Category Archives: Bitter Tea and Braided Hair

How Hard Is It to Sell a Short Story Collection In U.S.

So how hard is it to sell a short story collection in U.S.? Pretty damn hard, I will tell you that.

It’s a catch 22. No publisher will do your collection, unless you are super well-established. But if you are well-established, you probably won’t have time to write short stories. You’d be going for the kills — big 300-plus page novels and series of novels.

What about self-publishing? Well, the publishing part is super easy; especially when you have your short stories previously all published in magazines. That’s what I did with eight of my short stories that have been previously published in various magazines and of which the rights have reverted to me.

But the selling is hard. Bottom line is: very few people in this country read short stories for entertainment. When is that last time you spotted a trade paperback version of a short story collection in the racks of Walgreens?

To add insult to injury, most book promoters out there openly discriminate against the short form. BookBub, one of the tricksters that promote indie books available in Kindle store, openly rejects anything short of 50K words. It’s the portion of the meal that matters, not the meal itself.

By this Draconian “Size does matter” rule, BookBub would not even consider promoting Books like “Catcher in the Rye,” which has a word count barely at the 50K mark, let alone “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” of which the word count falls in between 20K to 30K.

So if Anton Chehkov or Guy de Maupassant were still alive today, they probably can’t sell their short stories either. They would be forced to write novels. Since they are not good with the long forms, they would just starve.

Or they could do it like me: self-publish their works. They could also be as lucky as me, and have some Amazon Top Ranking Reviewers look at the works and give them due credit.

Today, J. Chambers, who wears a “AMAZON TOP 50 REVIEWER” badge as well as a “REAL NAME” badge, gave my short story collection “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair” a 4-star! J (short for Jim) also wrote a heart-warming review, which I consider not only an encouragement for me alone, but all writers who are fond of the short form. The title of his review says: “The art of the short story is still alive!”

You can find his review here: http://amzn.to/120UVoe.

Simply put, people, it’s not the size of the burger that matter, it’s what the chef puts in it. The small ones could have truffles and Kobe’s in them; while the giant ones tend to be made from frozen patties, government cheese and industrially ripened tomatoes.

When a good story is presented in the short form, the author is respecting the readers’ intelligence. He or she has left the obvious unsaid. When the same concept is stretched, battered and deep fried and then coated with powder sugar and served with sides of mashed and Cajun fries, the author is underestimating the readers’ intelligence.

 

 

“If You’re in the Mood for a Bit of Literary Fiction to Read with a Glass of Nice Wine”

“Little Tales that Sizzle in the Mind.” — Grady Harp, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

“A truly beautiful piece of short fiction…This collect is well worth picking up if you’re in the mood for a bit of literary fiction to read with a glass of nice wine.” — Alain Gomez, Book Brouhaha

“My fave of this bunch was Bitter Tea and Braided Hair. Short and very much to-the-point. A vignette of a terrible reality. Most affecting.” — Graeme Dunlop, PseudoPod

Are you a globe-trotter?
Are you inquisitive and sensitive to foreign cultures?
Are you an Aisn American?
Are you an ABC (American born Chinese)?
Do you like mainstream literary fiction with some fantastical twist?
Or, simply, do you like short stories?

If you can answer yes to any of the above, chances are that you will find something in my short fiction “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair” that can truly delight you.

Grady Harp, an Amazon Top 50 Reviewer and Hall of Fame Reviewer calls the book “Little Tales that Sizzle in the Mind”, Alain Gomez from Book Brouhaha says, “This collect is well worth picking up if you’re in the mood for a bit of literary fiction to read with a glass of nice wine.” She’s particularly fond of “My Mother’s Shadow” and calls it “a truly beautiful piece of short fiction.”

After reading the above short introduction, if you feel like reading the book, I’m sure we have something in common. And I want the voice of people like us to be heard.

How? You may ask. My answer? — by posting your optinions about this book on Amazon. Currently, the book is on a 99¢ special. But it is OK if you do not want to spend the 99¢ or cannot afford to spend the 99¢, just send me your PayPal email to my email at “eigh.com” (without the quote) at gmail dot com. Or you can find a way to direct message me your PayPal email via Facebook or Twitter.

You’ll enjoy it, you have my word.

Sincerely
M. Eigh

Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Reviewer, Gives “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair” a 5-Star

“Little Tales that Sizzle in the Min.” — Grady Harp, Amazon 38th Ranking Top Reviewer, on Bitter Tea and Braided Hair

On June 9, 2013, Grady Harp, an Amazon top ranking reviewer who wears many badges of honor including TOP 50 REVIEWER, VINE™ VOICE, HALL OF FAME REVIEWER and REAL NAME™, posted a review on Amazon for my short fiction collection, “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair.” The review can be found here: http://amzn.to/ZEGnyc.

Here’s what Grady said about the book, quoted verbatim as follows:

BITTER TEAR AND BRAIDED HAIR is a collection of short stories that serves to introduce many of us to a writer a=of significant gifts. He is able in a very brief time to gain our empathy for his characters, such as the half Chinese half Tibetan young man of the title story who falls in love with a Tibetan girl and just as quickly loses everything. In MY MOTHER’S SHADOW our main character is a first grade child who notices he has no shadow, discovers that this is a curse from God, and walks with his mother who has a shadow to the prison where his also shadowless father is held: his mother and the boy bear the spite of the town when it seems to everyone that each time they visit the prison and bring home an `uncle’ (a doomed shadowless man) causing the rumor that his mother is a prostitute.

Or take the case of OSCAR’S EXTRAORDINARY LIFE, PLANNED we meet an in utero fetus that can hear and think about everything that is happening outside his mother womb – even the sexual liaisons she has which put a question as to the fetus’ origin! In DEAR TERESA a young lad in the year 1979 attends school but also listens to his shortwave radio for English 900 and learns of a radio personality Sister Teresa, becomes a fan, communicates with her Letter to Teresa project, and makes portraits of her – only to find that his gift for pictures creates dissension among his friends. THE MANCHURIAN EXPRESS is a comical story that has at its core the dissolution of the Mao-style communism of China, but the style of A EULOGY FOR EDWIN BOGARDUS tops even that as we learn about the life of a man who died from an overdoes effect of Viagra!

In all, this is a fine group of imaginative fiction that spreads across the world from China to the US. The only thing we discover about the author M. Eigh who attended China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, is a highly published Chinese poet, and is a man with considerable talent. His next move should be a novella and then a novel to see if his imagination can sustain through a book long story. It would also be interesting to read translations of his poetry. But a helpful hint to this writer: secure the guidance of a good editor to extract the spelling and grammar errors next time round, because you are just too fine to let skips get into your work! Grady Harp, June 13.

Book Brouhaha Gives “My Mother’s Shadow” a 4-Star Rating!

Alain Gomez, at Book Brouhaha, is not known for disbursing charitable book reviews. To her credit, she gives out 4-star ratings grudgingly. To obtain a 5-star rating, the story has to be “absolutely life changing.” In the crass and philistine world we live in where a huge conspiracy “professional book review” industry is thriving on the sweat and blood, measly book royalty indie writers are eking out, or hoping to eke out, Alain does not charge a penny to review a submitted book. But I have to warn you: the waiting list is long and in my particular case, my book sat in her pipeline for about 12 months.

IMHO, Book Brouhaha could charge some fee for an expedited review for authors who’re in a hurry to get a professional review on their books, without compromising its editorial integrity. A paid author can still get a 1-star rating on his/her book, if it really sucks. An unpaid author can still get a 5-star, if his or her book gives the reviewers at Book Brouhaha a “life changing” experience.

Book Brouhaha‘s free book review policies are listed here: http://bookbrouhaha.blogspot.com/p/review-policies.html.

Here’s what Alain said about my short fiction collection “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair:”

(My Mother’s Shadow is) a truly beautiful piece of short fiction. What it lacks in action it makes up for in literary depth. There are a lot of layers to this story, each interesting enough to mull over for some time.

I was impressed with how easily M. Eigh introduces his racist world. In just a few short paragraphs that contain no blatant description you understand the conflict and empathize with the characters. I appreciated the symbolic use of shadows. It was a clever literary reference to other literary references.

I only wish there was a little more emotion attached to the mother. This story is told from the point of view of a young child. But I felt these innocent emotions could have been more balanced. I was sympathetic with the mother’s cause more than the mother herself.

All in all, though, an excellent piece. This collect is well worth picking up if you’re in the mood for a bit of literary fiction to read with a glass of nice wine. — stars-4-0 Alain Gomez, Book Brouhaha

You can find Book Brouhaha’s review on “My Mother’s Shadow” by clicking on Alain’s picture:

book_brouhaha_reviews_a_book_by_m_eigh

US Senators Refuse to Give China Face

Influential US senators have showed their support in a provision that grants 5,000 visa to Tibetan refuges living in India and Nepal. This provision will be included as an amendment in the landmark immigration reform bill still under debate. The amendment, offered by Senator Dianne Feinstein and cosponsored by Chairman Patrick Leahy and Senator Chuck Schumer, was approved by voice vote and included in the immigration reform bill currently under consideration in the US Senate.

This is more or less a slap across China’s face; and the timing is adding insult to an injury as China’s newly installed President Xi Jinping is scheduled to meet President Obama in a couple of weeks at the Leonore Annenberg estate in California. In fact, slapping China across the face for the sake of Tibet may have been the senators’ intention. As republican Senator Chuck Grassley put it, “On this issue I don’t mind irritating China,” according to a GlobaPost report. (See details here.)

This is more or less a direct reaction to about 110 Tibetans losing their lives to self-immolation in protest of Chinese rule since 2009. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been accused by the Chinese government for encouraging self-immolation. At the same time, the Dalai Lama has not called upon his people to stop such self-sacrifice, though many believe that he has the power to stop it. Washington Post’s columnist Sally Quinn has recently peeled open the complexity of this issue in her opinion piece titled “The Dalai Lama’s compassion disconnect.”

Self-immolation weighs heavy on everyone’s mind. It’s just such a horrific scene to behold, such a gruesome tale to regale. In the title story of my short fiction collection, “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair,” I made a valiant attempt to depict one such incident. And apparently it’s done a good job telling a difficult story, because multiple online ezines have re-printed it and it has also been turned into a Podcast. You owe yourself to check it out:

Ironically, even with such affirmative advantage, we will see far fewer Tibetan immigrate to US than Chinese. First off, compared to the Tibetans, there is a much larger Chinese diaspora population in US which sponsors far more legal Chinese immigrants than Tibetan ones. Secondly, swarms of rich Chinese are buying their way into US.

Each year, the US Congress grants 12,000 permanent green cards to foreigners who invest a minimum of $500,000 in US, in a business that creates no less than 10 new jobs. In the fiscal year of 2012, the US issued roughly 8500 such millionaire-investor visas. Guess what? 80% of those were given to investors from China. The Chinese are picking up these green cards like you and I are picking up a chicken salad sandwich from our local deli. It has gotten to such crazy level that the US congress has been talking about capping the visas given to Chinese millionaires with a “China quota.”

You can find this and other fascinating stories about China in my book “Revolution Is a Dinner Party — Rogue Pluralism in China.”

Free Book on Amazon: The Cicada Survival Guide

promo


Any day now, billions of winged insects will rise up and swarm over the entire East Coast? Are we ready?

Troma is ready for us. She’s been underground for 17 years, while inside of her a deadly virus is slowly turning this queen cicada into a cannibalistic mastermind with one goal: To infect the human race.

It’s them against us in this fun sci-fi novella, which also includes the adventures of a CIA agent, Russian counterspy and unlucky FBI officer as they battle the swarm. Recipes are included for those inclined to culinary adventure.

Thank you for your consideration. Info about the book is here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CNKZ0GO.

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About the author:

M. Eigh was born in China and, before getting an MBA, he received a BSc from China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, where most modern day Chinese ruling elites obtain their academic pedigree. But the alma mater is about the only thing he has in common with the techno-dictators of today’s China.

In his younger days, M. Eigh was a published poet in Chinese; at the age of fifteen, he won the first-place award in a prefecture-wide youth literature competition. He can be found at http://m.eigh.com.

He’s on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/by.m.eigh.

He tweets at: https://twitter.com/m_eigh

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Readers say:

“This author wrote an excellent novella in a unique way.”

“creepy fun with spy overtones.”

“I survived, and I want to read more!”

“Gripping plot!”

“Such an interesting story.”

“Waiting For Part 2 & 3, If Available…”

Charity Starts from a Deep Pocket

In his 2010 People’s Choice Awards acceptance speech, Keith Urban blared out: “I don’t even care if you guys download my music illegally. I really don’t care. …”

At the time when I heard it on TV, I was quite impressed. After all, what connects him and his fans or audience is the music they all love. He was extending his charity to people on the worng side of the moral divide, to people who stole from him. It’s noblesse oblige.

It also reflected wisdom. After all, people who are hell-bent to steal will steal. People who can’t afford to pay have to steal. There are also people who can afford to buy, but given the chance to steal, may opt to steal. Sometimes, you just have to turn a blind eye on things. You can’t take what what’s right and what’s wrong too seriously. There is an ancient Chinese saying: If a body of water is purified, no fish can survive in it; if a man is morally viglant to the extreme, he has no firends. Keith Urban’s got it. Or as the buddhists may put it: he has seen it through.

It all sounded good to me, until today. I googled my own name “M. Eigh” this morning and a dozen piracy sites popped up, offering torrents(peer-hosted free downloads) of my books. “The Cicada Survival Guide,” “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair” and “Revolution Is a Dinner Party — Rogue Pluralism in China” are all in the offer. That’s when I realized that Keith Urban’s nonchalance comes at a steep sticker price. And when it is you who have to pay that price, it is not easy to feel as charitable as Mr. Keith Urban.

I’m not a rich man. Far from it. I could use the sales that have been lost to those free download. On the other hand, some of those who download my books free are from China, where a mere $2.99 translates to about ¥20 which is more than what a regular trade paperback book costs in China. Plus, due to government censorship, these books are not available in regular online market places like Amazon. And yet plus again, most Chinese do not have a foreign bank issued credit card and are not able to pay for foreign online purchases. Those are people who would never buy my books. For what it is worth, I am mighty glad that they get a chance to download and read them.

Against this backdrop, I’ve come to appreciate more the $0.99 or $2.99 they spent on my books. When they buy a book by M. Eigh, they are not only engaging in a generous act, but also a righteous one. To those who have ever purchased my books (the ebooks online and the paperbacks in Metro stations and parks,) I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Check out my humble Amazon author page when you get a chance: http://www.amazon.com/author/meigh