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.

 

Reflections on Two Years as an Indie Author

December 2014 is the two year anniversary of my decision to become an independent author. It’s really been an amazing ride thus far. I’ve learned so much, made a whole lot of mistakes, and met some great people. I don’t regret the decision at all.

So I just want to reminisce for a minute about what I’ve done and what I’ve learned over these past twenty-four months.

What I’ve published:

  • My first novel, “Beauty Rising” – Dec 2012
  • My second novel “The Recluse Storyteller” – Oct 2013
  • My third novel “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” – July 2014
  • My first short story “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story” – Dec 2014
  • Two dramatic sketches (using a pseudonym)

What I’ve written in addition to those above:

  • My fourth novel, “A Love Story for a Nation” – coming July 2015
  • My fifth novel in progress
  • 20+ dramatic sketches
  • A full length musical
  • A one-act play

What I’ve done as an Indie Author:

  • I started blogging daily.
  • I stared a author’s Facebook page
  • I reluctantly joined Twitter. I still can’t figure it out.
  • I’ve run countless promotions.
  • I’ve had my first couple public readings.

What I’ve learned as an Indie Author:

  • Promotions are completely unpredictable. Some expensive ones are a waste of money. Some inexpensive ones are helpful. There’s no easy answer to promotion. Just keep trying new things.
  • Reviewers are awesome. I really appreciate all the people who have agreed to read and review my books.
  • Great reviews don’t equal great sales. I remember the first time a book blogger, someone I didn’t know at all, just raved about one of my books. I thought I heard the cash-registers going off in my head. I had arrived. Let the flood gates open. I’ll be swimming in sales. Okay. I had lessons to learn.
  • The business aspect is hard. Keeping track of receipts. Taxes. Bleh!
  • I love to write. I will continue to write regardless of how many books I sell.

Becoming an indie author has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. It has motivated me to improve in my writing and to not take good ideas for granted.

I’m so excited to see what will happen in the next two years. I am very pleased at what I’ve been able to accomplish so far, but I must believe that the best is still to come.

An Interesting Quote from Ecclesiastes for Indie Authors – 2

Yesterday I posted this quote from Ecclesiastes 7:

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”

I gave one lesson from it for indie authors. Here’s the link to Lesson 1 from yesterday: HERE!

Lesson 2 for Indie Authors: Patience is better than pride.

Oh my. If there is ever a group of anxious people who need to learn to practice patience, it’s indie authors. If there is ever a group people who are prone to pride, it’s indie authors.

Let’s tackle the pride first. Pride, of course, isn’t all bad. It’s fine to pat oneself on the back when a book is finished or if one receives a great review. But the unhealthy pride can jump up and bite you pretty quickly if you are left closed off to criticism and suggestion. And this comes with the territory. After all, we aren’t called independent authors for no reason. We are fiercely individualistic, are confident in our skills, and know exactly the type of story we want to tell. But without proper input from others, we can easily lose sight of the bigger picture. We can turn off readers and put off reviewers with a prideful attitude. If everything is always about ME-ME-ME, it can get tiring pretty quickly. This is the sharp two-edged sword of promotion. An indie author must wield it skillfully, inflicting the least amount of annoyance onto readers while trying to get the message of your book across. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s extremely difficult. I struggle with this a lot. I hate the promotional aspect of selling books, but I understand how important the presence on social media is and how one has to put oneself out there in front of readers if one ever wants to be discovered. It can build one’s pride to unhealthy levels.

And this is where patience comes in. Patience is probably the virtue most needed by indie authors. Writing and publishing is most definitely a marathon, not a sprint. If success is ever achieved, it will happen in the long term, not as an immediate flash in the pan.

When do indie authors need patience?

When waiting for someone to review their book.

When waiting for the next sale.

When waiting for the next promotion to roll along.

When waiting for the next writing period.

In other words, indie authors need patience at all times.

Now I have to figure out a way to minimize the pride and increase my level of patience. I’ll let you know if it works.

 

Banyan Tree – New Excerpt

I have a promotion coming up for The Reach of the Banyan Tree soon (hint, hint,), so I thought I’d post a couple excerpts of the next few days. Thanks for checking them out.

In this excerpt, our protagonist, Chip, is in a difficult situation, not completely of his own doing. A mysterious stranger shows up and hands him a small back booklet – the diary:

The Diary

After Long had left, Chip sat perplexed on his cot, looking at the plain black cover of the booklet in his hand.

Secrets are a tricky matter. One has to ponder long and hard if revealing or discovering them is advantageous or not. Is life better with an unknown ‘sleeping dog,’ or does ultimate truth somehow prevail through the muck and mire, through the pain and suffering, through the years of wondering if it was worth it after all? What would the story of Charles Regal Carson end up meaning for his life? Jail, after all, is one of the most philosophical places on earth. Chip stared at the decrepit walls with his memory—replaying the scenes of his past life over and over again—wrestling his demons with the best that Nietzsche and Kierkegaard could have offered. What unknown plan, brought on by a small black book, could possibly benefit his life?

He knew not. But he would find out as soon as his finger could flip open the cover.

At the five-minute mark, he did it. On the top of the lightly lined paper read the following:

July 16, 1945. Flying into Tonkin.

My Life is Richer as an Indie Author

I wrote this post – The Exhaustion of Self-Promoting – about a year and a half ago. Nothing has really changed. Being an indie author is still exhausting. The work is never done, and sometimes it feels like it’s me against the whole publishing and reading world.

Plus, I still don’t have a publicist. The offer still stands. I can pay in food and free books. Let me know if there are any takers.

It is, without a doubt, difficult cracking through busy-ness of everyone’s lives in order to a new reader to notice an unknown author like myself. But when it does happen, it is tremendously worth it all.

I’ve come to realize that indie authors are paid more with satisfaction than through monetary means. The satisfaction is paid through a good review or a kind word. I’ve received emails from readers who have been touched by my books. What more could I ask for? I’ve received some tremendous reviews that make me shake my head in gratitude, never expecting such kind and powerful words to be used to describe my stories. All of these feed the indie flame and keep it burning.

However, another side of me is never satisfied, and it is easy to become frustrated when a promotion does nothing except thin out my already thin wallet. It’s easy to wish for monetary success, thinking how amazing it would be to be able to write full time. I have found since I wrote that post that sales are hardly a predictable or linear item. Sales are more of a roller coaster – a fast start with a great promotion which slows to a brick wall, and the overworked indie author has to plug away doing what can be done on a weekly basis to push books, promote the author’s platform, or just stay engaged in what’s happening in the industry.

It is exhausting and time consuming when balancing it all with work, family, and other pursuits. So perhaps I should throw in the towel??

Not a chance, and here are the reasons:

  • I love to write. (period) Why would I stop doing what I love?
  • I’m not writing for the money. And while I wouldn’t refuse the money if it came, that’s not why I started to write. I began writing and publishing to fulfill a lifelong desire which I had pushed aside for far too long.

I just need to remind myself every once in a while of the reasons I began this journey in the first place, and it had nothing to do with success or self-validation.

The simple truth is this: I love being an indie author. Each new reader that enjoys my stories is a humbling experience. I will continue to write with passion and from the heart. Where it will take me, I do not know, but it is the process which has made my life richer. And that’s all I can ask for.

 

It truly is a good deal! 99 cent 5-STAR read! Time is running out!

It truly is a good deal! 99 cent 5-STAR read! Time is running out!

What can you get for 99 cents?

A candy bar. A can of soda-pop. A newspaper (just not on Sunday).

One song on iTunes. (or maybe not anymore)

Yet, here you have it: hours of hours of engaging entertainment for only 99 cents!

Right now – for the next 48 hours – the new release The Reach of the Banyan Tree is less than a dollar!

For value, it’s truly hard to beat. That’s if it’s a good read. I’ve been told that it is.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what others have said. (and, no, I didn’t pay them)

Book reviewer Fran Lewis says:

“Once again Mark Sasse pens a novel so poignant, with two loves so powerful and filled with hope that only he can bring it to light.”

Book reviewer Michelle James says:

“The characters are well defined, and so believable it is difficult to separate historical fact from fiction. Add the elements of romance and mystery, and you have a book that is hard to put down.”

And there’s a lot more where that came from.

ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT – First time ever at 99 cents. Get it before the Kindle Countdown Deal runs out.

Thanks for your support!