For some authors, the writing of a novel should be sacrosanct from the selling of a novel.
That separation can be harder to achieve if you have a Master of Business Administration.
In fact, when Lorenzo Petruzziello, MBA ’06, BSBA '96, was writing his debut novel, The Love Fool, the promoting and selling of the finished book were in his mind even before he put pen to paper.
“The whole time I was working on the project, it was very difficult to turn off the business brain and just write a story,” Petruzziello says. “I kept thinking, ‘This is a product. How do I make sure someone’s going to buy this? Who am I writing this for?’ It was important to me not just to write a story but to write a story I could sell.”
Instinctively drawing on his MBA training, Petruzziello also did his own market research. For example, he polled people he knew in America and Italy, where the novel is set, to see whether the word “Love” in the title would help or hurt potential sales. (His research found that American men didn’t like the word in the title; Italian men didn’t care so much.)
Now that the novel is published, he’s drawing on his MBA yet again to help with marketing. Only this time the product being marketed is himself at signings and meet-and-greets, including an “Aperitivo with the Author” event at Eataly in Boston and an upcoming appearance at Suffolk (see below).
“It’s weird. I’ve done lots of marketing and PR for international cooking and travel shows on public television,” says Petruzziello. “I remember telling authors and chefs, ‘You need to get out there and talk and promote yourself.’ And now I find myself so nervous when I have to do it. There’s nobody to talk me into it!”
While the self-promotional angle for The Love Fool might be new territory to Petruzziello, the subject matter of the novel is familiar ground. He started traveling to Italy when he was 11 to stay with his grandparents. As an undergraduate, he completed a semester abroad in Milan. He speaks Italian fluently and has dual citizenship. His goal was to use that deep knowledge to show readers parts of the Eternal City that aren’t necessarily first on tourist lists and, in a sense, market a different side of Rome to his readers.
“I focused on places that people overlook when they go to Rome,” Petruzziello says. “I try to show American readers it’s not just a museum. I wanted the culture of the city and what everyday Romans do to be the backdrop of the novel.”
As part of Suffolk’s Sawyer Library Speaker Series, Lorenzo Petruzziello will talk about the time he spent in Rome and The Love Fool at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 2, 2018, at the Mildred F. Sawyer Library.
The novel is for sale at the Suffolk University Bookstore.
Petruzziello’s Top 5 Places to Visit in Rome
1. Villa Borghese Gardens
Stroll around this beautiful park and take a break from rushing around the tourist sights. Sunday mornings are full of people enjoying a morning stroll before heading home for a classic Roman lunch.
2. Galleria Borghese Museum
Located inside the gardens is one of my favorite museums in Rome. Explore the rooms of the gorgeous villa, just like Alex and Emily in The Love Fool, exploring fascinating sculptures and paintings by some of Italy’s famous artists.
3. Antico Forno Roscioli
This is one of Rome’s most popular bread bakeries. Inside you will find locals and visitors purchasing freshly baked bread to take home for lunch. And most likely you will spot many of them snacking on the pizza bianca or pizza rossa.
4. Alembic Bar
Located in Piazza Piscinula in Trastevere. This is one of the locales that inspired the Cin Cin Bar in The Love Fool. Pop inside and notice the eclectic décor; imagine Patrizia and her bohemian coworkers bopping about.
5. Bar del Fico
Located just beyond Piazza Navona, enjoy an aperitivo with local Romans before heading off to dinner.