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

Posts about writing and independent publishing

7 Things To Do if You Publish Your Book Independently

If you want to publish a beautiful and popular book using the powerful publishing tools available to authors today, here are seven things you need to do to succeed.

(This is Part III of an Indie Pub Trilogy.  Part I is an overview of the pros and cons of independent and traditional publishing. Part II recounts my personal journey to publishing independently rather than via a literary agent.)

7-things-to-do-if-you-publish-independently
  1. Write a great book. First, and most importantly, before we talk about anything else, you need to write absolutely the best book you can. Pour your talent and your time into it. Stop reading this article, and go write your tour de force. Right now.Or right after reading this article. You do need to know a few more things.

    The truth is, despite any cynicism you might hear on the interwebs about uneducated readers, dwindling attention spans, or a glut of writers, this is a fabulous time to be a good writer. Both readership and book sales per reader are growing and will continue to grow. Good writing will rise above mediocre writing every time, and exquisite prose that sings like poetry will always rise to the top. Fabulous writing will also make everything about promoting your voice, getting your word out, and selling your book infinitely easier.

    Read, write, revise, repeat. It is the way, it will always be the way. We humans have been telling each other stories at least since there was fire. Storytelling is here to stay. Feel free to get really good at it.

  2. Promote now. That said, start promotion today. Many people told me this, but still I sort of dabbled and waited until I felt done with my book. I finally did start this blog and write occasional articles, but I could’ve and should’ve been doing a lot more via social media and via a newsletter.You don’t have to do everything; don’t get overwhelmed and then never start. See #6, “Focus on you,” below.

    But do something to promote your voice or your writing today, and keep it up. Then do something else. Here are some ideas: (more…)

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Posted in Independent Publishing | Writing
by Tony Brasunas at 9:09 am on October 25, 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

How To Write an Amazon Review

Review Double Happiness in three quick easy steps:

  1. If you don’t already have the book, go get it at the Amazon Book Page.

      Download or Buy the Book >

     

  2. Go to the “Customer Reviews” page. You might have to log in or create a free account at Amazon.

    Go to the Customer Reviews Page >

     

  3. Leave a review and star rating. Write whatever you’d like. Two sentences are enough. Or write as much as you like. Tell others something that the book made you think about or feel.
    Leave a Customer Review

You’re done! Thank you. Your review will help more people find Double Happiness.

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Posted in Double Happiness | Writing
by Tony Brasunas at 7:18 am on April 10, 2015

A Change in Perspective

Sometimes I get stuck in a funk, feeling desperate or depressed. It can be hard to even remember why or how it was that I felt good before.

If I can just find a moment or two of conscious awareness in these times, I remember that there are many ways to shift this experience. One extreme but effective way I’ve learned is to change my perspective drastically — by imagining I’m going to die.

Here’s how to do it: Close your eyes and take a moment. Pretend you just heard that, without a doubt, for sure, due to a freak and sudden painless accident, you are going to die precisely one year from today. Now ask yourself, What would I do?

Sit back and see where your mind goes. Just watch your mind for a minute. You’ll probably hear yourself say something like, “Well, I definitely wouldn’t worry about that anymore.” And then maybe, “I’d go do that, why not?”

Consider making those changes in your life right away.

But don’t do anything yet, obviously. This is just an exercise. Write down a few of the ideas that dawn on you.

Then try changing the timeframe. If you did one year the first time, now try three months or five years. And then sit back and see where your mind goes. You can try your own timeframe: one week, six months, or ten years.

It can be useful also to try a timeframe that is longer than you expect to live (particularly if you already have a specific life expectation for medical or other reasons.)

You’ll probably find yourself grateful about things you took for granted, angry about things you’ve been wasting time on for months or years, depressed about the repetitiveness of a pattern that you haven’t broken yet, and maybe excited that it’s time to take a chance on that thing you’ve been longing to try.

That’s what happens for me. And I usually see something cool that I hadn’t seen before.

When we remember that we all have this terminal condition called life, and that no one gets out of here alive, we can touch that mysterious miracle that we do have this time, at least. And that’s a change in perspective that has snapped me out of many a funk.

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Posted in Inner Life | Writing
by Tony Brasunas at 3:51 pm on October 5, 2014

Do Book Awards Matter on the Cover?

As I’ve mentioned before, Double Happiness has been blessed to win several book awards.

Most book awards have decals that can be placed on the cover of the book, and this is a very good problem to have, obviously, but my question for you is: Should I acquire and attach decals for each award? Or just one award? Or none? Which looks best?

I want to present a great image to attract the people who would enjoy and benefit from the story of Double Happiness — as well as to sway some who might, you know, judge a book by its…

Some people have said they can’t really read the awards on the decals below. You can see the awards up close here.

Vote below. To vote for your favorite, just click on it. To vote for more than one, tick the boxes and click ‘Vote.’

[[POLL]]

There are more prestigious awards out there; none of these decals is yet for a Nobel Prize or a Pulitzer (one can always dream). Nevertheless I think including one or more of these awards helps potential readers and indicates a distinction about the book: professionals who spend a lot of time reading books have recognized Double Happiness as exceptional.

Another option is to have my wonderful cover designer add the award decal to the cover image itself, so that there’s no need to attach actual stickers.

What are your thoughts? Comment below; I’ve moved to social media commenting too. Do you like?

Thank you for your thoughts!

ps: You can still get Double Happiness for free or very reasonably priced during August and September.

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Posted in Double Happiness | Writing
by Tony Brasunas at 11:13 am on August 31, 2014