Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Napoleon Conquers Multiple
Borders, Boundries, Genres

Crossing borders and boundaries, genres and media is nothing new for author Landon Napoleon.

Napoleon’s debut novel, ZigZag, was published by Henry Holt in 1997. Shortly after the book hit the shelves, Napoleon was approached by writer/director David Goyer about film rights. The film adaptation of ZigZag came out in 2002 starring John Leguizamo, Wesley Snipes and Natasha Lyonne.

Napoleon than did a bit of a Zig Zag himself when he switched genres and brought out The Spirit Warrior’s Handbook, a self-help book that hopes to inspire one to ‘step into your true potential.’ Napoleon brought the book out through print-on-demand publisher iUniverse.

“I seem to be blessed as a writer in this lifetime. My first novel was made into a film that l love. And my first self-publishing go-around with iUniverse was nothing but positive,” Napoleon said. “I think the biggest plus with self-publishing is getting to design one's own cover; that doesn't happen in traditional publishing unless, perhaps, your last name happens to be 'King' or 'Evanovich.' With my self-published book I got to bring my artistic vision for the cover to fruition. With my novel, I got stuck with a really bad cover that completely missed the mark.”

While Napoleon had several successful signings with The Spirit Warrior’s Handbook, he did not push for much beyond that.

“One thing I've learned is that I love to write, but I'm not real big on the selling side. I did the basics—signings, readings, etc.—but probably not nearly enough to really get the book out there,” he said. “I wrote this one more for myself and if people stumble upon it and find it helpful then that's a real bonus. I had one former high school classmate find the book on her own and track me down to say it helped her tremendously as a person in recovery. That alone made the effort worthwhile.”

The stigma attached to self-publishing is not of much concern for Napoleon.

“Traditional publishing is, well, very traditional! For many in the industry there will always be a stigma associated with self publishing as not 'real' publishing. But I think the lines between 'traditional/real' and 'self-published/not worthy' are blurring more and more,” he said. “I also like the old adage (which applies to Hollywood, book publishing and finding the right mate): No one knows anything. Follow your passion and do what you want to do; forget about all the rest because the clock's ticking and sooner or later we're all going in the box anyway.”

Next up for Napoleon is finding a home for his recently completed novel, The Rules of Action.

“We're currently submitting the new novel to agents and traditional publishers. I like the idea of going the traditional route, if possible, because the publisher picks up a lot of the leg work (editorial direction, copyediting, layout, printing, distribution, etc.),” Napoleon said. “And I also love that self publishing is now a viable alternative to get one's work out there.

“The best advice I ever heard from a traditional book editor is the magical key to this whole business of getting published whatever route you choose. She simply said the best marketing tool is-- drum roll please-- write a great book. I think it's easy to get sidetracked and focus more on 'being a writer' (self publishing, marketing, speaking, selling, cashing six-figure checks, etc.) and less on writing. That is, plant butt in chair for extended periods and produce your pages every day. That's still the hardest part. Write first, sell later.”


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