Top 5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Was Published by Z. Allora – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Greetings! I want to thank Long and Short Reviews for the opportunity to share a little bit about me, things I wished I knew before I was published, and my new release The Great Wall. To celebrate I’ll be doing a giveaway: 3 e-books of Secured and Free, 5 e-books of Finally Fallen and a $20 gift card to Dreamspinner. (Details about the giveaway are below.)

Top 5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Was Published
1) I needed beta/critique partners.

I sent my first draft to publisher. (I know I know…) I was isolated in China and had NO CLUE on how many times you should re-read, edit, re-read a draft before you hand it off to a beta/critique partner to do the same. Then work through their feedback, re-read and do it all again before you even think about sending your work in.

2) Scrivener

This is a writing program, and at this point I don’t think I could write without it. I plot and have an outline but I have a constant rush of ideas when I’m not “writing” (aka working on the story) Scrivener gives me some place to put those notes. It allows me to label and shuffle chapters easily. It keeps everything on one screen for easy access (all my chapters, research, character sketches, world building, notes, summaries, POVs, etc.).

3) Character Sketches

These usually include: physical description, background, family situation, milestone experiences, internal motivation, external motivation, conflicts, relationships to others, and other basic information. Understanding the characters is a no brainer but a character page allows you to keep all the little details straight if you write another book with the same character. I live with characters sometimes for years but I like knowing their birthdates, eye color, and internal conflicts at a glance.

4) Publishing is more than writing

When a publisher invests in you there are things you can do to help ensure they see a return on their time and money. You need to maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Redbubble, etc. (Facebook and Twitter are no problem for me). Having a blog and a website helps you interact with readers and allows them to find out more about you and about your work. (This takes blood, sweat and tears for me to do this one). Then there’s promotion which is tough to do because it feels like you’re saying buy my book again and again, which you are but I’ve learned to do is really share pieces of myself, the story, my process, and extras that have gone into beloved characters. You need to consider attending conventions, writing retreats, festivals, Pride, etc. so people can meet you in person. The writing part is easy… it’s the sharing that can be work.

5) Branding

My love describes Z. Allora as who I am when I’m my absolute self. Meaning a 13-year old boy who loves penises, bunnies, sex, and a beret wearing LGBTQ warrior ready to throat punch at a giggle’s notice. When a reader picks up a Z. Allora book they know it’s going to be a yaoified romance with lots of sex, fluffy deliciousness, and a happily ever after. I think branding who you are is essential because buying a book is a contract between the reader and the author. You want know if you’re on the same page with someone or not. Branding gives that information.

Destiny will be decided by a battle between heart and mind….

Jun Tai “Styx” Wong loves two things: playing the drums and his best friend, Jin. But being a good Chinese son means he can’t have either—he’ll have to marry a girl of his parents’ choosing and settle into a traditional job. His move to the bigger city of Suzhou is both a blessing and curse, as living with Jin makes it harder for Styx to suppress his desires. Nearly dying while trying to eradicate his feelings serves as a wake-up call for Jin, who takes extreme measures to keep Styx safe from harm.

When given a second chance at life and happiness, will Styx be able to claim the future he wants with Jin, his bandmates, and his music? Can love and hope grow with the constantly looming threat of Styx’s parents ordering him home? Great things await—if Styx finds the courage to break down the wall that stands between him and everything he wants.

To Enter the Giveaway: Leave a comment telling us what your brand is. Maybe you’re a reader who wants to cry their eyes out but better get a happily ever after. Or someone who writes thrillers with a thread of mystery weaving through your work. Perhaps you’re a mother who will cut you if you side eye any of her babies. Or someone seeking a life of peace and serenity. What’s your brand?

Many hugs, Z.

About the Author: Z. Allora believes in happily ever after for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.
To contact Z. Allora: E-mail:

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Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press.


  1. Gail Staggs says:

    That’s a hard question, What Is Your Branding.
    Recently I’ve forgotten my inner self, the one who walks with nature, sings to herself, live and love in balance. So I’ve been delegating in order to reaffirm me and those things that fill a different part than that of my loving guys. So the branding I think would be
    She who flies the 🌈 who fights for her guys well being and strives to see the best in all.
    Sounds a bit corny but there you go!

  2. Courtney Bassett says:

    I haven’t really thought of it as my brand, but I guess I’d say it’s being a funny, loyal, and pervy friend, as well as an avid reader that loves making suggestions to others.

  3. Congrats to Gail Staggs who won an ebook of Secured and Free. I appreciate everyone’s participation. Big hugs, Z.

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