The Importance of Diversity

In this episode of For Love And Money, Rae D Magdon is joined by Dana Piccoli to discuss The Importance of Diversity in media
In this amazing interview, Dana Piccoli and I talk about what it means to be a debut author coming from another industry, and discuss the importance of diversity in sapphic fiction.
We discuss:
  • Switching industries to publish a debut novel.
  • The importance of social media marketing.
  • How diversity is important for representation and can also help reach a wider audience

Listen here

Dana Piccoli Online


please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect

hello everyone right here coming off of a flu after Calexacon 2019 which was amazing this is an interview I’ve had in my back pocket for a while with the amazing Dana Piccoli and you should absolutely listen to it even though we have a couple has some pop issues with the quality Zen caster decided to be annoying about it but the enthusiasm and the wisdom of this particular interview are just so great and I can’t wait for you to hear it thanks hello everyone and welcome to the lesbian talk shows for love and money I’m your host Rae D Magdon and today we have an interesting guest with a different sort of background than we usually have on the show Dana Piccoli is a pop culture and entertainment writer and a great convention panelist and moderator and she has her debut novel coming out so I’m really excited to talk to her about her plans for marketing it hey Dana thank you so much for agreeing to be on the show oh thanks so much for having you right I’m super excited to talk to you because you come from a bit of a different world than a lot of my guests and I like to get the variety so you’re a you’re a pop culture and entertainment writer and critic how did you get into that from a queer point of view uh because I used to write songs about Pretty Little Liars I I’ve always been a big fan so I’ve always been really interested in television and movies and I one day decided that I would just kind of start writing down these funny goofy songs that I had in my head about Pretty Little Liars which at the time was my favorite show and within a day that particular song which was called The Ballad of rosewood got picked up by the alloy entertainment site which owns Pretty Little Liars and he got picked up by AfterEllen at the time and then within a few weeks I was vlogging for AfterEllen and then soon after that I started writing and I’ve been writing ever since and now I am the editor and chief writer for the blog at Bella books that’s actually where I first encountered you is your relationship with Bella books and also at collects akan you’re a pretty large moderator presence there and you do the podcast for clinseq on – right yes I host unconventional and it’s uh basically all about lexicon and we have different themes for each episode different guest so it’s a lot of fun in it I’ve I’ve had really wonderful responses to it and people tell me that it really helps them get prepared to go to collects con and it’s also great for cliques of camps who aren’t able to attend but get a chance to have you know some sort of little back-and-forth with some of their favorite creators and and guests that’s amazing because everybody I know loves Calexico and as a queer convention it’s like the place to go and I loved my experience last year but you know we’re a bunch of young poor people a lot of us so we can’t always go so to bring a little bit of the con into someone’s you know daily life without them having to go all the way to Las Vegas I think that’s a public service to be honest and you know clicks account is really good about putting a lot of their panels on YouTube as well and I’ve met so many people who’ve said I didn’t know who you were until I saw your way hot panel or your you know wastrel panel or whatever on on YouTube so I’ve met a lot of people through that too and so it’s it’s cool they because you can’t attend at least you can be part of the party shortly thereafter it’s also really useful for me because sometimes I’m on a panel and then I want to go see someone else’s pay and also I missed the way-out panel last year because I was speaking somewhere else so I was I got to see the video and I was really appreciative of that so you started out as a pop culture and entertainment critic on that side of things and you’re making kind of a shifting career to publish your first debut novel with Bella books savor the moment can you tell us a little bit about that so savor the moment was this this idea I just had driving to Michigan from New York lots of boring scenery my wife was asleep and suddenly I just started dreaming up these characters and I have a degree in musical theater I’m I have a past experience as a vocalist a professional vocalist and performer and so a little bit of Nats inspiration Natalia Natalia chambers who’s the lead character in stable moment came from my experience in that world and the rest just kind of all fell out of my head I I wanted Natalia to to be a musician I didn’t really want her to be anything like me but I I knew kind of how how that world worked and it was also important to me that she wasn’t some sort of big superstar and I know that’s a you know the very common thing and in romance you kind of want to take yourself away and it’s cool to you know go into you know super fantastical worlds but I really wanted her to be very grounded in in the profession and in working hard to rise up in it and so you know she’s I think I was always inspired by the musicians whose music pops up on Grey’s Anatomy and so I was I kind of built her success on having one of her songs chosen as the theme song for a very kind of Grey’s Anatomy type of show Wow that if you hadn’t sold me before that really did because I have a background in the music industry as well and find it really relatable okay so so aside from Natalia who are the other characters in the book so Natalia’s love interest is Madeleine or Maddie as her friends call her Leduc and Maddie is a pastry chef which is a world that has always really fascinated me and interested me and she is she’s of doing really well in a very popular restaurant in New York City she’s trained in France which you get to read about in the book and they have a very unique kind of meet-cute and I just always really liked the thought of them meeting in that way and I don’t want to spoil it but it’s something that I think is very relatable and I love a little bit of awkwardness in a person and I wanted net to have this smooth kind of cool charming career but also to kind of just be a little bit of an awkward dork at times I mean I’ll be real I don’t know any queer people that aren’t too awkward dorks so I think that makes the book all the more realistic in my view alright but and so there’s non-binary characters there’s trans characters and a majority of the cast are people of color or you know just I really it was important to me that the book reflected the community in which I exist and that is very much the community assistant that’s so amazing a lot of times in less Vic it does have a tendency once in a while to be very you know lesbian centric and white centric and some of those books are very nice but I mean there’s so much more out there and like it’s so exciting to meet an author who’s willing to you know include some of the supporting characters who make might be gay men or who might be trans or non-binary that’s so great I’m so excited now oh thank you and you know my lead character at Natalia she is her mom’s Brazilian and so the reason I did that is twofold I wanted to tell you two to be Brazilian because a lot of the people that I interact with online and who have taught me a tremendous amount about representation and my own privileges as a person in the United States have been from Brazil and so I have a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for what I have we have learned and experienced with on that side of things and also my mom has always been a very she’s always loved everything Brazilian oh no she’s not Brazilian herself but this is a little bit of an homage to her as well to incorporate her love of the Brazilian culture and have that be Nats background and I was really excited about that and I hope I hope people enjoy that part and it’s just kind of like a special thing for two important parts of my life you’re listening to the lesbian talk show the lesbians all choked on you hub of podcast information okay so this is your first fictional novel but you have lots of other writing published in other venues what experience and knowledge are you taking from that in order to promote your first book well I’m very lucky that I have built a really I think I’d like to say robust social medium following over the last few years and I don’t I don’t think I’d feel nearly as comfortable bringing this book into the world if it weren’t for these amazing people that have supported me online all these years and I think that’s certainly a big help when you are bringing something into the world like this and I think because I’m also in the world of entertainment the people that follow me or that I follow we all are very interested in queer stories and so I wanted to I have tremendous amount of respect for fan fiction and how important that has been and life changing for so many people and because I work in that world I tend to not do fan fiction because I you know work in the entertainment spear but I love it and I read it but I wanted to bring a new story like a completely original story into existence and I’m so glad that the people that I’ve you know made connections with over the years have supported that and I asked before I even delved into this like what do you think about this should I do this and everyone is very clear about wanting new stories and fun exciting love happy all those sorts of things and so I’m hoping that savor the moment is able to tap into I really wanted it to be in the rom-com you know vain it’s got a lot of serious elements there are some major things to deal with but it’s also very back and forth by it I don’t know about you Ray but like I grew up in the Joss Whedon Amy sherman-palladino like back and forth you know kind of dialogue thing and I really wanted those these characters to talk like people that I know and realize and so I hope that that humor and that spirit comes through the banter yeah I am old enough not to age myself but I’m old enough to know what you’re talking about so I I to him from the world of fanfiction and I absolutely love it and I think it’s so important and empowering in a lot of ways for our community so to have someone who has that respect for fanfiction create an original work I love when authors tell me that’s their career path like to be from that community and then see a need and try to fill that need I gotta ask are you gonna leverage your your Twitter followers in promoting this book because the absolute should your Twitter is gold is this way I met you is through your Twitter oh yeah absolutely of course I’ve been doing it for over a year now since the book was announced yeah and I’ve had such a great response from people and I get told all the time like I just murdered your book or I’ve got it on my calendar and so that’s been so incredible to me and and yes I would be I would be foolish not to try to use the opportunities I have made over the years for my work to to market the book I mean I’m very lucky in that respect I know a lot of authors don’t have that opportunity right away when they have a debut novel well I think you’ve earned it you have said that you’ve had something interesting to say and proven it to all your followers and now you have a whole books worth of things to say so of course they want to read it crossing my fingers it’ll be great it’ll be great so are you releasing just on Amazon or are you going wide so Bella books does print and you books and what I would well and we also we also do distribute on Amazon so you can find save at the moment you can pre-order it now on Amazon but you can also pre-order it as I think as of the 1st of March you should be able to be order on Bella and it when you’re with a publisher like that it’s always a better deal for the publisher and the author to buy it directly from the publisher but certainly if like amazon’s your jam and that’s how you want to go i totally fine with that and i encourage that i just want people to read the book and get it however they feel comfortable but there are options and i think a lot of people don’t realize that when you buy from a directly from the publisher you can get ebooks in the version that you are you’re used to using on your Kindle or your nook or whatever it just takes a little bit of a transfer so I just don’t want people to think that the only way you can get any bit ebook is on Amazon you can get them directly from publishers to I’m so glad you said that because you know it’s something that people outside the industry don’t always know that a lot of these publishers have these books in all formats available on their websites and you’ll often get a better deal and they get more money for each sale if a son doesn’t make their cut as a debut author yourself but someone who is widely published in other other venues what advice do you have for people who are interested in publishing a book what are you learning through this process what has worked for you so far that writing a book is really hard it’s uh I I am used to the world of fast paced entertainment news and thought pieces I am used to you know a thousand words two thousand words listicles things like that things like come come from you in a short amount of adrenaline and energy and a book is a very time-consuming and then time-sensitive project it was incredibly stressful at times but it was also really cool when suddenly you came up with something completely new and I have to thank my editor and Roberts who is one of the greats and lesbian fiction she really is she really is so she was a wonderful editor to me and I took her advice pretty much it returned because I know that she has done this so many times and as I would say you know lean lean on your editor when you are struggling and but also don’t be afraid to say hey you know I really this is a piece that really means a lot to me I’d like to keep it in and we had those conversations and she was always very flexible about that but having somebody who has the experience that she does and the knowledge was was a godsend I I’m so appreciative yeah that’s how you gotta do it you gotta find a really great and supportive editor and then do what they say and if you have to cry about it cry about it but do what they say yeah cuz they will want to cut some of your favorite things and as much as it hurts you kind of realize that they’re right I I’ve always had that experience even though it’s painful in the moment when you go back you’re like this works this really works better this way yeah because you’re so you’re so connected to that story in such an emotional way that sometimes you just can’t see it straight well I your novel doesn’t sound very straight to me but I totally get anything I mean what’s the point of being queer if you can’t make gay puns sorry right right and you know and I there’s a lot of sexy times in the book and a lot of laughs and some serious moments that I think I try to reflect what a real relationship would feel like and falling in love and dealing with with stuff that we all have to deal with and I’m just I’m really excited like I I I’m kind of I’m kind of anxious I wake up in the cold sweat sometimes at night because the book comes out in like a month but I’m so blessed to have so many really supportive amazing people around me well I for one am really really excited to read this book and to see it come out into the world and give our community a new story because we need them so badly so thank you so much for writing it for being on the show for sharing some of your interesting way into this field with us and just and just talking to me about it it’s been an absolute pleasure thank you well thank you so much for having me ray I I’m so honored to be this is the first interview I’ve given about Samer and so I’m so I’m so gigged about it you should feel proud you should feel geeked about it it’s great thank you so much thank you you’ve been listening to the lesbian talk shows for love and money with rady Magadan and our special guest dana piccoli and her new release coming out on march 14th through bella books savor the moment if you want to check out the book I will add all the links in the show notes maybe consider buying it from Bella if you want to give the publishers in the writer an extra cut if you want to continue the conversation please go to the lesbian talk shows Facebook group where you can engage with our other users or check out the lesbian talk shows patreon where you can hear exclusive clips not found anywhere else thank you and have a wonderful two weeks