You don’t have to be crazy, but it helps.
February 17, 2014
My recent guest blogger was Stephen Woodfin, a lawyer from East Texas who has found the light and became a full-fledged, cannot put down the pen, writer. He has published a number of top-notch books, some I’ve blogged about, some I’ve reviewed, and all I’ve enjoyed. Here is Woodfin on being a writer.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I embarked on my writing career about the time the world changed.
I am referring to the digital revolution, the single greatest transformation of publishing since the invention of the printing press.
I had played with the notion of writing a novel for many years, started several books and laid them aside, hoping one day to return to them. But it was not until five years or so ago that I decided the time had come to fish or cut bait.
In July of 2009, I finished the first draft of my first novel, sat back in my writing chair and looked around.
What I found was a landscape unlike anything I had imagined. A strange new creation called an eBook had charged onto the scene. It was in its infancy, representing only a tiny fraction of the book market.
It looked like the future.
Soon my research led me to believe that eBooks would set the book world on its head.
About that same time another creature sprang into being.
The smart phone.
Now, for the first time, people held a device in the palm of their hands that could access the Internet anywhere, anytime.
Almost before the ink was dry on my first manuscript, I learned of Amazon’s program called Kindle Direct Publishing (“KDP”).
First, let me say that I had followed the traditional route before I learned about KDP. I acquired an agent, and she submitted my first book to a major publisher. I continued to write, as she instructed me, sending her books two and three in a trilogy. She submitted those three books to four major houses.
I never received a rejection, a contract or anything in between.
What I got from the major publishers was silence.
Almost two years of it.
Like I said, in the interim I had learned about KDP.
I contacted my agent and asked her to release my books back to me.
She agreed, although she wanted me to send her more books as I wrote them.
I never sent her any more books.
I kept writing, and I decided to become an Indie author.
Indie authors are not self-published.
Rather they are writers who wear the hats of author and publisher.
This means that they accept control of their books and put together a team that performs the tasks usually provided by a publishing house. Indie authors search for and hire editors, acquire first-rate covers for their books, and handle their promotion and marketing.
Here’s where it really gets crazy.
The digital revolution also brought with it social media.
Social media present an opportunity for an Indie to get the word out about himself at little or no cost.
That’s if a person’s time doesn’t enter the equation.
Social media require an enormous outlay of time.
First a writer must build a webpage, then he must blog, then he must learn how to use FB and Twitter and whatever else comes along.
Did I mention that this takes a lot of time?
Did I mention that building a brand for an author is just like building any other business? It takes hours and hours and hours of work.
I met Caleb Pirtle, another crazy Indie author. We threw in together and formed a company called Caleb and Linda Pirtle.
We blogged and tweeted and blogged and tweeted and wrote serial fiction and blogged and tweeted.
We learned how to format eBooks and put them up for sale on all the major Internet book seller sites.
We kept plugging away at it, day in and day out.
People found their way to our site.
We blogged and tweeted.
We heard about audiobooks and how they were the fastest developing part of the book market.
I set up a recording studio in my office and began narrating audiobooks.
We blogged and tweeted.
We’re still blogging and tweeting and writing serial fiction and creating audiobooks.
And step by step we’re learning how to sell a few of them.
Thank God my wife doesn’t mind being married to a crazy person.
These days she doesn’t even ask what I do all day pursuing this crazy writing gig.
Bless her heart.
Jim: Thanks Stephen. It’s good to know that we are not alone. There are other crazy people around. Guys, leave Stephen a comment if you have a moment, please click the book cover image to read more about Stephen and his novels.