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:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Authentic Book Promotion Continued: A Wonderful Week on Guam

With students in a creative writing class at the University of Guam: As a guest lecturer, I had a wonderful time discussing the writing process with a room full of intelligent and enthusiastic would-be writers; they bought my book and fed me, too.

It's almost over; tomorrow we fly to Tokyo and then non-stop to L.A. where we will layover to allow the "Frankenstorm," the Storm of the Century, to pass over the East Coast.

But it has been a fine week indeed for this writer: Guest lecturing, interviews, photo shoots, book signings, invitations to return and be the keynote speaker at upcoming book events and pockets stuffed with cash from spontaneous book sales wherein the book is grabbed out of one of my hands while dollars are thrust into the other. It's hard to know how to react so I'll take the easy road and not think too much about it. I'll enjoy the moment, carpe diem,  and all that.

 A successful book signing: I had just ten books left at the end of a week of lectures and interviews and sold them all in an hour and a half. Wonderful and so very, very different from previous book signings with previous books.

To see your name up like this is kind of jerks you up short. "Do they mean this Douglas Arvidson?"

And, after we left the hotel, we got to stay with good friends who have made a beautiful home from raw Guam jungle--bananas and flowers abound.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Wonderfull Time on Guam: Authentic Book Promotion

Tumon Bay, Guam in early morning from our hotel room window.

Guam: a far outpost on this fat round world, the place where America's day begins and where jet lag sets the mood for the sky traveler. We landed last Sunday, just at sunset, arriving from Honolulu after a two-night rest after arriving there from Virginia. I was beat, sagging and foggy and grumpy and so was my traveling companion (the usually patient, tolerant, smiling, hard-core-world-traveling wife, Terry).

It's rainy season here, the full-throttled-downpour-gusher time of year when huge black clouds form from nothing, instantly, in blue skies and the deluge that follows fills gutters and storm drains and then the blue sky returns arched with multiple rainbows. The humidity is something spectacular, making the 88 degree heat sauna rich and suffocating. Turns out our car rental agency doesn't have a desk at the airport so we have to pile our luggage and drooping bodies with six other people into a van designed to hold only six.

Even the air conditioning at the Hilton seems to have not been up to the challenge of removing the sullen moisture from the air. The corridor smells of dampness, the carpeting looks downtrodden, the windows overlooking the ocean are fogged. We grump and grumble as we settle in. It's really too early to go to sleep for the night, but heads hang low and eyes burn, so we surrender.

Awake at 4:30 a.m. of course, fully slept out and once again spunky, but who gets up at 4:30 except under duress? Toss and turn. "You awake?" So we get up at 5:00. Terry, with the ridiculous self-disciple reserved for true triathletes, gets her workout clothes on and heads down the fitness room. I go down to the lobby and buy a $5 cup of coffee and eat a zone bar.

Now, though, two days later, things have cleared up--both heads and skies--and we're zooming along. Terry off to meetings, me off to promote (authentically--see previous blog entry) my book. And it's all good news. In fact, wonderful news. The very people who seemed to studiously ignore my first two books are grabbing for this one with one hand whilst throwing cash at me with the other. I have a photo-shoot/interview scheduled with a reporter from the Pacific Daily News and another one with a writer from Island Traveler, a new magazine aimed at Asian readers. There is a book signing scheduled for the Navy Exchange on Saturday and I'm a guest lecturer at the University of Guam tonight at a creative writing class. I'm going to talk to 3rd graders tomorrow about the writing process and 6th graders on Thursday.

The difference between this book and the others?  This one is about Guam; it has a home-field advantage. It's beautiful to look at and wonderful to hold. The cover invites you in, the back-cover blurb grabs you. People who have read it, love it and are spreading the word.

I've got another five days here. We'll see what happens next.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Authentic Marketing: The Art of Shame-Free Self Promotion

October 4th was Launch Day: I think everything is in place.


 I'm guessing that the most important thing about being a successful writer of novels is this: Have talent--lots of it--well developed talent honed through the years of slog and misery and rejection that makes the final success such a bitter-sweet experience.


Next--and I'm guessing here again--take your time and use that burnished talent to write something outstanding, something wonderful, something fresh, unique--something readers will want to pick up and not put down, something that will affect them deeply, something they will talk about to others. Word of mouth sells books.


 And the cover, yes. The cover needs to be as beautiful and unique and appealing as the story inside it. 


What now? Now comes the really painful part: Telling everyone how wonderful your book is. Shouting its glories from the rooftops, as it were, and this makes people like me feel just terrible. But recently I came across a wonderful term coined by Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber's  promoter, that takes the shame out of self-promotion: authentic marking.


 Here's the general idea of authentic marketing: Promoting a product that you know is of high quality. That is, your book is the real deal--you're not some hack selling cheesy drivel or scamming suckers into buying worthless scribbling.  You, with your burnished talent and careful craft, have created something that you know (and your editor and publisher and a hired professional reader or two agree with you) the reading public will love and benefit from. Authentic marketing is convincing as many of those readers as possible to buy the book.


Nowadays, of course, in this wonderful, writhing, boiling, exploding, cut-throat digital world, you need what's called a platform from which to launch your authentic marketing campaign. You--or your agent/representative--must be fluent in the dizzying world of professionally developed websites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs and all the other ways the Internet allows us to connect with anyone on the planet who might be interested in what you have to offer.


So here I go, shame-free because I'm pretty sure I'm marketing something authentic: My readers tell me I'm ready, my editor says the book is burnished, my publisher says, "This is going to be a great book." Initial responses are breathtakingly enthusiastic: "Best book I've ever read," "Wonderful read," "A real page turner," "Fantastic" and "If this doesn't make you, nothing will."


And I've got a pretty cool website with links all over the place like, my blog, my Twitter page, and lots of Facebook friends. And I'm linked in to LinkedIn. I've sent out press releases, done what I an to create that critical buzz.


Now we shall see if being an authentic writer and writing an authentic story and marketing it authentically will result in some authentic success.