Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Advertisements for Myself: The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Writing Life

Selling Well on Amazon: It's a fast-paced, complex, fantasy/adventure love story for good high school-level and adult readers. And you don't have to have read Book I.

Praise for the Eye of the Stallion Series: "....Arvidson has crafted a wonderful tale for any age...where the forces unleashed are primal, and the science suggestive. The reader is urged by compelling and deft plot twists...and sense of precision story telling. Readers familiar with the EarthSea Trilogy by Ursula le Guin will find familiar moral territory...."  V. Santos, Former Features Editor/News Editor, Pacific Daily News (a Gannett Newspaper)

Here we go into the "selling" phase of the writing life. It's the worst part, believe me. Worse even than slogging through a long re-write. Worse than banging your shins on a table leg. Worse than the flu because it lasts longer. Worse than a Congressman's morals. It's like selling snake oil. It's embarrassing. It exhausts the ego and leaves it flat and deflated and smelling vaguely of spoiled dreams and rancid discouragement.

What's the secret, then, to success in this miserable phase of the writing life? Here's what Martha Stewart, who knows something about selling, had to say about it: I think it's very important that whatever you're trying to make or sell, or teach has to be basically good. A bad product and you know what? You won't be here in ten years.

 Ah, so that's the key--it has to be good.

But what is good? Art is so subjective. Truth is, there are 1,000,000 good books produced in the U.S. every year. That's ONE MILLION. And that doesn't count the self-published ones. There are probably 30,000,000 of those. And every one of those books is some writer's special baby, a labor of love and determination, a cause for personal and family pride ("My mother loves it!). In short, at least one person thinks that book is good.

How then to sell your good book when the world is awash in masterpieces? Things have changed since Hemingway was pushing his books. His publisher did it for him. As far as I know, he never did a book tour or sat in a mall signing copies of A Farewell to Arms. My publisher does some promotion, but I'm expected to do most of it. I've tried booksignings at bookstores and there are county fairs, local art shows, and muskrat-skinning contests (seriously, there is one of those every year here on the Eastern Shore). The Internet is, of course, the advertising platform-of-choice in this brave new world of huckstering and opportunities to sell there are manifold: FaceBook, Twitter, GoogleAdsense, on and on. Some free, some cost. And author beware--there are lots of clever shysters out there who will take your money in exchange for "advertising" your book.

The bottom line for a writer, though, is this: Word of mouth. That's how Hemingway and Martha Stewart got going. And, that of course, is where the good part comes in. It's is what Martha was talking about in the quote above. People gotta like it. If it's a good product, they will buy it and they will tell others about it. It's the consumers who have the final say in what is good.

So, here I go. Here's my pitch: You will love this deep-fantasy-adventure-love story. You will love the characters and the plot twists and the fast-paced action. 

It would be fine and wonderful if you would buy a copy.  And, after reading it, if you bought it on Amazon, you can write a review and post it there. That's kinda cool. And send me your comments right here on this blog. I'll publish them, good or bad (maybe).

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