The journey from wanna-be writer to a published author is a long and tedious trip, but one with adventure, learning, disappointments and triumphs. The trail is rocky and uphill, with few smooth downhill runs. I have sometimes lamented, “What in the hell possessed me?” and other times wondered, “Why haven’t I always done this?”
In my younger years, I would start writing with pen and paper, only to be discouraged by my lack of experience and maturity. Many times a book would start with ideas bombarding me at breathtaking speed, only to be lost because of my day job, responsibilities, and failing interest due to lack of concentration. It wasn’t until the advent of word processing on computers and my advancement to writing contracts and correspondence in the construction industry that the spark was again ignited and creative writing became a reality.
About the time I learned touch typing from a CD, the Internet became available to the general public. How many people started out on the Internet with AOL? I know I did and dial-up was big news. Being part of it all was exciting. It wasn’t long though that dial-up became a nightmare in slowness. High speed was the way and I became a techno nerd. I was on my way to learning computers the hard way. “Crash and burn” was a way of life with me, but after each mistake and then correction, I learned more. When a PC became part of the tools needed in the job site trailer, life was good, even when I would crash the darn thing trying to install new software. After each resurrection, I felt pride of accomplishment and wiser for the mistake.
In 1996, I wrote my first short story called Mitt Spoken Here. It was a rambling work about life, death, religion and salvation. I passed copies to family and friends but did not even think about publication. Besides, being self-published was just a dream at that time. The piece became part of the now published The Smoking Guardian Angel’s Guide To Quit Smoking. About the same time, I wrote a short piece called Why Harley-Davidson. It later became part of the published work called Why I Ride Harleys. Little did I know that ten years after writing these short works that they would become part of my first published books! I also wrote a few poems during this time and included them in the stop smoking book. I am so thankful for the foresight to save all my writing; somehow I knew these early attempts would come in handy someday.
Someone told me once that I would never find a publisher and I would never make money writing. That person should read Evil in the Mirror, because if you believe you can’t do something, you will never be able to do it. I agree that money can be a strong motivator if you are on unemployment and the wolf is at the door, but writing must be your passion long before it can become your profession. Yes, the statistics are daunting considering how many books are written each year and then compared to how many are published. In my mind the reason is simple. There are millions of people who are not writing about their passions; instead they are writing about what they think people want to read. Now this last sentence can be true about e-Books. Let’s face it; this style of writing is based on demand. That’s why people writing e-Books always research the market first and the content second. This is still creative writing, because ultimately you have to sell the reader on the book’s content.
My passion was a novel with romance, thrills, spills, and even murder. After publishing two small books, I knew it was time to get to work and write the novel that had been festering in my head for 25 years! Yes, I want to be a famous and wealthy author; but more than that, I want to finish my novel knowing it is the very best I had to offer and gives the reader value for their hard earned money.
During the process of writing Evil in the Mirror, each and every character has become real to me. I laugh, love, cry and hate right along with all the people in this book. My only fear when I started this book was that delving into the dark side of human existence would somehow rub off on my physique. It had taken me all these years to get to a place in my mind and heart that is based on the Golden Rule. Of course, my concerns were unfounded, because from the very first I identified with the main character, Detective John Mull. I am safe with him leading the way through the darkness of truly evil people.
The most important tool in getting published is recognition. If you click on the title of this blog, you will see many Web sites that pertain to my writings. I simply learned how to build Web sites and promoted them like a wild banshee. I made and am still making a ton of mistakes, but after each one, my expertise improves. When these sites became visible by climbing higher on search engines, I started getting offers from e-Book publishers concerning my two short books. My research indicated that it was best to rent space on a virtual book store for a small fee and market the books through my Web sites. My wife and I decided to spend the money for printing at a local print shop, and we had 500 copies of each book done for those buyers who would want signed copies they could carry with them. This move opened the door for local book signings and promotions. This was before signing with Wheatmark, Inc. Since then I have pulled the e-Books off the market so to speak, to be able to focus 100% on my novel.
It is important to note that during this whole process, my E-mail account started to be bombarded with get-rich-quick schemes that are only a nuisance and of no value whatsoever. My first effort to sell e-Books was with this kind of scam, and it only cost more money with every passing day. I like to call these types of offers "reverse pyramids." The first hook is that for $19.95 you will be shown how to sell their books online and make a fortune while lying on the couch in your pjs, drinking beer, and watching TV. The next day when you check to see if you have sold any books, you are told about the next step which only costs $29.95. It was at this point that a bell went off, and I licked my wounds, retreated, never to return. When I stopped participating in their program, I received cell phone calls, day and night, from people who could hardly speak English wondering why I wasn’t spending more money to become successful. The deluge lasted for months, until finally the calls stopped after I continued to hang up in the middle of their conversation!
I find the easy part is writing, but even this can be a challenge when it comes to proofing. My wonderful wife proofs everything I write, including what you are reading now. She has much experience, having worked her way to an executive position at a worldwide company, but even this is not good enough. Before you look for a publisher, your work must shine like new 50-dollar gold piece and proofing should always be done professionally! You also need a publicist to represent you and your work. Now is when it becomes nice if you know someone who is published and can help you with the challenges.
Oh, did I mention that if it were easy there would be billions of people doing it? Writers are made, not born, and it is through trial and tribulation that they become recognized. Your work must be unique to begin with if you are to compete. Passion and perseverance is the key to success in writing. Belief in yourself and your work should always be your goal. Focus on you and your story. When that is done, focus on promoting your work.
It's all up to you...I say, "Go for it!"