The Root of Book Marketing

I was pulling some rather thick and determined ground cover off a bank the other day. Most of it came out without too much effort. A strong pull here, a few cuts with the lopper there, and I was able to untangle and tug the bank clean. Except for one particularly difficult root. No problem, I thought. I have all the tools I need. I got this! Here was my methodology:

A tug. It’s what worked for the others. This one? Barely budged it.

Snip. I cut around all the small root strands. Tug again. Nothing.

Shovel. I dug all around it and tried prying up from each angle. No luck.

Axe. I figured if I can get the axe head down around the base of the root, I could just chop it off. I swung the axe repeatedly and it seemed to bounce off it like it was made of rubber.

Pick. I used the long-handled pick to slice through the main root remaining. After repeated swings, I was sure it would come out.

Tug. Forty minutes later and it barely felt like I had done anything at all.

But I persisted. I would not allow this to defeat me.

Shovel. Snip. Dig. Snip. Tug. Pry. Swing. And finally, the beast gave up its soul and the gnarly stubborn thing was defeated. After much sweat. After many tools. After a variety of methods. After a prolonged persistence.

And after I had accomplished it, there was one thing going through my mind. Book marketing. Yeah, the root of all evil in my book.

Honestly, marketing is, for me, the most mundane, undesirable part of being a writer. Many times I’ve said to myself: why even bother. Just keep writing. This isn’t working. That isn’t working. Just give up.

But the root reminded me that life, like root extracting, like book marketing isn’t about one method. It’s about many methods, many tools, and many attempts over a sustained period of time.

If I gave up at AXE, that root would have won. If I only tried the shovel, I would have lost the battle. It was the combination of tools and attempts over time which did the trick.

What do you need to do in order to unlock your book marketing success? What have you tried? Keep doing what works. Keep trying new methods. Keep looking for new tools. And keep tugging, no matter what. That’s ultimately the key. The root never would have come out if I had thrown in the towel. You also won’t solve book marketing by allowing the root to remain in the ground. It’s a constant fight, but it will be worth it. One day.

My Biggest Promotion Ever is Coming Soon

You have to spend money to make money.

I really wonder if that saying applies to indie authors. Later this month, I will be having the largest, most expensive, and wide-spread promotion I’ve ever done.

I have no idea what the outcome will be, and I don’t pretend to think it will be successful. I’m simply following another saying: you never know until you try.

I’m pretty sure that all indie authors have felt the squeeze the last couple of years. The number of free and discounted websites have either dwindled or changed policies in order to keep up with their costs. It’s simply a lot more expensive to advertise today as an indie author than it was in 2013.

The competition is also much fiercer. I can’t imagine the number of new novels and books which are flooding the market each month. How many are from new authors? A lot, I bet. I also won’t pretend to evaluate the quality of the books either. In all honesty, it’s a rare book that grabs my attention these days. What I typically see on social media is simply not a draw for me. I have no idea how my novels stack up with the average indie novel, whatever that means.

For me, I’m satisfied with what I have produced. I’m not ashamed to put my name on the novels, anyhow. That’s enough for me. Of course, I’m always thrilled when I’m able to connect with a reader or have someone recommend my work.

So here I am, gearing up for my largest promotion ever. I’m dishing out some cash, okay if it never comes back. I have a novel I believe in, the reviews have been fantastic so far (received a great one today I’ll shared soon), and I’m willing to take that next step. Could it be one step forward, two steps back? Possibly. But it’s time to make a push, and if it fails, I’ll try again at another time, and if that fails … It’s okay. I’m not in it for the money.

More details on the promotions coming soon!

I scream UNCLE! Okay, Back to Marketing

I recently posted how I really don’t care about marketing.

I do however care about my writing.

I also would love to be able to “retire” someday and write full-time.

I guess that means that I need to start caring about marketing. So I’ve decided to come back from my little anti-marketing hiatus for a couple of reasons:

  1. Grit. I should display it since I talk about it a lot. I’m in this writing thing for the long-haul, not for some quick get-rich scheme. (which certainly isn’t working if that was my plan)
  2. I can’t hide behind my busy-ness forever. Yes, I’m always busy. I teach full-time. I direct drama. I write and produce drama. I have a family. I have a writing routine. I have endless writing projects on the horizon. Yes, I am busy. I always will be, but that in itself cannot be my excuse for not marketing. I have to move forward.
  3. I’d like to find some new readers.
  4. I’d like to sell some new books.
  5. I’d like to get exposure for my new release, which I really like.

So here’s my commitment to myself – set a date and get started!

So I’m going to be organizing my first big push for my new release sometime in September. It will probably be a 99 cent Kindle sale for “A Love Story for a Nation.” Let’s do multiple days. Let’s go ahead and buy a bunch of advertising and see what happens!

I’ll also be hitting the blog circuit and asking for additional reviews. If anyone is interested in reviewing my latest, let me know. I’ll also be looking to do some guest posts and other promotional ideas as the opportunities beacon.

I have always believed that success comes from the commitment to the long-haul. It’s time to get back to doing it.

Much more on this promotion in the coming weeks.

Thanks to all who have continually supported my writing endeavors.


Do I (an indie author) really care about marketing?


But yes.

Do I hate marketing?


Do I want to market?


What do I want to do?


Okay, there’s a series of honest responses. I put marketing somewhat on the same plateau of being at a Chinese banquet and being served sea slugs because I’m the honored guest.

The honest answer is that I don’t want to eat sea slugs no matter how good my hosts think they are. I also do not want to spend time marketing my books no matter how important everyone in the universe connected to indie writing tells me it is.

Here’s the basic question that is always asked: how will anyone know that you released a book unless you tell them that you released a book?

I don’t know. I just pretend there is a way. I’m a creative writer. I can create all kinds of possible ways that people might know. Perhaps aliens will infiltrate a person’s dream, telling them that they need to read “A Love Story for a Nation” or they will be sucked up by a UFO within the next month. Or maybe a ghost will write on the bathroom mirror, “Recluse Storyteller.” There’s lots of possible ways. How about a time travelling Vietnamese who read “Banyan Tree” will encourage all Vietnamese teachers to choose this book for their classes. See, why would I want to market when I have all of this activity going on?

I see you aren’t impressed. Well, I don’t need to sell books to make a living. So there.

Yes. Yes. I do wish I could make a living by selling books. Okay, you got me there.

But I’m too busy. I don’t have time to figure out what to do wrong next.

Yes, I know. Thomas Edison didn’t have time to fail at creating a light bulb either.

But I really hate it, doesn’t that count for something?

Yes, it does. It counts for poor book sales. Get to it!

Okay, okay. I will reluctantly not give up, and I’ll keep on marketing as best I know how even though I don’t know how. I will spend money I don’t have in hopes of a future payoff. I will not stop simply because I am lazy or sick and tired of poor results. I will continue, showing off the grit and determination that I claim is so important.

But, I will also not stop writing because, honestly, that’s all I really want to do.

Will you join my promotional campaign on Thunderclap? Please. It’s free and easy!

I’m in need of 100 people willing to help my promotional campaign on Thunderclap a success in helping to promote my novel on Kindle Scout

What’s Thunderclap? It gathers folks with a common promotional goal (like those wanting me to succeed on Kindle Scout) and when 100 (or more) people join, it BLASTS out 1 message through all 100 people at a time. It’s the power of numbers which makes the difference.

It’s free!

It’s extremely easy to join a promotional campaign. How about 5 seconds?

It will only send ONE message on April 28 through your Facebook or Twitter concerning my novel on Kindle Scout.

It’s super easy, but it could mean a lot to me.

Please join my Thunderclap campaign HERE!

And if you haven’t nominated my novel for a publishing contract on Kindle Scout yet, please do so HERE!


Kindle scout graphic

Spring Break Giveaway – Two $200 Amazon Gift Cards Up for Grabs!

Everyone loves spring break, or at least everyone who gets one, plus all the bartenders in Fort Lauderdale. Well, whether you have a spring break of your own around the corner or if you are just dreaming of the beaches from your tired winter cubicle, you can at least like the possibility of FREE stuff from Amazon! I’ve partnered with a bunch of authors, the Kindle Book Review, and Digital Book Today in offering everyone a chance to win TWO – $200 Amazon gift cards! And while you enter, you can help me push my novel, The Reach of the Banyan Tree, out into the hands of more readers. Here’s the link: Thanks for entering the contest and for helping me promote my book – only $2.99 on Kindle. It currently has 4.8 stars on Amazon with 23 reviews. Please check it out and thanks for your support.

It's  in paperback too!
It’s in paperback too!

Indie Authors: Don’t Forget about Your Earlier Releases

It’s easy for an author to forget about those first couple of books they published while caught up in the frenzy of doing everything possible to promote the newest release. But it would be a mistake to most completely past your former works without trying to make them work for you.

One of the best reasons to use your earlier works in your book promotion plans is that they already have the biggest exposure which may help sway promotion sites to pick it up. My debut novel has by far the most number of reviews on Amazon out of all of my other books. Such a large number of favorable reviews is certainly something that promotional sites will seriously consider – especially if you haven’t promoted that book on their site in a while.

Another excellent reason to try your earlier books again is that readership is not a constant. I have mistakenly thought at times that it would be a waste of time to try to promote the same book on the same old sites again. However, what I was missing from my equation was all of those new e-readers that people have received at Christmas and during their birthdays. Think of all the tablets being sold and all the reading apps constantly being downloaded on a daily basis. Your novel may not have reached them a year ago, but times have changed. They may be opening up their new Kindle app looking for a good book to read – regardless of when it was written.

Many people have written about how publishing more books help to cross-promote all of your books. But from my experience, one can’t be lax in how they approach it. Push your new releases hard, for sure, but remember to go back and promote those titles which were well received a couple of years ago. You just never know how one little promotion may lead to something big.

Just keep at it!

Win a $200 Amazon Gift Card for Valentine’s Day!

Hey all,

I’ve once again partnered with The Kindle Book Review so you have a chance of winning a great gift card from Amazon – enough to do a good deal of damage!

Plus, it’s a great opportunity to help promote my latest novel, The Reach of the Banyan Tree.  

Here it is. Click HERE to enter the giveaway and, hopefully, enjoy a great read. Thanks everyone.

valentines day snip 2015

Happy New Year 2015

happy new year 2015

Here are a few words I wrote last year to bring in the New Year, and they still very much apply today. I wish you all a prosperous, healthy, and happy 2015.

“As I continued to blog, the whole concept began re-morphing in my mind. Blogging isn’t about reaching out to the world, blogging is about reaching into yourself and letting your passions come out.

I have a few passions in life. I love writing. I love language learning and culture. I love Asia. I love food. I love history. I love live theater. I love life.

So this blog has become my writing oasis just to jot down whatever pops in my head. I love it when readers tune in and enjoy a post, but I no longer just blog to build my pretentious writer’s platform. I no longer blog hoping a stuffy literary agent will discover me. I blog for myself. Blogging is a really cool thing (how’s that for non-literary language)! It’s a place to be real, to have fun, to write about items that interest me, and (yes) to promote.”

More Holiday Promotions: Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card

Yesterday, I posted about my free and discounted books during the holiday season. (FREE NEW CHRISTMAS STORY HERE! PLUS LIMITED TIME 99 CENT READS.)

Now I’ve partnered up with the Kindle Book Review – giving away five $100 Amazon Gift Cards to the lucky winners. Plus, you can help promote my latest novel, “The Reach of the Banyan Tree.” And a purchase of “Banyan Tree” gives you more opportunities to win. Here I am, leading the pack for this promotion:

Capture 12 23Enter to win your digital shopping spree HERE!

And as always, thanks so much for the support.

Enjoy the wonderful holiday season.