Talking About A Metaphysical Work

Talking About A Metaphysical Work

On July 21st, I launched my fifth full-length work of fiction, Whizzers. I spent years working on about the first 30% of the novel, then burned through the remaining 70% from late 2018 through March 2019.

So now it’s the thing on the front burner. When I finished my third novel, Miles of Files, I knew that Whizzers had to be next. Frankly, it’s the best novel I’ve ever written, and I’m thrilled with how it came out.

It’s a funny thing, though: I don’t really like to talk about it! Thankfully, I don’t have to, because reviews are coming in every day.

What I wrote about it is the blurb. It reads as follows:

A recovering alcoholic, Mike, discovers his six-year-old cousin, David, travels through time as a whizzer to bring comfort to those in need. Mike soon finds himself along for the ride, and while he gets the opportunity to bring solace to some of his greatest heroes, he must also confront his own greatest demons.

As for reviews, here’s a sample of what people are saying:

“This is in my top 5 reads so far this year. It really moved me…and I’ll read it again. Grab it!” – Amazon review

“Sahno does a fantastic job of distinguishing voices…truly a great book.” – Quoth the Writer

“I’m blown away. This is a great read. Pick it up. I promise it’s worth your time.” – Amazon review

Whizzers is something special. This novel is my most autobiographical work by far. Thankfully, though, that hasn’t hurt the book. In fact, it actually hit the #9 spot on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction list.

Get your copy today!

A Little Pay Upfront…or A Lot More Pay Year After Year

So many writers think they should never pay for publishing. I don't blame them for thinking that way, but here’s how it really plays out. Authors are natural idealists, so of course we typically figure we can get a deal with a big publishing company, leading to smooth...
next book

Talking About My Next Book: More On Whizzers

Talking or writing about your new book is always unnerving for an author. Well, for this author, anyway. I can't really speak for anyone else.Back in November, fellow author Jay Lemming conducted an author interview with me for about 45 minutes. We spoke about a...
editor

Need A Writer? An Editor? A Proofreader? How About All Of The Above?

Late last week I got a call from a husband and wife asking about vanity publishers. Yes, such predatory companies are still out there, preying on the hopeful. These nice folks asked me if it sounded legit when a "publisher" offered to put the wife's book out for a...
copyright

When Do You Need To Copyright Your Work?

​Over the past few weeks, I’ve written a couple of well-received blog posts on the publishing process, one of which is about the importance of having a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) and the other of which is called What’s the Risk to Not Having A...
LCCN

Do I Need A Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)?

This week I promised to write about one of the most often overlooked items in the publishing business - the Library of Congress Control Number, or LCCN. I'm going to write about it a bit today, but my thinking on the LCCN has changed to some degree over time.According...
isolation

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #4: Isolation vs. Solitude

I’m a loner With a loner’s point of view —Bruce Cockburn, “Loner”   Writing a novel is a solitary activity. We all know this. And while there are some exceptions to the rule—screenwriters who work on a team in a “writer’s room,” partners who write a book...

Cover Reveal: Rides From Strangers

Rides From Strangers is coming! Today’s post is a reminder about the upcoming publication of my new short story collection, which is indeed called Rides From Strangers, after the first story in the book. For those of you already on my email newsletter list, I will be...
ISBN

More Fun With the ISBN Number

I've grown so accustomed to cranking out my blog posts on Monday afternoons, I almost forgot to schedule one for today. Thanks to the magic of WordPress, I can write this in the morning and schedule it for the afternoon. By the time you're reading this, I'll be out on...
slow

How Fast Is Too Fast? And How Slow Is Too Slow?

Do you crank out copy at a fast and furious rate? Or are you “the slow one,” the writer who labors over every word, phrase, or even punctuation mark? Or, even more weirdly, are you one of those writers who strikes a happy medium between racing and plodding? I must...

Vaccine Follies: How My Second Shot Got Delayed and Why I Freaked Out A Little

Most of my blog posts are related to books and marketing, as you probably know if you’re here. But periodically this blog serves the purpose of a journal, and I write about what’s on my mind—and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a lot. The virus, the...
An Epic Launch

An Epic Launch

Today, the SEO overlords may punish me for posting something overly short. But that’s okay. Because I had an epic launch this weekend.

“Epic launch” is a phrase I’ve had in my head for a few weeks now. You see, as the publication date for Whizzers drew closer and closer, I found myself running around like a madmangetting details for the big book launch party, emailing VIP Launch Team members, messaging friends and acquaintances alike.

In short, I ran low on energy and patience. I actually felt a little discouraged.

Then I did something uncharacteristic: I replied to someone on Twitter who was asking if any fellow writers had questions or needed help.

His name is Gareth L. Powell, and he’s a bestselling British author. Gareth and I follow each other, and I like him. He’s a genuinely good guy. Also, he’s from Bristol, England, and I’m from Bristol, Connecticut. Not sure I’ve ever connected with anyone from the town MY town was named after.

So I posted something about my upcoming launch up, and Gareth replied, “Mike, it’s going to be epic.”

That was it. Six words. Words that mattered. When I was in the midst of it all on Saturday at the launch event, and Sunday, when the book went live, I remembered Gareth’s words.

And he was right: it was an epic launch. Over twenty people showed up during that event’s two-hour run. Whizzers went all the way to #9 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases in Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction.” As I write this, it’s still hanging tough at #11—right up there with heavy hitters like Paulo Coelho and Karen Russell.

Thank you all.

service

What’s It All About, Anyway?

As far as service goes, it can take the form of a million things. To do service, you don't have to be a doctor working in the slums for free, or become a social worker. Your position in life and what you do doesn't matter as much as how you do what you do. —Elisabeth...
shoemaker

“Shoemaker, Stick to Thy Last!”

I always try to help my fellow indie authors by passing on my experiences. Among the most important, in my mind, is don’t be a jack of all trades, master of none. Find your niche, and stick with it. This might not be the greatest advice if you’re already a...
drum

“I Want to Bang on the Drum All Day”

Ever have an old song pop into your head and then it’s just there all day?  For those of you reading this who are old enough to get the reference, today’s blog post title comes from a Todd Rundgren song from the early 80s, “Bang the Drum All Day.” Todd Rundgren was...
COVID-19

We’re Doing This To Ourselves—And It’s Hard to Comprehend

​As the COVID-19 crisis grinds on and on, I’ve become increasingly motivated to write about it…for a number of reasons. First, we’re all thinking about it, so I might as well address it here. Second, I’ve sort of avoided writing about it in some previous blog posts,...

But What If I’m Sick?

Last month my wife and I went to Thailand for a two-week vacation. This was my first real vacation in over two years, and my wife Sunny’s first visit back to her family in her country of origin in even longer. So we really needed and, I think, deserved it. And...
marketing

Why I Don’t Want You to Buy My Latest Book—Yet

​One of the biggest challenges indie authors face is that of marketing. We ask ourselves a million questions when putting together a marketing plan, often with answers that are hazy at best. Who is my audience? Where do they find books? What marketing services should...
exhausted

“Broke Down And Busted In The Promised Land”

Man, are you exhausted or what? I know I am. We all are, right? In fact, I was thinking of titling today's blog post Exhausted, but then the phrase "broke down and busted" drifted into my mind. It comes from a song by a band called The Hilltops, which eventually...
artists

Calling All Artists

This week's blog post is going to be super short: if you've ever read the blog, you’ll know I'm posting often about my upcoming book launch. I’m releasing my fourth novel in 2019, and I’m putting a lot of emphasis on finding artists first. I put out a call for graphic...
interregnum

What To Expect From An Interregnum

I had a very strange, little-used word pop into my head the other day: interregnum.  Cambridge English defines interregnum as "a period when a country or organization does not have a leader." That certainly seems to apply at this moment. Merriam-Webster's definition:...
The Technophobe Part 2: Why I Wish I Was Better At Some Of This Stuff

The Technophobe Part 2: Why I Wish I Was Better At Some Of This Stuff

The last few weeks have been all about pros and cons. In June, I wrote several blog posts about my biggest strengths, and now I’m writing about some of my greatest challenges. So the two categories are, roughly, “Stuff I’m Good At” and “Stuff I Wish I Was Better At.” Last week’s post was about being a technophobe in general, but this week I want to address why I wish I was better at some of this high-tech stuff.

That’s why I decided to devote an entire blog post to WordPress. It might seem a little “meta” to write about something on the platform that is your topic, but it doesn’t strike me as too bizarre. Years ago, I would never have thought to write an essay on my typewriter about the typewriterbut then, I never actually thought the typewriter was all that complex or difficult to use.

By contrast, WordPress is both incredibly complex andto my way of thinkingrelatively difficult to use. Yet it remains one of the most popular platforms among writers, and many people have written about how easy it is to master.

 

Easy For You, Maybe

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty much self-taught on WordPress. My old web guy set me up with it when he redesigned my website, and I must admit, I was appalled at first. Whereas the original site had a section that was easy to use when it came to setting up new blog posts, the brand new WordPress site had all sorts of bells and whistles. And that didn’t make me happy.

You see, I like things simple when it comes to mechanical objects. For example, I own a Honda Accord, a car that starts every day when I turn the key in the ignition. Now, I like that. I don’t work on cars, and I don’t want to work on cars. (In that case, I actually don’t like it, nor am I good at it. There are a few things I’m not good at, that I still like to try to dobut not many.)

Much the same could be said of a setup like the one you get with WordPress. In my own case, I went from a situation where I could click a button and write a blog post to the following:

  1. Click “Use the Divi Builder.”
  2. Click “Load Layout.”
  3. Choose “Articles.”
  4. Choose “Full Width.”
  5. Select your Featured Image.
  6. Set Featured Image.

And on, and on, and on. The then-new setup required a 14-minute video tutorial, whereas the old setup required a couple clicks of a button or two. I was not a happy camper.

 

The Devil You Know

With that much complaining, you’d think I never got used to the WordPress interface. But in fact, I did get used to it, and after using the tutorial to set up new posts, I was able to go without it after only about 89 times. Not bad, eh?

Then WordPress created a typical “Divi Builder Upgrade,” eliminating even more of those pesky words I like so much, and replacing them with more symbols. One man’s upgrade is another man’s devolution, I suppose.

Yet when a colleague of mine recommended switching my website to a different platform, I resisted the idea heavily—and have resisted to this day. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, as my mother is fond of saying.

Do I wish I had a better grip on all this high tech stuff? Yes, but only because I don’t like to waste time struggling with software. In a perfect world, I’d outsource all of it.

What about you? Are you more computer-savvy than the average bear? Let me know in the comments below. Commiserating welcome, of course.

What’s the Worst Thing About Social Media?

I’ve been known to refer to social media as antisocial media, so you might wonder what I think is the worst thing about it. Online bullying? The relentless self-promotion? (Buy my book! Buy my service!) People tagging you or adding you to lists without asking...
ebook

Are Stories Inevitably Autobiographical?

Recently, I’ve been writing quite a bit about writing, providing some explanations about why I write what I write. I’ve even got an upcoming podcast appearance talking a lot about my background and history in relation to my works of fiction. In the case of my short...
attorney

The Power of an Attorney

Last week I missed the deadline to post my Monday blog, then missed any other opportunity through the rest of the week. The reason? I'm power of attorney for my mother, who took a fall and had to be hospitalized. Hence the headline for this week's post. Being power of...

“Narratives of Transcendent Origin and Power”

Somewhere around a million years ago, I received a gift from a fellow writer, a book called Walking on Alligators by Susan Shaughnessy. I wasn't familiar with Ms. Shaughnessy, but the book is subtitled A Book of Meditations for Writers, and it has a format similar to...
ledge

Nightmare On Acid Street

In my mind, I flash back to a time years ago, and the image strikes me with peculiar clarity—the dismal boarding house where I lived when I was newly sober, the shattering acid flashback with its neon cockroaches skittering across the dirty ceiling. Then, further back...
Whizzers

The Glories of Language: Making Stuff Up and Other Fun Things I Do

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” - Pablo Picasso   One thing I was never especially afraid of was breaking the rules. What I was afraid of was getting caught. When I was young, I got into a tiny bit of trouble, but not much....
remember 80s

Remember The 80s? Placing Scenes in History in My Most Recent Novel

Remember the 80s? How about the 70s, or even the 60s? Of course, I know the old expression: if you remember the 60s, you weren't there. But in my house, it was different. I was born in the 60s, but in my house it was pretty much like the 50s. No discussion of the war...

A Journey with A Few Heiresses

Way back in 2016, I got a guest spot on a blog called Writing in the Modern Age by an author named Marie Lavender. Of all the writers I've contacted online, Marie has to be the most prolific – more than 20 books published over the course of 15 years. Marie and I have...
repetition

Insanity: Writing the Same Thing Over and Over?

Sometimes I feel like I’m standing at the bottom of those steps. I’ve been really lucky: I’ve had the good fortune to publish and sell four of my novels, and I run a freelance writing and editing business as well. I have great clients who love what I do and send me...

A Conversation With Literary Author Jay Lemming

Today's blog post is a little different - an interview with fellow literary novelist Jay Lemming, author of Billy Maddox Takes His Shot. I'll let the interview speak for itself, but for more on Jay, visit his website at https://jaylemming-author.com. Thanks for...
Technophobia: A Writer’s Confession

Technophobia: A Writer’s Confession

To today’s computer-savvy readers, “technophobia” might sound like a quaint leftover from the 20th century. You remember, right? Back in the 1980s, guys like me wrote poems of dismay about the invasion of technology into the arts.

I still remember the words I penned when “word processors” were becoming popular, disgusted by those who, instead of working “doggedly, making errors,” chose to “process words quickly for loot. Technology,” I continued, “favors the latter/But I say, ‘That does not compute.'”

Ah, the good old days.

Of course, I lost that battle by a wide marginand many more after that. I even began to compose on a computer. And once I became a full-time writer, I graduated from PC to iMac and became something of an Apple fanboy. (These days, it’s a little harder to remain enchanted with them. But that’s a post for another day.)

 

Clumsy, or Just Inept?

You might not consider anyone under 60 to be a true technophobe today, unless they live in the woods or don’t have electricity. However, I’d maintain that those of us who adapted out of necessity can still call ourselves technophobic if we struggle to keep up.

Yep, that’s me. I don’t know about you, but every time I come across a new WordPress update or need to “Google Verify” my business, a cold chill runs up my spine. You could say I’m somewhat inept at this stuff even after all these years, or just a bit clumsy with tech. I’d retort that I’m more a word guy than a symbol guy, and my mind isn’t built like the mind of a programmer. Am I really expected to remember what those little gearshift symbols or hamburger icons are meant to represent?

 

I Want to Improve, But…

Now, the whole point here isn’t that I’m not a high tech expert. That’s pretty obvious. I wrote my first novel by hand, then typed it (yes, on a typewriter—Google it, children), then put it on a word processor, then…ah, forget it.

But now I can actually write multiple drafts on a big old iMac, and I can even update the apps on my phone with the touch of a button. It’s all pretty nifty, I suppose.

Do I miss the days when people weren’t developing bone spurs in their necks from looking down constantly at their phones? Yes, in some ways, I do. And while I view technology as both a curse and a blessing—in many ways, we’re more divided than ever, however “connected” we may be through tech—I probably lean more toward the “curse” side…especially when contemplating the newest upgrade or update or whatever I have to deal with next.

And yes, I want to improve. But the companies who create all this stuff sure don’t make it easy for artistic types like me.

What about you? Do you struggle with technophobia? Let me know in the comments below.

run

The End of a Good Run

I’ve had a pretty good run the last five or six weeks: last week’s blog post, entitled What Books Cost Their Authors: A Tale of Blood, Sweat & Tears, had the best “headline quality score” I’ve ever attained (yes, I run my headlines through an analyzer for SEO, to...
staycation

The Big July 4th Staycation

“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” —Eugene Ionesco   I'll admit it: last week’s blog post was pretty much non-existent. All I posted was a flag picture and a headline, “Happy birthday,...

Indie Authors & Literary Fiction

Back in July, I posted an interview with fellow indie author Jay Lemming.  Jay has a terrific ongoing project simply called “Survey: Indie Writers of Literary Fiction.” In his survey, he asks fellow lit fiction authors about one of their novels, and in particular,...
litfic

Leaving the Litfic Category Behind?

Today’s blog is NOT an advertisement for products or services I offer. However, I do want to extend an invitation to join my email newsletter list to get content that’s (mostly) not available elsewhere.One thing about the author life that never fails to entertain is...
excellence

Literary Excellence and Why Writers Need to Be Readers

Back when I first launched my company, I often used the phrase literary excellence as part of my branding. The idea was that Sahno Publishing evolved out of the notion that literary excellence is more important than a financial formula. The company entered the...
platform

Platform-Building for Authors

A while back, I wrote a LinkedIn article on platform-building for authors, a frequent topic for my speaking gigs and for online posts in general. Today I thought I'd revisit some of that for the blog, discussing how speaking can help an author. Building a platform...
spirituality

Spirituality in the Fictional World

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post called Talking About A Metaphysical Work where I tried to discuss spirituality in fiction. At least, that's what I thought I was doing. See, I had just published my fourth novel, Whizzers, and I knew I needed to promote it. I had a...
Thanksgiving

Gratitude Week: A Thanksgiving Reflection from Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

2018 has been trying, to say the least. In January, I posted a New Year's resolution to finish my current WIP, Whizzers, this year. Then, on Valentine's Day, that got back-burnered when the call came that my 81-year-old mother had taken a fall and had to be...

Radio, Radio

Last month, I had the pleasure of being the guest on a terrific radio show for authors: the Joy on Paper program hosted by PatZi Gil. PatZi was kind enough to invite me on the show to talk not only about my third novel Miles of Files, but also about my company, Sahno...
can we talk

Can We Talk?

I don't know how many of my blog readers are familiar with Joan Rivers—possibly not that many—but there was a time when the catchphrase Can we talk? was known to just about every adult in America. Joan may be gone, but it seems like people are talking more than ever....