MATTHEW SULLIVAN

AUTHOR/SCREENWRITER/POSITIVE VIBE ENTHUSIAST

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Category: Writing

Orphans Trilogy Update and More…

Rarely does a day pass without several people asking about the second Orphans book. For those peeps (and everyone else who read and enjoyed The Orphans ), I have some great news …

After focusing on a couple unrelated novels (one of which is still out to publishers, so cross your fingers for me),  I’ve started putting pen to paper on the second Orphans book. You excited? Awesome! Because that’s not the only good news …

I’m also giving the book away for free! All you have to do to get your copy is sign up for my email list by filling out the form at the bottom of this post. To get the book in your hands even faster, I’ve decided to send it out in five chapter chunks as soon as they’re ready, which should be about every four weeks.

But there’s more (hence the “and more” in the title) …

I will also be releasing my second novel, Stealing Christmas, in the next few weeks. While I won’t be giving it away to the masses, I am going to give it away to any teachers looking for a fun summer read. If you’re a teacher and would like a digital copy, just email freebook@matthewsullivanwriter.com with “Stealing Christmas” in the subject and the type of eReader you use in the body of the email.

Well, after all my promises, I think I have my work cut out for me. Time to get back to writing!

Sign up for your free copy  of The Orphans: Book II by filling out the form below:

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PS:  If you haven’t read The Orphans (Orphans Book One), it’s available for purchase on Amazon for the low price of $2.99 in ebook format and $14.99 in paperback and is free to read with Kindle Unlimited.  

Why I’m Giving Away A Million Books

This isn’t a clickbait scam, I promise. I’ve fallen for those too many times to employ the same sneaky tactics. I’m seriously giving away a million ebook copies of my novel The Orphans. It may sound crazy, but as someone who spends most of the day having conversations with myself through made-up characters–crazy suits me.

Now for the why …

Seven months ago, I self-published The Orphans. I sold a bunch of copies, and got great reviews (currently 4.9 stars on Amazon). A month after it was released, my amazing literary agent found me, and we took the book offline to shop it to traditional publishers. After that, the story gets a lot less exciting. We were turned down by all the publishers we approached.

While I could have found some solace knowing that the primary reason the book was passed over was because I “didn’t have a big enough social media presence” and that having 12 publishers pass on it puts me in elite company (since JK Rowling was similarly shot down when she first approached publishers with Harry Potter), I didn’t. At least not right away.

Why not?

Because I don’t have Kanye West confidence. I only have regular-person confidence. After every rejection, I couldn’t help but doubt myself and my abilities. I doubted whether I had made the right choice to leave finance and pursue a writing career, whether I should have stuck with films instead of switching to novels, and whether I should just hang it up and go back to a steady paycheck, PTO, and the other corporate perks.

Doubt is a real son of a bitch. It’s something everyone deals with. And, while doubt is bad on its own, what’s really terrible is that it often wins and keeps people from taking chances and pursuing their passions. I love writing and sharing my stories with people. I’m convinced that it’s what I was put on this earth to do, even though doubt has tried to tell me otherwise many times.

But, while the doubt kept popping up like an arcade Whac-A-Mole, and will keep popping up for as long as I’m alive, it will never win; because, every time it springs out of its gopher hole, I knock it back down. I don’t use a foam mallet or any of the measures Bill Murray resorted to in Caddyshack. I use something much more powerful: meditation and practicing mindfulness. I’ve found that there’s nothing more effective at destroying self-doubt (of course, an incredibly supportive wife also helps a ton).

My experiences with and growth through meditation and mindfulness were what inspired me to write The Orphans, which bridges the gap between spiritual fiction like The Alchemist and popular young adult fiction like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. The purpose was to not only entertain (of course, you gotta do that first) but to also introduce audiences of all ages to the idea of meditation and mindful living as a means of tapping into their authentic selves and finding true happiness. It’s a message that people need to hear more than ever, as the world we live in gets increasingly competitive. To me, the message is more important than money, and that’s why I’m giving a million copies of the book away.

So how do you get this free book? It’s simple. All you have to do is:

That’s it. Do that between now and 5/31/16, and I’ll send you an EPUB version of the book, which is readable on almost all smartphones and tablets, including Apple and Android products. Also, if you want to like my Facebook Page or Follow me on Twitter or Instagram, that would be sweet and would probably help when I go out with my next book.

Some of you might be thinking, “Hey, I don’t take handouts from the government or anyone! I’d rather buy your awesome book!” If that’s the case, great! I obviously appreciate anyone who wants to buy it even though they can get if for free. After all, food doesn’t buy itself, and I have made the price super low ($1.99 on iTunes and Amazon), so you could literally buy it for less than a Grande Skinny Mocha at Starbucks, which I’m not ashamed to admit that I order. If you only read physical books, the paperback is available here.

To give away a million copies, I’m really going to need your help. So please share, tweet, repost, email, etc. this post so it can reach as many people as possible. After I hit a million, we’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll revise my target and shoot for two million or more. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and appreciate your support.

Sincerely,

Matthew Sullivan

 

**Your email will be added to my distribution list. To date, I’ve used it to send one email. So don’t get too excited about receiving a bunch of awesome mail from me.**

How A Snowball Becomes An Avalanche…

The Orphans has been out for just over three weeks now. The initial sales were fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier with how well the book has been received. But now that the post release push has passed, we (well, really just me) find ourselves in the inevitable lull. It’s one of the perks of being in a “hurry up and wait” profession.

I knew that this was coming. I knew that, even in the best-case scenario, it would take time to build some serious steam. And I knew that it wouldn’t just happen on its own or by accident like things do in cartoons. You know, where someone harmlessly tosses a snowball down a mountain, then it grows into a massive mound, before turning into an avalanche.

I knew my avalanche wouldn’t come so easily. I don’t have the luxury of tossing my snowball (I’m still talking about The Orphans if I’ve lost you with this analogy) over a ledge. If anything, I’m rolling it up the mountain, and it still needs to go over the top before it will start to roll on its own. But it will. I’m very confident of that. And while I could keep pushing it myself, and maybe get a hernia or two, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask for the help of my great friends and followers.

The good news is, we’re not pushing a real snowball and there isn’t any actual manual labor involved. Realistically, you don’t even have to leave your chair or couch or wherever you’re sitting, assuming you’re sitting. All you have to do is a few simple things:

If you’ve read The Orphans

  • Write a short, honest review on Amazon and Goodreads (if you use it). Reviews not only increase exposure on Amazon, they also help potential buyers make decisions.
  • Recommend The Orphans to your friends. I bolded that because it’s by far the the most important way to help the book grow. The number one reason readers check out new books is because someone they know recommended them. I mean, that’s the only reason why I read Little House on the Prairie in third grade. Obviously, the more the you can recommend the book to the better, but if you can even tell just two people to check it out, that would be amazing.
  • Gift a copy to a friend or relative who likes to read. You can buy them a copy or even just let them borrow yours to help spread the word. **You don’t even have to have a print version to lend it. Amazon lets you lend the Kindle copy, too.**

If you haven’t read or purchased The Orphans

  • Check out the first four chapters on Amazon by clicking here: The Orphans (Orphans Trilogy Book 1).  If you get sucked in, grab a copy and keep reading. If you don’t get sucked in, don’t keep reading. Nothing is for everyone. There are some people that don’t like pizza. I don’t get it, but it happens. And the last thing I would want is someone spending even a fraction of their life not enjoying my book.
  • After you’ve read the book, follow the steps for people who’ve read the book.

That’s it. Pretty simple, right? Well, I don’t want to take up any more of your time that could be better spent spreading the word, so…

Now Available on Amazon: The Orphans

Today is a big day. Okay, that’s an understatement. It’s a HUGE day. The Orphans is available to read! (Click here  to purchase on Amazon.)

This book is not only the culmination of the twelve months of hard work and countless rewrites that it took to move the story from my mind to the page, but it’s also the first time I’ve had the chance to truly write for myself and with a bigger purpose.

On the surface, The Orphans is a fast-paced, young adult, adventure fantasy about a group of teens who find themselves up against seemingly insurmountable odds in a war to save the world. However, just below the surface is the more important story about a much more relatable battle that nearly all of us face: the inner struggle for happiness, peace, and self-love.

At an early age, we’re taught to strive and to compete against one another. We’re encouraged to determine what we want to do when we “grow up,” to plan our lives, and to constantly look forward. We’re flooded with all sorts of information to reinforce these principles: what schools are the best, what jobs make the most money, what gadgets we need to buy, and how all of these thing are going to make our lives better. And at no point along the way do we take the time to really get to know our true selves or put the premium on our personal happiness and mental well-being that they deserve.

This way of thinking is so ingrained in us and can be incredibly tough to break. For me, it took having cancer to change my course. But not everyone gets a wake-up call like that, nor would I want others to have to go through such a traumatic jolt to reach their epiphany. That is why I dedicated a year of my life to work on The Orphans. My intention is to not only entertain, but to help encourage people of all ages to consider putting their own happiness ahead of the things that society trains us to value, and to start living where life truly exists—in the moment.

I hope that you can find as much joy reading The Orphans as I found writing it.

Book Description:

It was an accident.

That was what the authorities said killed Charlie Kim’s parents. And in Charlie’s mind, that was how it had to be. An accident meant closure. An accident meant that the driven fifteen-year-old could move on, reassemble his life, and return to the carefully planned future that he had laid out for himself.

But then Charlie’s memories of his parents suddenly begin to vanish. And suspicions arise, calling the accidental nature of their deaths into question. Charlie can’t help but doubt himself and the motives of those around him…

Doubt leads to discovery. Charlie uncovers secrets that forever change his life. And thrust him and the group of teens that he is forced to unite—fellow orphans, whose parents have met similar fates—into the center of a secret battle between good and evil…

A battle dating back to the war in Heaven. A war that only Charlie and the Orphans can end. But if they hope to stand a chance against the ultimate evil, they must first overcome their own inner demons.

Writing Advice

I happened to come across a great article, which is really an excerpt from the new book Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal. It was written by Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men.  He talks about some of the ups and downs that he encountered during his career–and even before his career got started–and the number of rejections he received while trying to get Mad Men made. I highly recommend checking out the article and the book. Here is one of my favorite lines, which is incredibly relevant for anyone just getting started on a creative path:

Artists frequently hide the steps that lead to their masterpieces. They want their work and their career to be shrouded in the mystery that it all came out at once. It’s called hiding the brushstrokes, and those who do it are doing a disservice to people who admire their work and seek to emulate them. If you don’t get to see the notes, the rewrites, and the steps, it’s easy to look at a finished product and be under the illusion that it just came pouring out of someone’s head like that. People who are young, or still struggling, can get easily discouraged, because they can’t do it like they thought it was done.