Allow me to tell you a little story…
Once upon a time, a little over a decade ago, a young boy sat with wide-eyes and a thirsty imagination as the show “X-men Evolution” was playing loud and proud on his living room television. As the half-hour cartoon full of mutants with strange and unique powers commenced, that parched imagination was quenched, and a new writer was born.
By the way, that young boy – he was me. I was the one watching the new century X-men show. It was a great show from what I can remember. It is on my bucket list to watch it in its entirety again. There is a long list of shows that I love – will do a Ramble on some of them in the future. However, it was this idea of having superhuman and supernatural powers that I fell in love with; so much so, I began my first book.
Introducing the “C-Men.”
Yes, I’m serious, and it’s as cringy as you think. This was a book, written in pencil, on loose-leaf notebook paper. It was not-so-loosely based on “X-men” – obviously – and all the characters were modeled my friends at the time – even going so far as to add new characters when I moved to a new town and made new friends. The main character, who was me, was the leader of this group of individuals all with superpowers. My character was blueish purple. He was big, strong, hairy, and could move quickly. Wow, I wonder who my favorite X-man was at the time…uh duh. If this book had ever seen the light of day, I would have been sued for every Pokémon card I owned. Haha.
However, as I grew, that story evolved into a respectable concept which will indeed see the light of day, eventually. To this day, many years later, my love for superpowers and superheroes has blossomed into an enormous passion that I pumped into my writing. For instance, if I could have any superpower I wanted, it would be teleportation. What power does the main character of my Egyptian assassin series “Silence of the Gods” have? Teleportation. And to be honest…I still wish I could do it. Even with years of maturity behind me, the sensation of instant transmission is one that I will forever covet.
So, this young author who had clearly written a fantastic piece of bonafide plagiarism was now grown up. He wanted to write, but there was something in the way. Sports, school, video games, ect. Well, for the next decade, he went nowhere. He did nothing. He wrote nothing. That was until he found his wife and his wife convinced him to do something, he knew he would love – write.
Now a decade later, graduated from high school with a couple years of college, married, and a recent job loss, I began writing once again. Six months later I produced a piece of gold….plated garbage. A hot, steaming pile of gold-plated garbage. Don’t get me wrong, the concept was great and incredibly original. However, my skills as a writer was lacking. Yet I was stubborn, and boar headed. I sent the 75,000-word book to agents and accrued over 30 rejection letters. “But, it’s amazing. The next Harry Potter!” I thought, in response to each one. “How could they reject it?” Yeah, not as great as I thought. So, I took epic failure and put it on the back burner and set my sights on a new goal; one that has taken the world by storm – indie publishing.
But what was I going to write? I needed a new idea. My wife and I sat down and wrote a slew of key words on a piece of paper. Things like “male,” “female,” “pirate,” “assassin,” and “knight.” We snagged a pair of scissors and cut out the terms, folded them up, and threw them into a bucket. Then, I drew out four of them.
“Pirate.” “Male.” “Future.” “Holy Possession.”
Through those four words, “Scourge,” the first book of my Divine Beast Trilogy, was born.
And then it flopped. It wasn’t as much the fault of the work, as much as it was the fault of my misunderstanding of the business. It was early in my indie career and I rushed its publication so I could get my name out into the world. “Scourge” needed work on an editorial level, and I didn’t have the money at the time. As an indie, all of your costs come out of your own pocket and it is a true investment. You only hope and pray your book sales, that is unless you have the know-how to market it – which at the time, I didn’t. I wasn’t crushed, I knew it needed more work. So, I kept going. I wasn’t going to let it stop me.
That little blip may have caused the ship to waver, but it won’t sink this barge. With the help of many fellow indie authors, I now have a much better idea of the indie publishing world and I plan to make the best of it. I have learned that an indie can’t skip corners. We have to go through everything that a traditional story does. The editing, the cover, the beta readers; the process must be just as vigorous. Hopefully, within the next few years, I will have plenty of stories out there for the public to read. And that’s the point, isn’t it? To share the voices in my head with the entire world.