As they say, Hello World. I’m David VanDyke, and I’m a new author.
Ugh. Yeah, Dave. Millions of guys like you out there, and you all suck.
Sure, alter ego. But I said a new AUTHOR, not a new WRITER. What’s the difference? I believe it’s a mindset.
I’m committed to writing at least 20 books in the next five years. I’m following in the footsteps of my childhood friends Vaughn Heppner and Brian (BV) Larson, successful authors in their own rights. This is their formula, more or less, and I follow in their footsteps. They both banged away for years at writing while working relatively soul-crushing and middle-class jobs as teachers, while I had a full career in the military. They dedicated themselves to success and both have achieved it with the new ebook revolution, but they both worked for years without selling a thing because of the old gatekeeper-publisher model. If you’re a new author, it’s the wild west out there and there’s no one to tell you you suck except your readers. But if you do – they will tell you. No one will hold your hand.
So back to writing vs. authorship. I’ve attended writers’ groups where we talk about writing, we read and critique each other’s work. They are great, I highly recommend them for anyone. I’ve learned a lot. But they are like golf workshops – great places to work on your game but they don’t make you a golfer.
I recently ran across someone who – and I am paraphrasing here, but accurately – said something like “I’ve been writing for 14 years, seriously for 6, and I have one novel finished and part of a second.”
Okay, I said to myself, this is a nice guy but I don’t want to be him. My formula for self-defined success includes things like a lot of books published, a reasonable fan base that I can interact with, and a great deal of satisfaction for my work. Oh, yeah, and making a living would be nice. One book in 6 years won’t do.
So I set out to write my first book (The Eden Plague, http://www.amazon.com/Eden-Plague-Wars-Volume-ebook/dp/B008EMKJ6Q/) and it was up and selling (SLOWLY) in KDP in two months. That was from first word to publish, with a cover and formatting from LiberWriter (shameless plug, they’re good people). And while I don’t claim that it’s the next Harry Potter, it’s better than a lot of what I see in the genre – science-fiction – that’s being thrown up on the web today. I’m almost finished with my draft of the second book, The Demon Plagues, well inside my 2-month deadline for myself.
My point isn’t to denigrate anyone else. My point is to say, like anything in life, lots of people write, not that many people finish and publish something they can be proud of, which is what, IMHO, being an author is. I worked at Eden Plague very hard; I put in all my spare time for two solid months, I asked friends and family for feedback, I pushed on through the usual learning curve and I got it done, with God’s help.
So if you are a new writer that wants to be an author, take heart; if you are committed to this, you can do it. I know you can do it, I know I can do it, because others have done it, and they are intrinsically no better than I am. If you have imagination, if you can put words on paper, if you can be funny and engaging, if you have a good grasp of English (or whatever language you write in) then you can do it.
So this is my first blog post, roughly three months after I started this author thing. I hope to keep them coming, a public journal of my thoughts and perhaps something of an encouragement to writers, and a way to connect with the fans I hope to have. Thanks for reading this, thanks for reading anything I write, and I hope someday we’ll meet over a good book.