all sorts of ways to prep yourself for Sabre's next novel.

We've got some other suggestions for readers as well. For the devoted Advocate fan, why not form a mystery book club? From local libraries to online forums, there are dozens of ways to share the Advocate love with friends and strangers alike. Or, be your own advocate! Educate yourself on the needs of children's advocacy in your area. There are plenty of volunteer organizations and advocacy groups you can participate in. Or start up a discussion group on our facebook fanpage - or Teresa's fanpage - to share your favorite passages, questions, and predictions. Visit Teresa at any of her weekly appearances to get your own signed copy, and bring your friends to share the love!

In the meantime, mark your calendars for the release on June 29th, and we'll see you at the Barnes & Noble in Long Beach - or at the launch party in Riverside the following weekend. We're counting down the days!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Mystery of the Bestseller

I've been thinking about what makes a bestseller. It's never been my goal to break the box office of books with a thrilling new release (though I do think our new releases are rather thrilling). It's my goal to shed some light on a few good stories and to present compelling authors to discriminating readers. I think that's even in our mission statement somewhere.... Anyway, I've been asking myself how books like Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy or Lee Child's 61 Hours find their way to bestseller lists. With Child, it's a little more straightforward. It doesn't much matter what he writes, after all. His name sells the book. But Larsson? Now that's different.

Stieg Larsson died in 2004; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo wasn't released until the following year. The book was written in Swedish, and the author made only casual attempts to publish it during his life. I remember when it first came out and Barnes & Noble chose it for their recommended reading title of the month. I was working for BN at the time, and those books sat in a big pile by the cafe, hardly touched by a single customer during the course of the day. The third one just came out at the end of May, an immediate bestseller. What happened between the first book's release and the last? Did the BN promotion eventually take effect? Was it the corresponding film release - a film most people still talk more about seeing than actually go to see? Was it the gradual wooing of the phenomenal cover art? Did people finally pick up the reviews and take them seriously?

I have a theory. I think a few people read it and started talking. They talked louder and longer than they usually did, and they talked about the book in particular. Other people took these first people seriously, picked it up, and talked about it themselves in a louder and longer way than usual. This louder and longer talking about this series of books was relayed through an exponentially growing network of readers and non-readers alike until everyone who hadn't read it bought it, those who had read it pre-ordered their copies of the third, and those who will never read it pretended that they would by buying copies of all three and setting them prominently on their bookshelves. Voila. A bestseller is born.

As I said before, it's never been my goal to set such a monster in motion. But it intrigues me. I am fascinated by every shift in the sales ranking for our first release, The Advocate's Betrayal. I wonder who it might be on the other side of Amazon, clicking the pre-order option. I wonder how they got there, what inspired their purchase, how they heard of it, how long it will take them to read it, whether they will recommend it to friends or keep it in a great collection of pretty books left unread. I want to know these things, but I never will. Readers are the great mystery, the ungovernable democracy that determines what will and will not move from the untouched stack of over-printed titles to the hottest thing on the market. Bravo, readers. I salute you.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

All the buzz has been the release of The Advocate's Betrayal in a few short weeks, and we are thrilled about that. But behind the scenes, we're also not forgetting our other releases, now fast approaching. There's an exclusive e-book hitting the internet from Jeff Sherratt in about a week (the release date remains a secret... prepare yourselves!), followed by the explosive release of an all new Jimmy O'Brien series in October, and our even more secret third author the following month. It seems like a ways away, but the weeks and months will be flying by. At least, they will for us. So get ready for a year of fresh reads! They're on their way.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Busy Saturday...

It's the weekend, which means we spend hours planning and prepping the week to come. There's so much to look forward to on Monday! We're gonna start seeing book reviews up on Amazon and bn.com, a press release or two, more detailed plans for the launch of The Advocate's Betrayal on June 29th, a visit to one of our favorite independent bookstores, free giveaways, and much, much more! I'm exhausted just thinking about it. And excited!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It's never irrelevant for a publishing company to talk about a bookstore. So when I stumbled across this little gem, I just knew I had to share it with you. It's the goal of every publisher of quality to produce the sort of works that will last for years to come. You know, the sort that in fifty or a hundred years will find their ways onto shelves like these, and then again into the hands of careful, discriminating readers. I think that's somewhere in the ZOVA Books mission statement, actually. What we really want to do is to publish books that we would want to find ourselves, as we prowl the rows of beautiful spines in crowded bookshops, waiting to see the very title that will make us jump and squeal and grab it off the shelf. It is a noble goal.