June’s Free Giveaway Monday

June’s Free Giveaway Monday is here my friends!

Since summer is in full swing, I decided to give away money in the form of a $15 Amazon gift card. Download the books you want to read this season with this prize . . .  entry is simple!


I’ll let you in on my current status in my writing process and then leave you to enter the giveaway – short and sweet!

As I said in past posts, I have received my edit back from my editor, and self-editing and revisions have begun! It will be a long grueling process to get the book how I want it, but I’m excited for the challenge.

If you missed the post about how to revise your novel, you can find it here.

smart goal setting concept

In other news, summer is here and I couldn’t be happier. The weather is gorgeous here in Yeosu, South Korea. Work is more relaxed, vacation is on the horizon, and barbecues, beach parties, and baseball games are easy to find if you know where to look. Even though I am living abroad, I am finding the same comforts I would at home. I get to travel, write, and live in a different culture every day and I am loving the adventure.


My friend Zach and I at Ungcheon Beach in Yeosu, South Korea. 

My favorite animated series is also back on TV so productivity levels will be even more erratic. If you love Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra, check out my post about Season 3: Change. I am loving the new direction this series is taking!


A thoughtful and educated villain is my favorite kind of villain.

“Instinct is a lie told by a fearful body hoping to be wrong.”  

This month, I plan to continue editing Worlds Apart: A Myth Reborn throughout the week. Then I will unwind on the weekends and try not to become a total crazy person. It is important that I find a balance throughout this process.

And now for the giveaway! Find out how to enter on my Facebook page, J. A. Merkel. The giveaway ends on Monday, June 30th at midnight (EST). Good luck!

Follow me on Twitter @jobicusmaximus Instagram @worldsaparttheseries or @jobabraham or check out my website: www.jamerkel.com



April’s Free Giveaway Monday

The next free giveaway is here, my friends!

If this is your first time here, I should tell you that free giveaway Mondays happen on the last Monday of every month until my book, Worlds Apart: A Myth Reborn, launches sometime this fall.

What is a Free Giveaway Monday, you ask?

It is a game or contest that people enter in order to win something completely free . . . from me!

Last month’s winner, Kenny Short of Seattle, Washington, won a $25 Amazon gift card. And it took him less than five minutes to enter.

This month, I tried to come up with a prize that matched the spirit of springtime and my “Author’s April Spring Cleaning” theme.

To me, spring means new beginnings, fresh smells, warmer weather, and spring cleaning—that is, cleaning out the things that make our lives old and trite, and making our new way of life sparkle and shine. Here in South Korea, that means unsubscribing from dozens of email lists and re-arranging the furniture in my one room apartment. You’d be surprised what these little changes can do for your health and well-being.

When I’m in a rut or I’m feeling lonely, I treat myself to something that brings me back to that sentiment—like buying a new set of comics, downloading a new TV series, or signing up for membership at the local gym. It’s not just for entertainment purposes. Sometimes we just need something new to bring us back to a positive mindset.

So after mulling it all over, I think I came up with a winning idea. It’s something people often don’t buy for themselves and can be full of fresh ideas and new content. And the great prize this month is . . . a year’s subscription to the magazine of the winner’s choice!



The giveaway and its instructions go live this weekend, so don’t forget to check my Facebook page for further instructions. You have until midnight on Monday, April 28th (EST) to enter.

If you want more notices about my free giveaways, subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss anything.

As Effie Trinket of the Hunger Games says:


Good luck, my friends!

Follow me on Twitter @jobicusmaximus Instagram @worldsaparttheseries or @jobabraham or check out my website: www.jamerkel.com

May’s Free Giveaway Monday will be especially exciting, so stay tuned . . .

Free Giveaway Mondays!

Let the Madness Continue

Free Giveaway Mondays 


I am writing this post for two reasons:

One – in order to give an update about my upcoming Free Giveaway on Monday, March 31st.

And two – to give some tips about keeping a level head while going through self-publishing.

Let me start with the latter.

Keeping a level head during the self-publishing process seems easy enough, right? You write your book, edit it, and then get it on Amazon, letting the sales flood your inbox. Well . . . not exactly.

Although I’m only in the midst of editing and have not made it to the promised land of Amazon, I know in my heart and from everything I’ve read that there’s much more to it than that. But I’m not writing to talk about that.

My first giveaway is called “March Madness Free Giveaway Monday” because March has been nothing but mad. And no, it has nothing to do with the frenzied March Madness college basketball tournament series currently being played out across the country. Sometimes I think of self-publishing as a very long red carpet, laid out on a beautiful staircase. You walk, or jog, or sprint up the stairs, but when you get near the top, the carpet gets pulled out from under you, and you fall, crashing hard, hitting every step on the way down, landing right back where you started. You get back up and . . . well . . . you get the point.

Until two months ago, I was a part of Facebook and LinkedIn and a few other social media sites, but Facebook was really the only one I used, and it was mainly for entertainment. Now, I’m on over 20 social media websites in order to build name recognition. I try to manage them all throughout the week, but the work is endless—and the sleep time is pretty much nonexistent.

So I came to a decision. I’m not going to allow my head to explode—although it wants to. I’m not going to let this process consume me, and I’m not going to spread myself too thin. I need to focus on the writing and developing my brand in that area, rather than trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. I believe that time will come. I’m going to sleep and eat and work and live like a normal guy. I owe it to my characters—and myself—to be fresh, alert, and functioning on all cylinders.



The nice thing is, I’m not having to go it alone during this insanity. My editor, Susan Hughes, has officially begun work on Book One of the Worlds Apart series, A Myth Reborn. She is wholeheartedly along for the ride, and I believe I got lucky in this particular area. Why? For one, because she’s funny—and not in a patronizing, know-it-all sort of way—and she will talk to me via email a dozen times a day if I need her to. It was one of her recent emails that made me realize I need to just slow down and breath. This is the only time in my life I will publish a book for the first time, so I better just enjoy the ride.

She makes me laugh, which I really need right now. As I was digging through her comments from the edit of Chapter One, I found this: “Unless he’s a member of Cirque de Soleil, he can’t possibly prop his head on his elbows.”

Of course, context is key here, but it was one of those rare moments where you don’t get the joke until the very last word. She wasn’t trying to be flashy. She wasn’t trying to be funny. That’s just how she edits; it’s who she is. And other than laugh out loud—which I rarely do—in an office full of fellow Korean co-teachers, the comment made me smile. Actually, it was the only part that made me laugh, because the rest of the marks on my manuscript proved why my editor has earned the nickname Shreditor. And it may seem like something so small, but it made a difference to me.

All this time, I’ve been trying to juggle raising my visibility, gaining more followers, and pushing myself onto all social media sites. And I believe that’s all well and good, but I can’t make myself go crazy in order to get there. Maybe it’s just the author in my blood. But I still need to eat and sleep and live during the process.

I was washing, rinsing and repeating with my work, but I forgot to do those things with myself. Like my editor, I need to be myself. I have to stop trying to do all the “writer” things social media websites and blogs tell me to do. There’s a lot of great stuff there, of course, but it can’t all be accomplished at once. Every author, indie, and self-publisher alike should take what they see as necessary and leave all the rest behind.

So, I’m going to breath and relax, and let my editor do her job, one of which isn’t being my therapist.

Now for the Free Giveaway Monday update.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Free Giveaway Mondays! … And Everything in Between, I will be hosting my first free giveaway on Monday March 31st. Here’s how it works:

  •       You can enter the giveaway from anywhere if you have a Facebook account.
  •       The giveaway will last for 48 hours, starting at midnight (EDT) on Saturday, March 29th, and ending on Monday, March 31st at midnight (EDT).
  •       Entering is simple and will take you no more than 3 minutes, and that includes logging in and out of Facebook.
  •       The winner will be chosen randomly through a generator such as the one used with Rafflecopter.com.
  •       On Saturday at midnight, the official event will be posted on my Worlds Apart page, with all the information needed to enter, including what the free giveaway will be.
  •       For this giveaway, there will be only one winner.

Don’t forget to check my Facebook page on Sunday and Monday for a chance to win! Too busy to keep track of stuff like this? Why not sign up for email updates? I promise they won’t be spammy! They’ll remind you about giveaways, Worlds Apart updates, and other information you, the reader or writer, might find useful!

I’m going to go eat a Reece’s Peanut Butter cup (they don’t have them in Korea) that my aunt sent me, savoring the last few packs I have left 🙂

See you all in a few days!

Free Giveaway Mondays! And Everything in Between

You read that correctly—“Free Giveaway Mondays.” If you’ve been following along with what I’m doing, then you already know I’m publishing my first e-book, Worlds Apart: A Myth Reborn as soon as its ready. I am excited in a way that words can’t explain. And before I enlighten you on what my Free Giveaway Mondays will entail, let me tell you a bit more about where I am in the publishing process. It’s been a while since I’ve shared an update.

The Book: On the Inside

A Myth Reborn, the first installment of the Worlds Apart series, will officially fall into the hands of my very capable editor, Susan Hughes (aka Shreditor), on Monday, March 24th, 2014. Susan is a freelance editor, experienced in both substantive editing and copyediting, and has edited for many writers including Richard Stephenson, author of Collapse and Resistance, the first two books of the New America series. If you are into seeing what the fall of America might look like in 2027, and you enjoy dystopian thrillers, check out his books here: rastephensonauthor.blogspot.kr

Throughout the next few weeks, Susan and I will hash out our grievances with Book One as best we can. I’m placing a lot of trust in her, and I am confident I made the right decision. I truly believe we will make a great team!

But the inside of a book is only part of the story. It is true that people WILL judge a book by its cover.

The Book: On the Outside

The cover art for A Myth Reborn is already underway. Stephanie Mooney of mooneydesigns.net makes some killer designs. If you need some cover art, web design, or graphic design (among other things), check her out! She’s young, energetic, and good at what she does. Here are some covers she has designed that I especially like.


Stephanie and I are working on a custom design, which will be revealed in the following months.

If all the work dealing with self-publishing revolved only around the e-book or paperback itself, my life would be twice as easy. But there’s a huge aspect of the publishing process that cannot be ignored.

The Marketing

As a self-published/indie author, this is perhaps the most difficult phase of my journey. I don’t have a traditional publishing house to help promote my book, set up book signing events, or suggest ideas that will boost my visibility. The writing, publishing, and marketing aspects of my book all fall on me. But I’m not complaining. It took me a long time to decide, but I believe self-publishing is the right path for me.

My website www.jamerkel.com is up and running; however, maintenance continues day by day. There’s an email sign-up on my website, but you’ll find this form easier to use for the time being. So subscribe to my newsletter if you want to be included in the Free Giveaway Mondays. Not only that, keep up-to-date on news and information on all things Worlds Apart!

Yes, subscribing to email newsletters can be annoying and intrusive, but I promise there’s something good in this for you. Rather than relying on your memory or random Facebook sign-ins for something free, why not sign up for an email newsletter that will remind you exactly when something is happening? Facebook,  Twitter, and many other social media websites are passive. You can log in, sift through whatever you want, and leave without really finding anything valuable.

Email, however, is active. If you receive an email about a free giveaway, a deal on those United miles you’ve been wanting, or a free e-book from an author you can’t resist reading, you can do one of two things… no wait, three things…

  1. You see the email, open it, read it, and delete it.
  2. You see the email, decide the information is useful to you, save it for later, get what you want from it and then delete it.
  3. You don’t see or read the email at all. Okay, so you’re not an email person. My college roomate was like this. He once had over 1,500 unopened emails.

Excluding number 3, numbers 1 and 2 require a call to action. That’s why the email sign-up is good for the free giveaways. You can save the email and check back later, because you never know what free prizes and gifts you might be missing!

And without further ado, I would like to share with you my “Free Giveaway Mondays.”

The Giveaways

With publication of Worlds Apart coming this fall, I have decided to hold a Free Giveaway Monday on the last Monday of every month. I want to do this for two reasons. First, I believe the anticipation will make the contests more interesting and give my audience something to look forward to. Second, with 6 or 7 months standing between me and publication, it means that more thought will go into the prizes, and they will be more worthwhile for you! Prizes will range from gift cards, to select merchandise, to promotional material, to both e-books and paperback books alike. So stay tuned!

Each month, I will post the giveaway/contest details 48 hours in advance and will sometimes even release teasers for certain contests. In my contest description, I will let you know what the prize is, what you need to do to compete, and when the contest ends. On occasion, there will be more than one prize and more than one winner! On March 31st, I will hold my first giveaway.

The contest will begin Saturday, March 28th at 24:00 – that’s midnight (Eastern Time Zone, UTC-05:00) and will end Monday, March 31st at 24:00 – midnight again (Eastern Time Zone, UTC-05:00).

With everything going on—the editing, book design, website, and book marketing/social media research—I’ve never had a more hectic, chaotic, mad month in my life. I’ll spare you the details but this is no exaggeration. So in commemoration, this month’s contest will be called “March Madness Free Giveaway Monday.” The first prize is a $25 Amazon gift card. Check out the link on March 28th at midnight (Eastern Time) on my Facebook page, Worlds Apart, for the Rafflecopter contest details. The email sign up link is also on my page and here as well.


I hope you’re as excited as I am. Spread the word, have a good time, and make the last Monday of every month a “Free Giveaway Monday.”

If you’ve done a giveaway before, want to do one, or have any questions about anything here, feel free to comment!