Sunday, September 26, 2010

When Did You Feel Finally Established as a Writer? HA!

WHEN Do You Know You've Arrived as an Author?


Quick & Dirty Answer: When Agents, Editors, Producers, and Saudi Kings are seeking you out.

But seriously.... Recently, this question was asked of me. I had to take a moment, sit, ponder before laughter erupted. When indeed does an author feel secure, feel he has arrived, feel that he has some financial security or that he can reasonably expect to feed a family?

Hell, look at me at sixty-one and I am still the grasshopper while all the ants have accumulated their wealth and wealthy lifestyles. Writing is without guarantees or benefits or retirement funds. It is why I still teach.

I could never be truly established especially as I've always gone against conventional so-called "wisdom" in a flawed and often failed business model or system. One I have my entire career railed against. If you fail to play the game of being pigeon-holed and fit snugly into the idea that you are a writer capable of only wriitng one book over and over again and remain in one category, branded by your very name, then you never reach the gold ring. But writing the same book over and over, being a man of "one book" repeated has never been an option for me, and I have paid dearly for it. Closest I came to being a franchise was my Instinct Series and even there I had to fight over and over with agent and editor that each book be a stand alone and unique in and of itself.

Never once had an argument with a reader when I went tangentially away from the modern serial killer ME FBI format of the chase to do historical novels, or to do something like Titanic 2012 with dual time periods, historical and science fiction and generational horror rolled into one. But looking back, my early Brain Stem which they turned into the lousy title Brain Watch, well it was police procedural paranormal fall in love with an OCD ghost that has taken over your body! Then dovetail with Disembodied, Aftershock, Abbadon....all disparate from one another despite paranormal, woo-woo, and horror elements, each was shockingly different and not easily categorized, and imminently Turn Downable or rejected....

As to getting a foothold in ebooks to the point of enjoying some actual income well above anything I ever saw from paper book publising, now that took about a year to get to where I am having a blast counting coup and counting books sold (or rather readers reading). When I first put the books up a year and three months ago, I had such weak sales that I decided it was all just another head banging against the wall exercise, but even if only making fifty bucks a month, then eighty, then suddenly 899. Well then I got to do a happy dance, and now, well now I groan and bitch if I make less than what I am worth just as I did in the old system. Still, it is like a retirement deal for me as I have NO damn retirement funds coming in because I was and remain pretty much an itinerent teacher....something like one of Colbert's itinerent farm workers.

So for me it took close, close onto a year for my advertising on FB, Twitter, anywhere online at NO costs to me and promo deals like contests on my blog to truly begin to see any results. But man-o-man, I never saw any results with sitting about hoping my paper publishers' efforts at PR or marketing would pay off because there were no efforts taken on behalf of my books from not one of my 8 or 9 different publishers over the past thirty years.

Nowadays, I do a better job at online free publicity gathering, PR, BSP, marketing efforts than my publishers ever did--as they were always rather busy with their Kings and Queens and Jovanovich knockoffs.

My publishers never got around to understanding what they had in hand, even when their editors did....but now I am responsible for all of it, and I love the freedom of it all. Ebooks rock and Kindle is King....in fact, Kindle can make a KING of anyone depending on the tastes of readers and what they say or fail to say. Sorry to say they do next to no Amazon reviews but hopefully more and more review outlets for ebooks will come about.

In the meantime, I will be putting up a fifth exclusive to Kinde Original full-length novel, again one too ambitious and too large for dead tree publishers, my Titanic 2012 - Curse of RMS Titanic to be launched on or around Halloween. What a launch this promises to be.


Rob Walker

http://www.robertwalkerbooks.com/ - Free opening chapters of Titanic 2012 and Children of Salem
http://www.speakwithoutinterrupton.com/

1 comment:

allanbard said...

BTW, do you use sites like zazzle.com, cafepress. com, fiverr? They could be a good way to promote your works and to help "remove" stupidity in the streets like headlines on t-shirts, fridge-magnets, cups, etc: My Boyfriend kisses Better Than Yours, FBI - female body inspector, etc. Not everything we see and think of should be about sex, right? It would be much better if there were more nice pictures of mythical creatures, good thoughts, poems from fantasy genre, etc? I'm allanbard there, I use some of my illustrations, thoughts, poems from my books (like: One can fight money only with money, Even in the hottest fire there's a bit of water, etc). Best wishes!