Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Category: Blogging (page 1 of 4)

Chris Backe’s Review of Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm

There hasn’t been much press about my recent book, Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm, but Chris Backe has some good things to say about it in his review last December.

This was going to be the book that I had thought about writing in 2009 when I wanted to compile all the articles I wrote about the Korean War commemorative events in Korea.

Instead, I ended up writing War Remains.

When I hear some of the horror stories that some expats have had in Korea teaching English, I am one of the luckier ones. I probably wouldn’t have stayed here for as long as I did had I taught somewhere else besides ELS and Y0nsei.

And don’t forget those six years of writing for the Korea Times.

Like I said, Chris has some nice things to say about Waking Up

It’s a fairly rare expat in Korea who can claim twenty-plus years in Korea. Jeffrey Miller is one of those guys, of course, and his first-person perspective on Korea’s history since 1990 is a rock-solid one.

Read the rest of the review here.

Review in Three Wise Monkeys

War Remains recently got a nice write up in Three Wise Monkeys; immediately it was linked to another Korean website.

It’s nice to see the novel finally getting more press here in Korea and other places. On Amazon, seven readers have left reviews.

Word of mouth.

That’s what it’s all about.

Writing is easy; Promoting your book is harder

That’s what I’ve been finding out ever since War Remains was published seven months ago.

I’ve done everything that was suggested by authors and indie publishers, from setting up a page on Facebook to having its own blog.

I’ve sent out press releases, have had two newspaper interviews, and have recently entered the novel into a Korean War book competition.

I’ve reviewed Amazon book purchases, such as Cherries: A Vietnam War Novel by John Podlaski and added a hyperlink to my Amazon page.

Unfortunately, the one market I still haven’t been able to make inroads into has been the Korean market. Despite having a major write up and interview in The Korea Times last year, the book is still not available locally.

One thing that writers, especially those of us who self-publish need to do to promote one’s books is persuade buyers to write reviews. It doesn’t have to be much, just a paragraph or two. However, to get folks to do that, is not always easy. Therefore, I’m thinking about having a contest. For everyone who writes a mini-review, I will have a drawing and select one or two names for a free autographed copy of any of my books.

This also works for comments on a blog post about one’s books.

It’s all about getting the word out, isn’t it?

It’s not like Field of Dreams— “if you build it they will come;” it’s more like, if you write it, you’ve got to promote it.

Book sales are good, but….

Sales of War Remains have been good thus far thanks to getting out the word on Facebook and this blog, as well as War Remains but I am a little disappointed with the lack of sales in Korea, a market that I thought I would do better in given the expat community, the article in the Korea Times and the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War. In fact, in three weeks it will be the 60th anniversary of the battle at Hoengsong and Massacre Valley, which I describe in the novel.

I know it’s only been six weeks since the novel was first published and I had to get through three holidays as well as North Korea shelling an island along the NLL in November, so I have taken that in consideration.

I’ve heard some people say that they’ve had difficulty ordering through Lulu while others are waiting for it to be listed at Amazon. I’ve sold a couple of Kindles, not as many as I thought given how many people are raving about Kindle and Nook these days.

I just really want to crack this Korean market. I am surprised of the lukewarm reception it has gotten here, especially from some of the more notable bloggers (it was mentioned on ROK Drop, though; sadly only two people commented) in Korea (I’ve let three know about the book). I guess being in Korea for 20 years and writing a novel about the Korean War just wasn’t news worthy enough.

The neat thing about self-publishing your novel through Lulu, Kindle, Smashwords, et al, is that I can check whenever I want to see how the book is selling. You try not to check too much, though–hoping for another sale since the last time you checked.

Spreading the word…one blog post at a time

War Remains got mentioned on another website, this one a digest of the best blogs in Asia. All it takes is one or two people blogging about your novel and the next thing you know, it’s popping up on various websites and blogs.

The digest is worth looking at for other interesting blogs about life, travel, culture and history in Asia.

With a little help from my friends….

Let’s face it, marketing a book on your own can be a little difficult and daunting at times.

You don’t want to get “in the face” of too many folks at social networking sites or on your blog by reminding them to buy your book. On one hand, you don’t want to be too aggressive to chase people away; on the other hand, you want to post “friendly reminders” from time to time.

Having a great marketing strategy including book signings are par for the course for marketing any book, but when you get right down to it, the best way to market a book, is still word of mouth.

And that’s what one of my friends, blog follower and fellow blogger Nye did on her blog over the weekend by mentioning my novel. Whether or not this is going to translate into any actual sales remains to be seen, but her post is another way of spreading the word.

Thanks Nye!

With a little help from my friends…

Let’s face it, marketing a book on your own can be a little difficult and daunting at times.

You don’t want to get “in the face” of too many folks at social networking sites or on your blog by reminding them to buy your book. On one hand, you don’t want to be too aggressive to chase people away; on the other hand, you want to post “friendly reminders” from time to time.

Having a great marketing strategy including book signings are par for the course for marketing any book, but when you get right down to it, the best way to market a book, is still word of mouth.

And that’s what one of my friends, blog follower and fellow blogger Nye did on her blog over the weekend by mentioning my novel. Whether or not this is going to translate into any actual sales remains to be seen, but her post is another way of spreading the word. Thanks Nye!

Blogging about War Remains

Robert “Bobby” Washkowiak battles his way through the bitter first winter of the Korean War, longing for home, his wife, and newborn son. Fifty years later, his son and grandson come across his wartime letters and together, they try to find out what really happened to him on one of the battlefields of that “forgotten war.”

To help promote my Korean War novel, War Remains, as well as write about the stories behind the story as it were the novel has its own blog.

Don’t be discouraged

That’s what I tell myself with every rejection that I get.

Don’t be discouraged.

You can’t. It’s that simple.

You can’t be discouraged and you can’t take a rejection personally. You’ve got to be a little thick-skinned or better yet, Teflon coated. One person’s opinion, or two or three or even a dozen does not necessarily mean your story stinks. Well, maybe a dozen’s a little too much.

The other day must have been International Rejection Day because I got six. One right after the other. I know even before I open the email and see a little bit of the first sentence–“We appreciate…” Sort of like a Dear John letter: “This is a hard letter….” You don’t have to read on MacDuff to know the score.

I don’t know if this is a good number or not, but of the 74 rejections I have received since June, I have had seven stories published as well as five poems. Another flash fiction piece will be published on the 24th. So, I guess my writing doesn’t stink after all. And for those eight stories that found a home–I am grateful to the editors who have them their home.

When a piece is rejected, I appreciate those editors who take time out to offer some feedback or just add a personal touch to the rejection. At the very least, someone has read something I have written. I have gotten a lot of encouragement from them.

As a new day begins, I wonder what news of the Rialto.

All quiet on the Eastern Front — the Monday night edition

I’m sitting in the Cybernet 2 room–which sounds too much like Skynet, evoking images of Terminators and machines rising up against us all–located in the Solbridge International School of Business where I have my evening Writing Center hours from 7-9. It’s week 2 of the autumn semester and I don’t expect anyone to be coming in for writing assistance this evening.

Solbridge is located next to the railroad tracks so every couple of minutes there is another train rumbling by–so often that you won’t even notice (Blues Brothers 1980)–but I do notice and wonder, when I see the lighted carriages passing by, who these people are riding the rails north to Seoul or south to Pusan.

Supposedly there is another typhoon churning around in the South China Sea headed toward the Korean peninsula. If it does make landfall it might cool things off a bit here.

Sent off another creative nonfiction piece today to the Stir Fry Literary Magazine. They published one of my stories this summer and thought I’d give them another shot. Still waiting to hear something on the 50 stories that I have submitted.

I hear someone walking outside. Could it be my first writing tutorial this evening? False alarm. Just the cleaning lady.

Another train rumbles by.

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