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:

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. 




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