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Hi, folks. DA here again…and it looks like I’m about to climb the old soapbox, once again. I think I’m going to go on a bit of a rant, here. There are some things that need to be said…both about the writing industry and about my own personal career as a writer…and I plan to let it all out. Bear with me.
I’m going to go after a subject that might make me a little unpopular in some circles. I debated not even opening this can of worms, but I decided to not shy away from it. This is a problem that I’ve observed and experienced on a personal level. The sad thing is that there are other writers out there who seem to delight in tearing you down. They will go after you, your work and your reputation. Why? Well, that’s a tricky one. I’m not really sure why they would do it. To me, that’s beyond reprehensible. It’s just plain wrong.
For the most part, the writers and authors I’ve met have been amazing people who want nothing more than to share their work with the world. That’s awesome. That’s what we should want to do. For those of you, who have been so good to me and to each other, thank you. This isn’t intended to be about any of you. This is only a very small percentage of the community. I won’t bother pointing out who they are…we all know at least one. If this bothers you, maybe you should re-examine the way you treat other writers. If it doesn’t apply to you, then it’s not about you. I didn’t intend to single anyone out. We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. The thing is, do we keep doing those things….or do we try to do better and be better than we ever thought we could be? I just hope that by bringing this up, we can call enough attention to this to make it stop. Authors have enough stress to handle without being bullied by other authors.
First, the personal stuff.
I have not, nor will I name names when it comes to who has done what and to whom. That’s not my style. The people who have done these things know who they are and we’ll leave it at that. Karma can handle it. Taking potshots at me in a public forum is their style…not mine. So, I won’t dignify their existence with a name. Suffice it to say that I once thought of them as a friend…not just someone I knew from Facebook. No, I knew this person for years.
Not only did they do the unthinkable as a writer…stole from me…then they had the audacity to go onto a forum where they knew I wouldn’t see it and bash me to their new circle of friends. To me, that shows the true character of a person. If I have a problem with you, you’ll know it. You won’t hear about it second hand. They acted dishonorably, despicably and cowardly; that’s the only way to describe what they did. I won’t say anything behind you that I won’t say to your face. I’ll either stand by my word…or fall by it. That’s just me.
If you know me, you know I will bend over backwards to help someone. I did for this person, too. I got them interviews on radio shows, tried to help them with marketing, even warned them about the bad experiences I had so that they wouldn’t have to go through them on their own. The reward I get is to be ran through the mud and slandered; all to “get ahead” of me in their writing career. Watch your back, people. If they stepped on me to get what they wanted, don’t think that they will hesitate to step on you. After all, that’s the kind of person they are.
Listen to my interviews on Blogtalk Radio or check out my pages. I constantly tell new writers that if they want to ask me anything, shoot me a message. I mean that. I firmly believe that by helping other writers to achieve their dreams that we help ourselves, too. I will gladly offer advice, tips or even share information with anyone who asks. Even if all I can serve as is a bad example, there’s a lesson to be learned. I know that I’ve gotten some amazing help and advice from some incredible authors along my journey. The least I can do is pay it forward.
There are far too many people out there who seem to think that they only become successful as a writer by stepping on the competition. They will steal, lie, post nasty comments on your book reviews, bash you in social media and anything else they can think of to make themselves look better by tearing you down. This is just insane. I can’t fathom why people do this, but they do. The truly horrifying part is that it is becoming more and more commonplace.
I saw just the other day on Facebook that an author was going to quit publishing his work and yank all of his current titles from print. All because someone has been bullying them, saying that their writing is derivative, they shouldn’t be allowed to publish, and worse. All I can say is, “Why?” Why do that to another writer. So, you don’t like their work. That’s fine. Don’t buy it. But it’s not up to you to decide who can and can’t publish. By bashing that person until they were ready to quit writing entirely, all you’ve done is shown the rest of us that you’re a thug.
The author who has been bullied won’t name the person who did it, but I wish he would. Frankly, I’d make damned certain that I never buy one of their books. That’s just being a jerk, for no reason. Sure, there are writers out there that I don’t like their work. You know what I do? I don’t read it. Period, end of story. I don’t go after them to make them quit writing.
Look people, writing is a journey. It’s just like life. We’re all on this journey together. My journey in no way means you don’t get to take one. The same goes for your journey. It in no way invalidates mine. When we apply that to our writing, it becomes a shared journey. When I write a book and you read it, we’re now taking that journey together. It goes both ways. I feel the same thing when I read a book. I get to share the vision that the writer wanted to show. The truly amazing part is that we can experience that journey again and again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered the paths and pages of Middle Earth, finding new things each time I visit. Thank you, Professor Tolkien, for bringing us that world.
I have a bookshelf in my room. On that shelf are literally hundreds of books by dozens of different authors. I read books I enjoy. The point is that I don’t know anyone who only reads one author. So that means that we have room on our shelves for many different authors. Not just one. We have room on our shelves for many different books, not just a few. I don’t even know anyone who reads just one genre. Good stories show you to new worlds in your mind. Great writing makes you feel like you’re there.
Writing is not a competition. We don’t win or lose by “beating” the other writers. My success does not depend on someone else’s failure. Your success does not depend on my failure. The only person I am in competition with is myself. I strive to be a better writer today than I was yesterday. Nothing more, nothing less. I hope that you gain all the success you can achieve as a writer. I honestly mean that. I don’t feel like I can’t ever reach the New York Tmes Bestseller’s list because someone else already did. You shouldn’t either. Reach for that star.
Honestly, I don’t even wish bad things on the people who did these things to me. I still hope they succeed and do well with their work. I just wish they felt the same way about me. I won’t stoop to attacking other writer’s works, belittling them in public forums, or trying to turn other people against them. That’s not my way. That’s not the way that anyone should act.
Don’t forget that writing is a journey that we take together. Writer and reader, we experience the same story in different ways. I’m proud that I get to share it with you. I hope that I can continue to share it with you for many years to come.
I meant what I said before. If you have any questions for me or would like to know what things worked for me and what didn’t, feel free to contact me. I, by no means, am an expert or the authority on anything. I just know what did and didn’t work for me. That’s information that I would gladly share. After all, there’s room on the shelf for both of our books.
After all…there’s a reason I chose the tagline that I did for my work. I truly believe it.
The End is Only the Beginning.
Where do I begin? I guess I’ll begin by climbing back on to that soapbox that I was on with the last post. DA’s a preachin’, now. Bear with me while I rant on and on for a few, but I’ll try to keep it on topic. Well, mostly on topic. I may ramble a bit. Here goes.
When I began this journey that has become my writing career, I never thought it would take me so far so quickly. I first published book one of my Ragnarok Rising Saga in July of 2012. That means, in almost two and a half years, I’ve published four full-length novels and am working on the fifth. To me, that’s quite an accomplishment, since I have been trying to become an author since I was a kid. It only took me four decades, but what the heck. Here I am, anyway. It might have taken a bit longer than I hoped, but it’s not the destination that makes the dream worthwhile. It’s the journey.
I didn’t have to pull a Faust and sell my soul to the devil to do it, either. It just took a tremendous amount of work…not all of it my own. There have been some amazing people that have joined me on this journey, as well. My family, of course, came along for the ride. There are quite a few others, too. Matt Roper, my friend and confidant, has been both inspirational as well as helpful. He’s been a sounding board for a lot of ideas. Phil Morrissey, my best friend and cover artist, was instrumental in this transition from traditional publisher to independent author. Without him, I’d still be mired in the miasma that I thought was an insurmountable challenge…..Self-publishing. Phil made all the difference in the world.
There are many others, as well. People who gave of their time and energy…both emotional and real…to make these books come to life. Josh Jones, Katie Hughes, Brian Forrester, Johnathon Drake, Mike Mello, Chris Sowards….you all helped to turn this into the work that it is. Thank you all.
Now…it wasn’t my intention to turn this into an impromptu dedication page for the series. Far from it. What I really planned to do was to tell you all that if I can do this, then so can you. I made no strange contracts with shadowy underworld figures, either. It just took a lot of hard work. We’re all capable of that, right? Dig in, dig deep and write that story that is inside you, waiting to be set free and shared with the world. You can do it.
It hasn’t been an easy journey, either. Writing is work. Don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t. I’ve spent countless hours at the keyboard turning ideas into words and eventually into books. If it was easy, everyone would publish. You can’t just set down and knock out the next Harry Potter series in an afternoon, then have an early dinner. It’s just not that easy. There is a lot of work to it, but it is more than worth it. Holding that finished manuscript in your hands for the first time is one Hell of a feeling (pun intended…see I know what Faust is about).
Chase your dreams. That’s why we have them in the first place. Dream those dreams and reach for the stars. Always remember that Rough drafts don’t have to be perfect. They just have to be written. You can fix the rough spots in the editing phase. That’s what it’s for. Write your tales. Only you can write it.
I know that it always bugs authors when they here someone diminish what they’ve accomplished when someone says, “Hey, you wrote a book? I was going to write a book, but I never found the time.” Yeah, that bugs me, too. If it was easy, then everyone would do it. But the thing is, it’s not easy. Hemingway said it best when he said, “To write a novel all you have to do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.”
You pour yourself into your work, whether you believe it or not. Your ideas, your work, your very essence flows into every word. The finished manuscript is as much a part of you as your own children. It’s the child of your mind. It will take on a life of it’s own,too. When I hear people discuss my writing, it always makes me smile. I want them to remember the writing. That is why I write. To me, it’s all about the stories.
I’m not overly concerned with any kind of celebrity status or fame. I want the writing to say it all. To me, the writing is my legacy to my children. It will (hopefully) live on, long after I’m gone. Fame is fleeting. The stories we write could live on for generations, if we tell them well. I hope my grandchildren are fans of Tolkien and some of the other great writers that have been a big part of my life over the years. I could drop a lot of impressive names here, but I won’t. We all love good books and I’m sure you’d see a lot of the same names on my list as you would find on yours.
So, to finish up here and climb back down off of my soapbox….write your stories. Share them with the world. Finish that book and then start another one. I did and look where it’s taken me. I’m writing my fifth novel, now. Ten years ago, I never would have thought I would ever publish. Hell, five years ago. It happened for me, it can happen for you. Believe and achieve.
When you finish, celebrate. You’re in an exclusive club. Not many people write a novel. Even fewer publish one. So, write that book…don’t be like Faust…and celebrate your victory. I like to celebrate mine with a small glass of the finest beverage ever created by man. Bushmills Irish Whiskey. It really is the water of life.
Believe in yourself. Chase your dream and don’t ever give it up.