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The Ramblings of a Self-Published Author

It had been a dream of mine for nothing short of 15 years. Call it a bucket list item, a life goal or even a trophy for a self-seeking 'attaboy' achievement, writing a book was something I've always wanted to do.

Before I ever actually finished a book, I can remember trying my hand at writing a novel on at least two separate occasions. It would all start with this grand concept which, of course, was the greatest idea ever conceived in human existence. This story would typically orbit around in my mind for several days and, much like how a chef creates a new recipe, I would mentally add little bits here and there as a seasoning of sorts to make things interesting. Then, I would put pen to paper. Or to be a more accurate millennial, fingertips to keyboard.

To this today, I have no idea how to write a book. I know there are tried and true methods of doing it such as charting out your ideas into a storyline and then filling in the gaps so you essentially have a physical road map before you even start typing your first word. I'm stubborn, however, and have a somewhat non-typical beginning, middle and end mentality, meaning I would start my stories at the very beginning and write them all the way through, oftentimes without so much as writing down a word of notes.

Naturally, I wrote Legacy Drive in the only way I knew how: From the very beginning straight through to the very end and with no notes. Everything came from my mind.

Within a few days of starting each grand writing crusade, I would get either lost, burned out or both. I would get to character conversations and, not being one for casual small talk as it stands, would find it very difficult to fill in gaps. So I'd eventually get frustrated, realize that my initial idea actually was very boring and then I'd move on to the next idea.

That was how it all worked for years. Rinse and repeat for every story I tried to write. That is, until I got to Legacy Drive.

Legacy Drive was a blessing at the very beginning because I actually came up with the ending first. Again, I thought it was the greatest idea ever conjured up in the history of humanity. As such, my first line of thought was, "Someone should make a movie about this!"

For the next several days, the idea of what would ultimately become Legacy Drive swirled around in my mind. When it finally hit me that I should try my hand at writing a book again, I was initially very hesitant. The task seemed daunting and rightfully so. Nevertheless, as this was the greatest idea ever, I'd be doing humanity a disservice if I didn't proceed with this book. So on that fateful day, I opened up a new Word document, and started plucking away.

Naturally, I wrote Legacy Drive in the only way I knew how: From the very beginning straight through to the very end and with no notes. Everything came from my mind.

It was horrible.

Not at first, of course. It was a joy to piece this story together, right up until I hit my first brick wall. I would get a condition of what's affectionately known as writer's block for months at a time upon slamming my proverbial face into each and every literary brick wall. This was followed by a period of exile from the project (which at the time was simply called The Legacy until I realized that it shared the title with a 1978 horror film). Then, usually while showering, I'd be struck with an idea which became a bulldozer for these brick walls and I'd be right back at it again.

This process continued for years. Six years, to be exact. During that time, my wife and I moved three times and collectively went through five different jobs. Finally, however, I had completed the first draft of Legacy Drive.

My wife and I read through it, found lots of errors (which is very common...I hope), which led to the second draft. AT LAST, I was to the point that I was ready to find an editor and cover designer.

The second draft. Being a secretive human, I didn't want to reveal the title just yet.

I researched and found a book cover design company called Bespoke Book Covers. They did an amazing job with the cover and I was very pleased with them right from the get-go.

For a few hundred dollars, I had my cover done and dusted.

Now for the REALLY expensive part...the editor.

Had I known how much editors charge for their services, I'm not sure if I'd have ever written the first page of Legacy Drive. Since I'm self-published, this was all coming out of my own pocket.

How much, you ask?

Thousands. Lots and lots of thousands.

In fact, I spent more for an editor than (at the time) I'd put into my video production business. I was bleeding my company from both ends but, like all mad geniuses, I knew it would pay off.

Six years and several thousand dollars later, Legacy Drive was made available for pre-order on Amazon. I was happier than a fat kid left alone in a cake store. When I made the post to social media saying, "Hey! Legacy Drive is now available for pre-order! Reserve your copy before they're all gone!" I thought it would be just like a releasing of the bulls.

It wasn't.

In fact, only one bull was released that day.

Yes, after years of work to get this project to its current state, I made one pre-order on the first day. Just one.

By the end of the pre-order period (after I'd done some social media promotion), the total had gone up to a whopping five pre-orders.

"That's okay," I thought. "People probably just want to get it in their hands when it becomes available."

On May 28, 2019, Legacy Drive was released into the world.

If you're a fan of the show Parks & Recreation, you may recall a scene where Tom Haverford and his best friend/business partner, Jean Ralphio, where hosting a party to spend the last bit of money they had after their business, Entertainment 720, failed to keep its doors open. They talked it up and made you think there were hundreds of people waiting outside to get into this party. When they finally opened the doors, there wasn't a single person waiting.

That's essentially what it felt like when I released Legacy Drive. It quickly became a 'family & friends' book where, although it received very good reviews, they were all from people I knew.

I would make posts about this book everywhere I could. I even made a book trailer for it and got permission from the Virgin Australia Supercars Series to use their footage.

The only problem was that I couldn't get people to watch it. At the time of writing this blog, it had only been viewed about 230 times.

I often get asked, "Why didn't you try to get the book published?" It's a simple but loaded question as the publishing process of today is difficult. Gone are the days of mailing your well-refined manuscript into the name-brand publishers such as HarperCollins. These days, mostly all publishing companies will not accept unsolicited requests. The only way you can reach them is through an agent. Finding an agent is difficult. Finding a good agent who can get you into these elite literary circles is even more difficult and, you guessed it, very expensive.

My goal from the very beginning was to simply tell this story and have people enjoy it. The world of self-publishing can be very rewarding but also very punishing. But if there's one thing I'd like to pass along to you, it's to play the long game. Don't expect overnight success when you publish a book on your own. Books never go away so always know that, even if your book is the best kept secret in the literal world, there's always the opportunity to learn new marketing techniques and also to partner with people of influence who may be able to help get your book into new markets.

Know, however, that it's a long journey so be prepared for that. People often look down on self-published authors because simply put, there's a lot of unedited and poorly written garbage out there. As such, self-published authors are not eligible for certain awards, promotions or events. It's like being the red-headed stepchild of the literary world.

In closing, I'd be remised if I didn't offer you a chance to have a look at my book, Legacy Drive.

After all, I am self-published.

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