Agent: Siobhan McNally
east haven, Connecticut, United States
While James Nuzzello has always enjoyed reading and writing, he never had a formal education in the area. He grew up in New Haven and East Haven and left school after the 8th grade.
James worked in several areas when he was younger in different areas of the country before losing his job and returning to East Haven. James didn’t have a place to live and has been homeless since returning. He spent time looking for a job, but didn’t have luck.
“I turned 55 and had a hard time getting work because of my age,” says James. “I always liked to write and figured I’d better write a novel. I have to generate some sort of income.”
Once James decided he would follow his passion for writing, he began heading into the Hagaman Memorial Library every day. This wasn’t the first time he had given writing a go as he has written many short stories, mostly inspired by people he has met throughout his journeys.
“All of my short stories are about people I have met, characters I’ve developed into a story,” says James, who has several short stories published on WritersCafe.org/jimmunuzz. “A writer can take a small idea and expand on it.”
After adding several stories to the website, James kept an eye on the number of views his stories had. In the beginning, the numbers were low, so he decided to start promoting his work. He created promotional cards by hand and hung flyers about his work around Yale University.
“The number of views shot up,” says James. “If you don’t promote, you won’t sell. Promoting is a good thing and it works.”
Now James is busy working to promote his novel, Komeo, a story about a crime journalist investigating murders in his hometown. The book started as a 35,000-word novella, which he submitted to publishers.
As rejection letters came back, James continued to adapt his book, which morphed into 140,000 words with a sequel as he made adjustments with each rejection. He spent every day at the library for four months, getting an exception to computer time limits.
“I made an appointment to talk with the people running the library, because when you’re on the computer, you only have an hour,” says James. “I was asking for more time. I handed him my promotional card and told him I’m a short story writer and wanted to write a novel in the library. I got permission for unlimited time.”
Finally Komeo began to get contract offers. James was interested in self-publishing, but found there were many up-front fees that would be charged and he chose to go with Sarah Book Publishing, which covered the fees to get the book published.
“A lot of authors don’t have the money to put up front and being broke, this was a good option,” says James. “I studied a lot about publishing and literature. I’ve been writing since an early age and have gotten better at it and more creative. I’m self educated and have learned to write better.”
While James has written short stories for some time, he was excited to finally have his novel published. He remembers the feeling of holding his published book in his hands for the first time.
“I was so proud of that because it was a rough road getting published,” says James. “Seeing that was a major accomplishment. Getting all those rejections let me improve it and write the sequel. I didn’t get discouraged and before you know, I ended up with a 368-page novel.”
James is not stopping at one novel. He has begun work on Mortuary Murder, a book that began as a short story while he lived in Iowa in 1989. Now James has more than five pounds of a first draft. He plans to continue work on the book and his goal is to move to Utah to finish the book.
“I’d like to send myself to some kind of college for English literature or philosophy,” says James. “I have so many short stories, I’d like to write a volume or take them and expand on them.”
Throughout his early years, James worked for printing ink companies. He began in Hamden and lived in a number of places—including Oregon, Chicago, Ohio, and Florida—to work in the field over the years.
“I’d traveled all over the country and always thought Utah would be a nice place to hang out,” says James. “When I lost my job and wound up back in Connecticut in 2011 and turned 54 or 55, I said, ‘You better write, you’re not going to get a job. You need something to earn a living at.’”
Interests: Thinking; writing
Published writer: Yes