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Where realism and idealism meet Tony Brasunas, author of Double Happiness

These are my latest posts about Double Happiness.

Advance Praise From Writer’s Digest Awards

The winners aren’t announced until next year, but getting fives in all the judges’ categories should be a good sign.

Here are the judges’ review and remarks.

A fully experiential read, this book takes us on quite an adventure, immersing us into Chinese culture with the author’s extremely well-written details, made all the richer through exemplary use of sensory elements. We experience Chinese culture with him via tastes, smells, sounds, and textures. This author has a mastery of making his book an experience, not just a story to observe. Very well done.

Especially good are the moments of tension. When he is confronted by the ticket taker with a terse statement about Americans thinking their voice is the only one, the author diffuses the situation brilliantly, and provides smart diplomacy in the moment. Well done. We’re also worried in a scene where he suspects that someone will get into his bag. The author’s sense of exhale/relief, when he suspected for nothing, holds great resonance.

Beautiful phrasing throughout. The author has a majestic sense of description. Very well done.

We’re hopeful for him and Michiko, and when it doesn’t develop into a fulfilling relationship for him, we are disappointed for him. Yet he explains this not with any bitterness. Just a mature explanation and a glance forward. Well done.

Gorgeous ending with a look at nature, at how all grows, at how you must have a little death in the moment to open a path for growth. Excellent. This is a very talented writer, and his journey is filled with rich insight.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 5

Character Appeal and Development: 5

Voice and Writing Style: 5

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Posted in Double Happiness
by Tony Brasunas at 9:38 pm on December 7, 2015

Double Happiness named Award-Winning Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards

It is an honor to report that Double Happiness has been recognized by another book awards program. The 2015 International Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News, have selected Double Happiness as an award-winning finalist in the Memoir category.

Counting these book awards and prizes which have recognized Double Happiness, as well as these others, this award brings the total number of awards in which my book has either won or been recognized to eleven.

I’m proud of this book, and proud of all the work that so many people put into it on its way to publication. Every once in a while it’s nice to know that all that work is recognized.

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Posted in Double Happiness
by Tony Brasunas at 12:34 pm on November 29, 2015

‘Delightful’ ‪Double Happiness‬ highlighted in San Francisco Bay Area magazine

Alameda Magazine review

Take a trip to the Middle Kingdom,” opens a short feature review of Double Happiness in the East Bay’s Alameda Magazine.

Go to China “with Tony Brasunas as your guide, in this memoir-travel tome about his experience as a 22-year-old teaching English to ninth-graders at Peizheng High School. Brasunas is there in 1997, before the interconnectedness of the Internet, when ‘the motives of Americans in particular were suspect.'”

“The delightful chapters read like short stories.”

Read the full review: Tony Brasunas Finds Happiness in China

The review closes:

Brasunas pulls it all together for a retrospective that deftly and lovingly depicts the country responsible for his spiritual awakening.

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Posted in Double Happiness | In the Media
by Tony Brasunas at 7:59 pm on October 8, 2015

My Long Sweet Journey into Print
 (Part II)

After a long journey during which I considered many options, and not just the main two options we’re discussing here, I realized something: It was going to be hard. It was going to be a lot of work. And I was at a fork in the road.

(This is Part II of my Indie Publishing Trilogy of posts. See Part I  for the pros and cons of independent and traditional publishing. This post covers how I made my choice. Part III lists Seven Things You Need to Do if You Publish Your Book Independently.)

I knew it would be a lot of work either way I went — whether I sold the manuscript to a publishing house, or published my book independently. I was intimidated, but I was optimistic and determined as well. I decided, first, that while writing Double Happiness — during the years of rewrites and revisions — I would also approach literary agents in the hope of landing a publishing deal.

My Long Sweet Journey into Print

I was right. It was a lot of work. I ended up spending almost as much time writing query letters, synopses, proposals, and chapter summaries as I did revising the book. It turns out, you have to know a lot about the industry just to write a decent cover letter.

For all of my work, I did receive significant interest, and many agencies requested partials of my manuscript. Some agencies showed enthusiasm and requested the whole manuscript. Still, all eventually led to rejections.

After nearly a decade of work, as I was completing the final, final revision of Double Happiness, I leapt into exploring the independent route.

What I found was exhilarating and daunting. I still had so much to learn. But I was thrilled and, armed with a manuscript I knew was great, I felt ready to do it. I was ready to publish my book myself.

A Strange Coincidence

Coincidentally, just as I decided to go indie, I was approached by several literary agents who showed real interest. Two agencies went all the way and offered to sign me. It was mystifying. Did they want me now only because I wasn’t seeking them? Had my manuscript improved so much? Were they paying attention to me because I had started blogging?

I had my theories, but I really wasn’t sure. (more…)

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Posted in Double Happiness | Independent Publishing | Writing
by Tony Brasunas at 1:50 pm on July 28, 2015

Independent Publishing vs. Getting a Traditional Literary Agent
 (Part I)

Are you a writer interested in publishing your first book, your labor of love, your masterpiece, your tour de force? Or are you perhaps a writer who has published with a small or large private press and is curious now about independent publishing?

What once was called “self-publishing” with a dismissive sniff is now known as Independent Publishing and accounts for a rapidly growing share of books published and sold worldwide. There also certainly remain many advantages to getting a literary agent and selling a manuscript to a large corporate publishing house.

Independent Publishing vs Getting a Literary AgentThere’s a lot to explore on this topic. For the sake of brevity, I’m splitting this post into three parts, a “Trilogy of Posts,” if you will. In this first post, I will outline the advantages both of independent publishing and of going the traditional literary-agent route.

Let me know in the comments what I’ve missed.

(Update: I’ve now added Part II of this trilogy of posts, in which I explain which route I chose, and how it’s worked out. Update: And now Part III is done too: It lists Seven Things You Need To Do If You Publish Your Book Independently.)

 

Advantages of Independent Publishing

This is the new paradigm, the way to “own your content” immediately and forever. We can boil down the advantages of going indie to these three primary benefits: creative control, profit, and speed.

With creative control, you get to create the book you’ve envisioned, the masterpiece that inspired you from the start. No months or years of rejection from gatekeeper agents and condescending editors; no crucial paragraphs, pages, or chapters inexplicably removed by a squeamish or distracted junior editor in a shrinking editorial department; no changes to the book’s cover ordered at the last minute by a clueless faraway advertising department who doesn’t understand your book. You have the creative vision, you have the creative power, you have the creative control.

The profits you can potentially receive as an independent author outstrip what can be made under a traditional publishing contract. (more…)

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Posted in Double Happiness | Independent Publishing | Writing
by Tony Brasunas at 12:19 pm on June 30, 2015

“Trust Yourself” Tee for Free

Trust Yourself -- Double Happiness Book Tour T-shirts

Click to enlarge

I have a few extra book tour t-shirts on hand right now. The shirts are soft, high quality American Apparel cotton in a hot happy red. On the back are the dates and places of the book tour.

I’ll be throwing in one shirt for each signed book you order while supplies last. So if you would like to wear trust over your heart, order a signed copy of the book now.

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Posted in Double Happiness
by Tony Brasunas at 12:02 pm on June 7, 2015