Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of 'Storytelling' Rudy Mazzocchi

Rudy Mazzocchi is both an award-winning author and entrepreneur with a history as an inventor, venture capitalist, angel investor, and founder of over a dozen new technology ventures throughout the U.S. and Europe. He's been fortunate to have the opportunity to see the newest innovations in healthcare and work with some of the most brilliant researchers, scientists and physicians in the industry.
Authoring over 50 patents, he has been influential in pioneering new companies involved in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, neurosurgery and even embryonic stem-cell development. Through these efforts, he has become the recipient of many technology and business awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Healthcare (2004), Businessman of the Year Award (2005), and Global Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2013).
Combining these experiences and opportunities, he also found the initiative to start writing a collection of medical thrillers based on true events, now known as The EQUITY Series. The first book in this series, EQUITY of EVIL has received numerous literary awards since its release in March of 2012. http://www.rudymazzocchi.com

Amazon Link to Book:  http://amzn.to/19jY1vN

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I believe it was just the challenge of finishing another journey. While on a 10-day cruise with my wife down through the Panama Canal, I was bored out of my mind… pacing the deck of the ship after the third day. She suggested that I go to the ship library and find a good book to read, and I’d replied, “I would rather write one, than read another one.” She basically dared me to, so within the hour I was madly
scribing the outline for my first novel, EQUITY of EVIL. Once the manuscript was completed (nearly a year later), I then was determined to see it through to publication. The journey included three editors, a literary agency, a publisher and various publicists.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

My novels are based on real medical sciences that might not be commercially available for another 8-10 years and include several controversial themes that will force our society to re-think our moral, ethical and political views on many topics; e.g. abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, and the rewiring of our brains (neuroplasticity). These are confidential, secret developments that I’ve been privileged to get a sneak preview to, but cannot disclose in the normal business arena. By converting them into fictional themes in my thrillers, I can unleash my knowledge of these bold, new and exciting technologies in such a way as to not get me into any trouble! It’s very rewarding to incorporate all of this into an entertaining and educational format.
Unfortunately, I find the most demanding (and frustrating) part of publishing is in the promotion and branding of your labels. I had simply expected to see all my works sitting on the bookshelves of those small stores in the airport terminals throughout the country. Hah! Rather than flying from city-to-city for book signings, I’m spending hours a day on social media trying to get the word out ‘one-reader-at-a-time’!

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I was emphatically told by my initial editor that I should make every attempt to identify a traditional publisher to minimize the heavy lifting required to self-publish. Given the demands of my day job as a Chief Executive Officer of a medical device company, this made a great deal of sense. We both agreed that I would not have the time and energy to self-publish. He’d also indicated that I would have to make room in my garage for all the slow-moving inventory. So, I went old-school and started by soliciting the representation of a literary agency – which took nearly six months to accomplish. After convincing the Trident Media Group in Manhattan to take me on as a client, it took another 4-5 months to identify and negotiate the terms of a publishing contract with Twilight Times Books.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)

Snarky? Cool word… I’ll have to use that somewhere in my next book. I guess, the snarkiest thing would be the lack of strong marketing and distribution support. Don’t get me wrong, I am very fortunate to have the engagement of my publisher, but it is my impression that regardless of the size of the publisher, it is still up to the author and their publicist(s) to promote and market the book. It’s a challenging business model that requires a great deal of investment by the author – of both time and money.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

They have been extremely supportive, but for me, it’s all about the timing in my life. I’m now 50-something and the kids are all off doing their own thing; i.e. working, college, graduate school, etc. I wouldn’t have had the time and energy to pursue my writing interest when I was a younger business man, obsessed with establishing new companies while raising a family. They all now think it’s very cool and they’ve become my biggest fans!

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

The craziest times have been over the selection of titles and book cover designs. I can appreciate the importance of both, but I was overwhelmed with the amount of input and scrutiny I received regarding these two elements of getting published. I mean… it was easier to get book reviews than to get my agent, editor, publisher, publicist and wife to agree to the title and cover design!

For example, my first thriller was originally titled Harvest of the Unborn, a novel based on true events that includes the pirating of aborted fetuses and the harvesting of their precious organs that are hydroponically grown to support a multi-billion dollar organ transplant market. None of the top publishing houses would touch such a title by an unknown author. It took several months to come up with a new (appropriate) title and cover design… now EQUITY of EVIL. We had similar issues with my third book, STORYTELLING – The Indispensable Art of Entrepreneurism, a non-fiction business book that reveals one of the key essentials of being a successful entrepreneur. Weeks were lost during the debate of the cover design. A publicist was fired over an argument regarding the use of the word “indispensable” in the title. It was absolutely crazy!

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

Given the medical/business elements of my books, I’ve found that I get the most traction with LinkedIN. Here I can reach a vast network of not only individuals, but societies, organizations and “clubs” that communicate openly on a daily basis. Twitter is okay, but it’s been tough to expand the amount of followers. Unfortunately, I find Facebook to be the least effective for me. Maybe there’s just too much noise out there for it to be a valuable place to promote these types of books.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

There are different challenges in promoting fictional thrillers compared to this non-fiction book, STORYTELLING. Fortunately, this book has been positively reviewed and recognized to address a critical element of business that has been overlooked by the business and entrepreneur programs in universities throughout the country. Therefore, we have been making a big push to inform the top thirty universities/colleges in the U.S. that this book is available. Many have already implied that this should be mandatory reading in their curriculum and I’ve been asked to give either guest lectures or keynote presentations at their schools.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

“Hello America! Do yourselves a favor and turn off your damn TVs and Xboxes and read a book!”         

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

Hmmm… I guess what I love is the fact that I am now ‘a published author’. I’ve accomplished some great things in my career, been an accomplished athlete, raised two wonderful kids, proud to be considered a loyal friend to many, and have a den full of awards and certificates. However, there is something extremely rewarding about being ‘a published author’. It’s the cool factor! When I’m now introduced prior to giving a keynote presentation or a guest lecture at a university, the audience lights up when the moderator finally says, “… and on top of that, Mr. Mazzocchi is an award-winning published author of both non-fiction and fictional novels.” How cool is that? www.rudymazzocchi.com

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