More than just a girls’ tale

Local writer publishes and promotes new book

After living up to the adage that writers should write what they know, former West New York resident and Secaucus native Amanda Palasciano has published and is promoting the first book in a series of planned novels dealing with teenage issues.
The first novel, called “Mascara,” is about an elite high school sorority whose members choose freshman candidates according to whether their first name initials help to spell out M-A-S-C-A-R-A. Invitations and a sample of the sorority’s trademark blue eyelash treatment are put on a new girl’s locker door.
When the 14-year-old protagonist is chosen for initiation into the group, she is plunged into a strange new social visibility, and must deal with the obligations of her new status and the envy of her classmates and friends.
After discussions with a prominent literary agent fell through, Palasciano released the book herself last month on Amazon and for the Kindle and Nook e-readers.
“I was hurt,” she said. “But I wasn’t going to let the lack of a publisher discourage me. JK Rowling was rejected 12 times. What if she gave up after the 11th rejection and decided she wasn’t cut out to be a writer? Then nobody would have heard of Harry Potter.”
While she could publish free for Kindle or Nook, she said some people wanted to read her work in print. So to finance a print edition, she has raised over $2,000 for the first edition through crowd funding via

“I’ve had a career promoting other people, so I felt confident I could do it for myself,” – Amanda Palasciano
She had faith in her book, and though she initially hesitated to self publish, she realized that the concept of self publishing has changed over the last few years and no longer bears the stigma it once did.
She plans to print a few hundred books and continue promoting the work, relying on her background in public relations. She would like the novel to become so popular that a publisher or agent picks up on it. Such a situation has happened with other popular novels.

Selling a book and herself

“I’ve had a career promoting other people, so I felt confident I could do it for myself,” she said. Palasciano ordered 500 mascara tubes to use as a promotional tool, gave them to people in New York, and purchased online advertising.
The website and blog she has established to support “Mascara” have gone global, drawing attention from people in numerous countries, and showing that there is a sincere interest in her book and its characters.
The website,, has gotten hits from around the world.
“It has an organic following,” she said. “I didn’t expect to get as many hits or comments as it got.”

Written from personal experience

Although this is Palasciano’s second novel after an earlier science fiction book, “Mascara” taps her own past and brings to life characters and situation she has lived through. Set in a private school, the novel deals with issues faced by girls whether in a sorority or not, issues she hopes to expand on in future books, when each new book will deal with specific aspects of a girl’s life.
“I have been every girl in this book, from the self-conscious new girl to the homecoming queen,” she said. “This is the reason I can write from experience.”
“I was a new girl in a school. I was the popular girl,” she said. “I’ve experienced what each of these characters experienced. I guess that’s why people who come to the website connect to them. Many of the girls who comment on the website haven’t bought the book. But they relate to the characters.”
She said she even used her journal notes from high school to help her write the book.
“I went to two different high schools,” she said. “I want to deal with issues like anorexia, depression, and homosexuality. This is a platform to keep that going.”
Through these books, she wants to detail the struggles that come at the change of life when girls are 14, 15, and 16 and face the world.
“This started as a concept about a year ago,” she said. “I started putting pen to paper last September and finished this February.”
Although the book’s core market is teenage girls, she hopes people find it to be well-written and to hold together as a story that people in other age groups can appreciate and enjoy.

Al Sullivan may be reached at

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group