Monday, October 1, 2018

Ten Years & a Lifetime Ago




Ten years ago on this day, October 1st, 2008, my first novel was released by a small press (Aspirations Media Incorporated) to the thunderous applause of crickets. Well that's not entirely true, the crickets didn't applaud, and if they had, even their scant numbers couldn't produce anything thunderous. Like almost everyone else, they didn’t take notice either. My release “event” was held at the Arlington Barnes & Noble. I expected a crowd, and there were twenty people, but I knew every one of them. Nearly all were from my writer’s group that met in the same bookstore, on that same night, on the same floor, in the same place. And yes, we planned it that way because if we hadn’t, I’d have been alone with my wife wondering if we could smuggle liquor into a bookstore.



The Arlington Writer’s Group, better known as AWG, were quite gracious. They didn’t complain that I had hijacked their space, and they sat quietly listening to my very first public talk, which I can’t remember (such things are often erased from long-term memory for sanity’s sake). More important, nearly everyone bought a book and wanted me to sign their copies. I sat at a rickety folding table, sharpie in hand, as a line formed. I felt absolutely ridiculous. I was pretending to be an author. What got me through the event was that everyone else pretended, too.


That was the first and last line I'd encounter for my signature during the next four years.  The second time, my new publisher literally gave the books away to ensure a crowd. As it turns out, people line up for free stuff.

For years, I considered myself "The Little Engine That Might." I had persistence, some decent stories (at least I thought they were), and most important of all a loving wife that made it her mission to see that I would succeed. Why? Well, it wasn't for money or fame that she worked so hard. It was so I could live a dream I'd had since I was a 13-year-old boy: To be able to write the stories I wanted to tell and hopefully have a few people read and enjoy them as well. It's taken a decade since that first released book (and thirty years and thirteen books prior to that), to get to where I am now, and I think it's safe to say I should upgrade from "That Might" to "Who Did." I've sold more than 1.5M books in the English language (and I have no idea how many in the foreign markets), but I do have dozens and dozens of contracts in so many languages I've lost track. I'm also proud to say that I'm now officially a New York Times Bestselling author. And last week, I had two books on the Washington Post’s Bestseller’s List. 



What a difference a decade makes! And of course, I can't end this post without thanking the most important people to my success. No, it's not my agents, or my editors, or the publishers who have picked me up and expanded my readership (although I am grateful to them as well). But who I'm speaking about is you, dear readers. It's because you took a chance on one of my books, then went back for more, and most important of all, the fact that you recommended them to others. I've always said that it's word of mouth that makes or breaks a book, and in many ways, it's your contributions that have gotten me where I am now (even more so than anything I or Robin have done). So I hope that you, too, share in this 10th anniversary celebration, after all, it's you who have truly made it such a success.

8 comments:

  1. I share the joy that is your work every chance I get. Have you ever thought about turning your world into a role playing game campaign setting for games like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder? I know someone who would likely be very interested in taking on the project if you are interested in exploring the idea. An I for one would love to have my own adventures in your world.

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    1. Hey Michael. Thanks so much. As for role-playing games. I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to adapt the books to D&D or Pathfinder - but if you have some contacts of people ho can do that, by all means drop me an email.

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  2. You are my favorite Author, you deserve all of your success and more. Thank you so much

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  3. I just stumbled upon your site today and I have to tell you that this post was so inspirational! I, for one, am very glad that you followed your passion and your dream despite setbacks to bring the world Roy & Hadrian. I just finished Age of Myth today and it took me a while to start because I wasn't sure if I would enjoy a series without the famous duo, but by chapter 2 I knew it wasn't a fluke. You, sir, CAN REALLY WRITE. You have no idea how happy I was when I discovered that your newest series kept me intrigued and on the edge just as I had been for Riyria.

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  5. Especially about my favourtite character myron would be very interessting :))
    Wish you all the best

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