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!

99 cents for a 5-Star Read! 72-hour Kindle Countdown is on!

99 cents for a 5-Star Read! 72-hour Kindle Countdown is on!

Here’s what others have said about The Reach of the Banyan Tree:

“5 Stars – I can’t say enough about this book. The writing is so amazing.” The Kindle Book Review

“5 Stars – Captivating … I am fast becoming a huge fan of author Mark W Sasse.” – inspirational author Dolores Ayotte

“5 Stars – A fantastic story of love, war, and family sacrifice.” book reviewer Sherri Wilkerson

“5 Stars – Epic historical fiction love story.” – book reviewer Stellalunna

Now for the first time ever, it’s only 99 CENTS!

Kindle Countdown Deal – 72 hours only!

Read reviews, read an excerpt, and check how much time is left on this limited extraordinary deal!

The Reach of the Banyan Tree KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL HERE!

Capture kindle countdown

Giveaways and Stuff! (Basically ways to get free things)

I just wanted to highlight some giveaways that I am currently participating in. First, the free books:

First, if you are in the United States, you can win a free PAPERBACK signed copy of my second novel The Recluse Storyteller on Goodreads. Sign up to win until August 2.  Here’s the link: The Recluse Storyteller Giveaway

Next, I am giving away TWO signed copies of my new release The Reach of the Banyan Tree in paperback on Goodreads. Available for those in the US. Also until August 2. Here’s the link: The Reach of the Banyan Tree GIVEAWAY

And, if you live in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, or Singapore, you can win a signed paperback copy of my debut novel, Beauty Rising, until August 1. Also on Goodreads. Here’s the link: Beauty Rising GIVEAWAY

And finally, you have ONE MORE DAY to win a KINDLE FIRE or AMAZON GIFT CARD while also promoting my book by entering the contest on THEKINDLEBOOKREVIEW. Here’s the link: KINDLE FIRE CONTEST

Good luck, everyone, and thanks for the support.

 

 

Win Great Prizes & Help Promote My Book

Hey everyone,

I’m involved in a great giveaway with TheKindleBookReview.

What’s great about it? You can win a Kindle Fire or some Amazon Gift Cards.

Plus you can help promote my new book at the same time. Please click the link below to sign up to win. I appreciate any and all Facebook page likes in the process.

Thanks for your support and good luck! I hope you win.

ENTER to Win a Kindle Fire HERE!

cropped-wordpress-banyan-release.jpg

Book Promotion: It’s Still a Mystery

It has now been one year and seven months since I took the plunge into self-publishing and became an indie author. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and one of the biggest lessons I have learned is already stated in the title of this post: book promotion is still a mystery.

What does a successful book promotion look like? I don’t know.

What do unsuccessful book promotions look like? I don’t know that either.

And I don’t believe this is a oxymoron. It’s simply a statement that acknowledges a lack of understanding about the ins and outs of book promotion. As they say, it’s much more trial and error rather prescribed pedagogy.

Okay, lets look at the term unsuccessful book promotion first. How does one determine if a book promotion is unsuccessful? Well, I suppose the first and easiest answer is whether or not it led to books being sold. After all that’s the goal of book promotion, isn’t it? Actually, it probably isn’t, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Lackluster sales after a big promotion simply may mean that you have lackluster sales after a big promotion. But did the promotion introduce your name or book cover into a reader’s subconsciousness? How can we track at what point a person decides to take the plunge and read a book from an unknown author? How many times do they need to see a book cover or how many reviews will they have to read and trust before pulling the trigger? The answer to all of that is an unequivocal “I don’t know.”

What does a successful promotion look like? Is success determined by covering the cost of a promotional purchase? Do you have to make a profit in order for it to be successful?

I’ve tried a lot of different promotional approaches since I published my first book:

Kindle Free Day – Kindle Countdown Deal – Smashwords Pre-Release Coupon – Goodreads Giveaways – Goodreads Advertising – Blog Advertising – Facebook Advertising – Book Posts – Book Giveaways – Free Books for Review, etc …

What works?

I have never had a bump in sales equal to that  of a Kindle Free Day promotion – especially if some of the larger promotional sites decide to pick up your offering for a day. Hands down, for an unknown indie author, I know of nothing more effective to get your books into the hands of thousands of readers other than offering it free on Kindle.

But the effect of these days are limited. While extremely worthwhile, it’s just the beginning.

What’s next?

Take your pick. I’ve tried most approaches, and I’m considering trying a few others which I haven’t tried yet.

Reviews help, but they are not the silver bullet.

Ads seems to be the least effective, but again, who can measure the worth of exposure, especially in a long term sense.

This summer I have the privilege of doing two author events at libraries. I have no idea what will come from that, but it should be fun.

I do recommend using the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. It has been helpful in exposing my books to thousands of interested readers all for the price of about one paperback book.

I have also seen some positive results using Facebook’s targeted posts.

The point of all of this, I have concluded, is that it is best to say “yes” to everything.

Build a broad base to reach as many readers as possible. Spread yourself thin, in a good sense, and through trial and error find your way through the marketing maze.

And most importantly, never give up.

Beauty Rising: Kindle Countdown Deal

My debut novel, published in December 2012, is having its first ever Kindle Countdown Deal. It’s specially priced at $0.99 for the next few days. If you haven’t read it yet, please click on the link below and check it out. You can read the 86 customer reviews and even sample the first two chapters. I hope after that you’ll be hooked!

Thanks so much for the support and please pass the deal around!

NOVEL Beauty Rising only 99 cents HERE!

Beauty Rising Mark W Sasse

You Can’t Control Your Destiny, Only Your Direction

Here’s a lesson I have learned and am continuing to learn as an indie author: I can’t control my destiny, but I can control my direction.

I have a goal. I would one day love to write for a living, but I have no way of knowing if it will ever come true. There are too many things out of my control to say for sure what will happen. Here are the unknowns that an indie author has to live with:

There’s no way to know if …

… an influential website pick my book as a featured book.

… a literary agent will stumble across my writing and believe in what I am doing.

… a certain advertisement or promotional blitz will suddenly reap unexpected rewards.

… one excellent review will light up the blog-o-sphere with word of mouth about my books.

… that unexpected someone falls in love with one of your stories and wants to make it into a movie.

… my blog traffic will continue to increase the way it did in the past year.

… book sales will one day allow me to ponder if I should write full time.

All of the above are examples of destinies. I can’t say that any of these are my destiny as an indie writer, but that’s not what indie writers should be concerned with in the first place. Indie writers need to be concerned with direction, not destiny.

Choose the direction you want to go in – perhaps even aiming at one of those destinies above – and put your head down and plow towards it.

The progress may be leaps and bounds or it may be incrementally. The progress may even be one step backwards and 1.5 steps forward.

So how does an indie author practice direction in ones life? Easy.

An author who focuses on direction does things like …

… submitting books to influential websites.

… trying a variety of advertising and promotional blitzes to see what works.

… sending one’s work to a wide range of reviewers – both bloggers and professional sites.

… making your book widely available and accessible so that unexpected someone might read and fall in love with your story.

… continuing to blog with fresh, fun content.

… not focusing on the ups and downs of book sales but continuing to do the little things which puts one a step closer in your chosen direction.

Shoot for a goal but don’t worry and fret over it. Worry and fret over the little things like getting the next blog post ready and contacting that one blogger again. These are the directional duties which one day may take you to an unexpected destiny.