Check out the prologue to "Alone In The Light" by clicking here

An excerpt from: Alone In The Light

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Where Can You Buy Alone In The Light?

In a fictional conversation I've had with thousands of people, I am constantly asked, "Hey, Benjamin, where can I, your adoring fan, buy a copy of your book?"

I'm glad you asked!

Let me break it down for you as it stands now:

Signed Copies:
If you are feeling extra-awesome, you can email me at for a signed copy. If you require it shipped to you, the cost will be $20 via paypal (this includes shipping via USPS priority mail). If you live in the area and just want to meet up for drinks, it'll be $15.

Standard eBook and Paperback:
Currently you can buy both versions of my book (eBook and Paperback) are available over on Amazon.

Both versions are also available to order through Barnes & Noble!

But wait! There's more!

My book, Alone In The Light, was published through Amazon as well as IngramSpark. This means you can have your local library or bookstore order a copy for you through IngramSpark's direct publishing office.

Which is pretty cool.

This also means you can go into a retailer, such as Barnes & Noble or Joseph-Beth, and have a copy ordered for you to pick up in their store! It's a pretty nifty deal in my opinion.

In theory, once all the hoops have been jumped through, the "T's have all been dotted, and the "I"s have all been crossed, this will be available through more outlets such as Apple's iBooks and Wal*Mart's online store. So, if you hate Amazon or just have a strong hankering to support your local Wal*Mart, you can head over to their website, search for my name, and BAM! book.

I will update the links on this page as they become available across the various places. In the meantime, if you've read my book and liked it, please leave a review!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Pre-Launch Anxiety

Happy Thursday, everyone!

In five short days, my book will go live. Which is awesome and terrifying at the same time. It's awesome because, well, shit... I wrote a book. It's terrifying because, well, shit... I wrote a book and people might read it.

This is where we all talk about imposter syndrome, right? Right.

It's that feeling that you and what you've created are crap. It's like you're just hanging out near the "big kids' table" at dinner pretending to be one when, in reality, you're still a kid wearing too much cologne trying to talk about politics with your Aunt Barbara and you have no idea what you're doing. Then you worry that one of the real big kids is going to overhear you, put you in your place, and make you feel awful about existing.

That's where I am right now.

I've never written a book. I've only ever been published once... ironically, it was the short story that then grew to become Alone In The Light. And it was under the same name back in... 2005 I think?  It was the Canvas Creative Arts Magazine at Indiana University. Not a huge publication, but it was nice for me to see my words in printed form.

But now... sheesh. I'm about to show potentially tens of people a work that is 330 pages of my inane ramblings. Okay, not ramblings, but my thoughts jotted down on the page. And I think my big fear isn't if people will like it or not like it... but what if they nothing it? What if they finish it and are just "meh" about the entire thing. I think that would be the worst.

Another fear is that people will go into this thinking it's a war story. It's not. It's a homecoming story. It's about coming back home to find your favorite things no longer feel or fit the way they should. It's about closing off from the people you love and the things you love to do... and it's about trying to overcome that through drinking. Which, minor spoiler, doesn't work that well.

This story comes from my many nights of sitting on my couch, smoking cigarettes, watching Stargate SG-1 reruns until 2am, and drinking a lot of alcohol trying to get certain things and images out of my head. This story comes from the idea of thinking college was the greatest thing in the world, but after going to Iraq everything seemed muted. It was like the color was sucked out of the world and I didn't know why... or how to deal with it. I came home and practically RAN back to college without giving myself time to adjust. For better or worse, it has worked out for me in the long run. I love where I've ended up in life. I love my wife and kids. I love our house. I love our neighborhood... I hate my commute, but that's a different story.

So... here we are. Five days away from having people potentially read my story, and I almost want to call the whole thing off.

Am I alone in this anxiety? Or am I just another in the long line of wannabe writers trying to sit at the big kids' table and not knowing if I'm ready or even able to pull up a chair?

I guess we'll know soon enough.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

So, You've Written A Book... Now What?

We're finally approaching the release of Alone In The Light. And I am immeasurably grateful for this. It's taken a little longer to get here than I'd hoped, but then again, I am an impatient sonofabitch. I like things now. Like NOW now. I hate waiting.

But, as I am learning, waiting is good. It allows you to step back and see things as a whole.

When I first started this thing, I was throwing it out to people asking them to read it, only to send them a newer, updated version a week later. Then another newer, updated version the week after that. I craved feedback that I wasn't just mentally jerking off - for lack of a better term - and I wanted to know that this would be mildly well-received. Based on initial readings and feedback, I hope that it is and people aren't just blowing smoke up my ass.

Writing a story is easy... sort of. You have an idea, and you write it down. It's the whole "step one" in the process. But then comes the rewriting, the editing, the formatting, the "making sure it isn't a flaming pile of random thoughts," and so on. Finally ending on, "is this any good?"

I think so.

I like my story.

I like Alone In The Light, and I think that is what is really important. Would I like it if other people liked it as well - you bet your ass. But I'm willing to be okay with the idea that this story is something that I'm proud of regardless of audience reception.

Josh and Mary are both very relatable people. They're both flawed. They're both trying to make sense of life. Hell, everyone is flawed. Mary's mom, Sharon, is terribly flawed - but not to the point of being a cliché or trope. Her flaws are based in reality. And that reality is something I've had in my own life. I don't want to give anything

Much of this work, while being fiction, is rooted in my life. I'd like that say that 40% or more of Alone In The Light is taken from the History of Benjamin Bass's life. I struggled for years with "self-medication" and drinking. I was sullen and angry. I ignored the people who cared about me in favor of being an ill-tempered asshole sitting alone in my apartment... And I think that comes across in Josh Carpenter's post-deployment attitude quite well.

In addition Social media didn't exist in 2005 - at least not like it is today. Smart phones weren't a thing yet - you'll not that both Josh and Mary have flip-phones.... Man, I remember when "" came to IU. It was around this time, but it wasn't widespread then... this story would be very different in 2011 or 2019. We've become so dependent on smart technology and social media that it's almost impossible to remember life before it... but I remember. I remember just how easy it was to shut out the world and hide in my apartment... And I didn't have to post selfies or anything to prove I was alive and well...

Researching this, I've taken a lot time to look over the statistics of PTSD, TBI, and amputations throughout the timeline of OIF, OEF, and various other military campaigns... and one of the reasons this is set in 2005, aside from coinciding with my own life, is that I try to shed some light on the VA and U.S. government's lack of preparedness in dealing with these things.

I remember early visits to the VA when I came home in '04 and '05... and I remember the drastic change in patients that followed soon after. In the early years it was me and a few other younger soldiers with dozens of WWII and Vietnam era vets. They would look at us as an oddity. Then, as our numbers increased - we were sort of looked on with a knowing look of sadness and acceptance by the older vets. In '04 there was only, on average, one amputee per state in the union... that number grew every year, almost, since then. Now it's almost commonplace to see prosthetics.

So - that's that. I've written my story. It's being formatted right now... and in a week, it should be out to the masses to critique and pick-over. I hope it goes over well. I hope people enjoy the story. I hope people realize that not all wounds are visible. And not everyone who says they're "fine" is actually fine.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Marketing... sucks.

As a friend of mine told me today, "Marketing sucks."

And it's true. It sucks. Especially self-marketing.

Where do you draw the line between a few gentle reminders to "please buy my book!" and "I'M ANNOYING THE SHIT OUT OF YOU WITH POSTS AND UPDATES BECAUSE I WANT TO SELL MORE THAN 10 COPIES!" ??

Not asking for a friend. I'm asking this for myself.

It's hard to bust through all the chatter out there and actually make yourself noticed. Doubly so when you're trying to NOT be intrusive about it. Auto-DMs get you unfollowed or blocked. Random links to your amazon page go ignored with a simple "like" and then you're left where you started. Topping out at a handful of sales with no big firm behind you to help carry the financial burden.

Just like many indie-pub authors, I don't have much of a marketing budget. So I can't go around relying on ads from amazon or Facebook. I've found limited success in engagement through targeted ads on Facebook... but not a lot. Word of mouth will probably be my best asset - and that relies heavily on the first few people reading my book to like it enough to tell someone else.

Right now, my marketing plan is an 8-step process:

1: Facebook page with some paid ads.
2: My twitter account with occasional posts  - but as we all know, people tend to gloss over these as they're scrolling when it becomes clear the post isn't a meme.
3: A twitter account for my book. From here I can pin tweets, make posts, and possible sell an ad or two via twitter. This should, in theory, prevent my main account from being muted or blocked, while giving me a chance to put out new content.
4: Rely on friends and family to help RT and post links to my book when it goes live.
5: Prayer?
6: Hope REALLY hard that my book is good and people will just buy it.
7: Randomly tackle people on the street, force a copy of my book into their hand, and take $20 from their wallets.
8: Try to engage as many people on Facebook and Twitter as I can in hopes that some of them click the link to my amazon page out of pity.

***Contingency plan consists of duct-taping my book to cases of beer and selling it that way.

And that's about it. I think.

I am welcome and open to suggestions. I have about $100 to use for ads which, as we all know, isn't very much when it comes to this stuff.

How about you? How do YOU market your stuff?