A writer tells what to anticipate with your First Novel.
Baring my Soul!
Author of Forty Days to Armageddon
Hi Fellow HUBBERS,
I’m going to bear my soul and reveal the trials and tribulations of bringing Watchdogg to fruition. If you are a writer, proceed, if not, go on to another HUB ‘cause this ain’t gonna be of much interest….
…. You are still here? OK—you asked for it….
When I hit retirement, I decided I was going to rest, relax, and enjoy the fruits of my labors. However, I had a reoccurring dream in which I could fly. Maybe it was floating on air. I dunno, but I had the dream so often, it got me to thinking…. Yep— I shoulda turned off my brain, but I was never very good at that. As I laid there awake each night, I tried to imagine what it would mean if a person actually discovered they could—ahhhh—LEVITATE!?!?!
Yeah—what would it mean? And what would a person do who discovered they had this unnatural ability?
Oh,oh—my imagination ran wild with ideas and soon my restful retirement was over. No more frivolous TV watching for me. Well—let’s not go that far! So I began working on a story, and I really can’t recall that I had any idea what I was doing. I really didn’t know how to write a decent sentence, not alone an entire novel. I had written some novels three decades ago, but I didn’t know what I was doing then, either. It was the kind of thing you write and then say, “Well now, that was a waste of time,” and then move on with your life.
I Read Books!
Then I made a big mistake that was destined to interrupt my life of fun in the Sun. I ran down to the library and read everything I could about writing novels and actually figured I was as good as any of them when I was done. Maybe I was deluded? Then I made another big mistake. I began to read popular books similar to what I thought I might write. I quickly discovered that these writer’s were masters of their craft—or so I thought. However after a time, I became critical—some were better than others. Maybe there was hope that I could learn the craft and join their ranks one day. Weaknesses became apparent to me; plots were weak, lots of padding, muddled middles. Sometimes there was no reason to write the book as far as I could figure. I took notes and soon calculated that I could keep up with the best of them.
I remembered my teachers always raving about my essays in junior high. My mom always came home from conferences and said, that everyone agreed that her oldest son (me) had a “gift.” So here I am, a man trying to enjoy his retirement, and then all these memories come flooding back. Did I have a gift? I was a talented musician, a fairly decent teacher, a successful businessman—was it possible that I could write too?
"Seeds from Heaven"--my first novel...
I wrote “Seeds from Heaven” and sent it to agents who were listed in the Guide to Literary Agents. The cover claims they sold 250,000 copies, so I figured there must be a lot of writers out there and the slush piles must be enormous. After receiving back a ton of rejection slips that no one wanted to read it, it became apparent that I was not going to have any luck. I didn’t feel rejected, however as no one had actually read the manuscript.
"The Gold of Mansa Musa"--my second novel...
Meanwhile I moved on and wrote an enormous novel “The Gold of Mansa Musa.” Yep, 138,000 words. It was a gut wrenching experience, but this is where I really learned to take it to another level. By the time I finished it, I was confident of my writing abilities. I did realize that no one had a style like mine. Was it good? Was it bad? I really didn’t know, but I did have a few friends who agreed to read my stuff and the reaction was good and (like the writer’s books said) the readers had valuable input such that I could make editorial changes.
Watchdogg: Somalia Retribution... my third novel...
Most notably, Jim Ryne a major critic at Amazon, agreed to read my raw manuscripts and he ended up reading everything I had at the time. I had written Watchdogg and started him with that. He said I was better than all the others. I wrote Watchdogg after I had read a shelf of political thrillers, and it was completely different than anything I had done previously. My feeling was that I wanted to write something that was solidly within a genre, and make it the better than all the rest. I calculated that finding a genre was the problem up to that point, and that Watchdogg could not be denied. The title was eventually changed to "Forty Days to Armageddon."
Platform? What the heck?
However, no one wanted to read Watchdogg either. What the heck was wrong? Looking between the lines in the Literary Guide, I suddenly saw it clearly. “Please describe your ‘platform’.” This is like saying, “Unless you are a celebrity, don’t bother sending us anything. We are the big New York Fifth Avenue boys and we must smell the money before we will pull it out of the slush.”
At this point, I knew that a novel was the wild card of writing. The chances of anything happening were nil. However, I was firmly motivated, regardless. I could write TV scripts, that I was certain. It paid a decent wage. But I was in retirement. I didn’t really want to work in that manner. My novels contained an important message that I wanted to shout to the world and still, no one was listening. At this point it did not matter; I would make it happen, with or without the blessing of the publishing insiders.
The internet solved the problem.
Amazon Publishing accepted my novel and would make it available to its Kindle customers. Apparently, I didn’t need the middlemen-agents that stood between me and the publishers. Bookstores were falling by the wayside and the internet was grabbing the sales.
I called the local TV station and the technical people told me that I could Skype to the cable stations without any problem. I didn’t want to travel and sit on panels in New York, so I can do the remote, like you see so often. The platform is in place. I’m an expert on Somalia and pirating and am knowledgeable on most any current subject.
That’s where it stands. I imagine all kinds of obstacles stand before me (there always are!), but I’m prepared to do my part to advertise my novels.
Behind all the writing is the belief that fiction is a powerful mode of communicating ideas that should be out there. Rather than writing opinion articles for the newspaper and magazines, a novel can sweep up readers dramatically and change the world and make it a better place.
No facts and figures—just an entertaining story that will change the way we see the world.
“Seeds from Heaven”—if a Third Prophet were sent from the heavens with a message to the world, what would it be? It’s a big question and it will take five novels to describe it and book one, "Lean against the Wind" is available world wide.
“Forty Days to Armageddon" is time sensitive and had to be my first published novel. The clock is ticking on this one…. I had to get it out before much of it happened in the real world. While I was waiting for agents to discover me, half the events I predicted transpired!
Where is the world headed? Can we alter the course? Is there hope? These are big questions. I must release this before the fiction becomes fact. Gas is rising. Pensions are disappearing with the wind…. Riots run rampant over the planet—the USA is watching its own destruction on the six-thirty news.
Critcal Reviews of Fantasy books by Jenny (including Lean against the Wind & Watchdogg)
Read more about “Forty Days to Armageddon” at RJ's internet site. Order the book worldwide from your favorite bookseller now available in all formats
RJ wants to thank HUBBERS for their support and encouragement in coming out with this KINDLE publication. Please stay tuned for more news on Watchdogg novels.
Here is a September 2016 Update on progress with the sales
I released an eight part children's series, The Wurtherington Diary. I had a team of artists working on it and we came up with nearly 80 books and over 400 works of art. I was warned that the children's market was poor and did it as a labor of love. I discovered that readers were interested in FREE reads at Amazon and not much more. To give you an idea I would advertise a free book and would most often get 400-600 readers and if I had a 99 cent promotion a half dozen would respond. I advertise with KND ( Kindle Nation Daily), Butterfly Books, Book Sends, and Ereader who work with large email lists. They have worked better than all others. BookBub (a million reader following) advertiser has refused all my books!
I did find that Goodreads advertising seems to bring little results although I keep the ads running all the time there. Running a give-away at Goodreads and Librarything seems to work although the readers seldom will leave a feedback. I would suggest not purchasing banner advertising anywhere!
The only hope of earning a profit is that the books would receive a lucrative movie contract.
If a prospective writer of novels asked me for advice, I would suggest that it will likely be a waste of time and money and other endeavors would very likely do much better!( I am a successful business person). I suspect that the flood of writers has turned the marketplace into chaos and the readers now regard FREE as the proper price to pay for a book. Bear in mind that you could write the greatest novel ever and it will simply sit there until it is offered for free.
Of course, this is simply my experience, and I would change nothing as the writing and the art is a creative outlet that I was compelled to do. I most likely could write steamy romance novels and my experience would be very different than what I report to you. My hope would be that others find the endeavor profitable and can report a much different outcome. Please respond and let me know your thoughts!
Take a look at my home page, http://biccomix.com/seedsfromheaven.htm and Amazon offerings Amazon Author page then the art gallery, http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/reynold-jay.html.
Mowtown2Chitown,(see a Review)