Today I have the honors of having Brian Moreland as my guest. Please visit his blog and let him know how awesome he is!
Without further ado, Brian Moreland!
Your manuscript is written. Your agent sells it to a publisher. You celebrate with your friends and family. After signing the contract, your very first advance check arrives in the mail. You had hoped for six figures, but it’s only four. It’s divided up into thirds and barely pays one month’s bills. You won’t receive the other two payments until your book is edited and releases late next year, but who cares? You’ve landed your first book deal! You do your happy dance in the living room. Months later your manuscript returns home with lots of red marks and notes from your editor. You edit the book and rewrite a couple chapters. Soon after, your editor emails the cover design. You’re blown away by the artwork and fancy type with your name on the cover. Your book suddenly takes on a whole new dimension. You post the cover on Facebook. Your friends and family give you lots of “Way-to-go’s!” and “Congrats!” Twelve to eighteen months later your book releases on Amazon and in book stores across the country. At last, after years of dreaming and writing, you hold your printed book in your hands. It’s like holding a newborn baby, and your heart swells in your chest. You might even shed tears. The metamorphosis is complete. You can now drop the moniker “aspiring writer” and proudly call yourself an author.
For those writers persistent enough to pursue a writing career—the ones who refuse to give up despite all the years without pay and rejections from agents and publishers—at some point you will publish your first book. It may take years, or in my case, almost two decades. I am living proof that dreamers who procrastinate can eventually complete a book and publish. And once you do, there is much glory to be had. You enter a whole new reality where you wield the power to accomplish bigger goals and experience more than you ever dreamed possible.
Traveling the world as an author doing research has opened many doors for me to have some extraordinary experiences. While doing research for my Word War II thriller SHADOWS IN THE MIST back in 2005, I backpacked across Germany, exploring some of the battlefields. While there, I met three historians—two German, one Dutch—who took me under their wing because I was an author. They showed me where to find some battlefields that weren’t on any tourist maps. I also got to tour a WWII museum that wasn’t open to the public. It was at a German man’s three-story house; every room, including the large basement, was full of war relics and mannequins dressed in German, American, and British uniforms. Every kind of weapon imaginable was on display. The German historians shared many personal details about the war that I would have never found in a history book. The next weekend they invited me to a WWII reunion, where I met several veteran German soldiers. They told me story after story that impacted the writing of my novel. Because I was an author, I was treated with high respect. And that respect has followed me to every country I’ve visited.
Publishing my second novel DEAD OF WINTER was even easier than my first. With SHADOWS IN THE MIST, I had established a track record of book sales, blurbs from famous authors, and positive reviews. I had also grown as a writer and had more confidence in what I could accomplish. My literary agent learned that a legendary editor, Don D’Auria, was starting up a new horror line over at Samhain Publishing. My agent thought this would be a good home for DEAD OF WINTER—a historical horror mystery about a cannibal killer stalking a fur-trading fort in 1870. I submitted my second book to Samhain Horror. Less than 30 days later, Don offered me a book deal. I did another happy dance. As it turns out, DEAD OF WINTER was chosen as one of the first novels to launch the new horror line in October 2011. From this experience, I have made friends with several other Samhain Horror authors releasing their books alongside mine.
As an author, I’ve gotten to be the guest of honor at parties, been interviewed on radio shows, and was invited to speak to 900 junior high students. If you’re a public speaker, having a published book gives you credibility to land speaking engagements. A published book also gives you an opening into highly esteemed circles. I’ve met a number of best-selling authors whom I’ve idolized. I’ve shared meals with them, drinks at the bar, sat next to them on panels at conventions, and gotten to have long, personal conversations with men and women whose books I had been reading for years. Those experiences always gave me a sense of awe.
Your power gets even bigger once you hit best-seller status. If you’re Stephen King, James Patterson, or Dan Brown, you’ve achieved super stardom and the literary world is your oyster. Publishers roll out the red carpet and pick you up in limos. You get top billing on all advertising, your cover placed on Amazon’s homepage among other best-sellers, and your book displayed right at the front of Barnes and Noble. I’ve even seen famous authors in full-page ads in USA Today and on billboards. With this kind of exposure, selling thousands of copies and topping the best-sellers’ lists become automatic. From there your popularity with fans grows exponentially.
I once heard best-selling thriller author Brad Meltzer give a speech. He shared a funny story that one of his novels had just hit number one on the best-seller’s list in Bulgaria, a small European country. When he arrived in Bulgaria and walked off the plane, a crowd of people holding up signs were standing behind a chain-link fence and cheering for him. You would have thought he was Prince William or the Pope. Everywhere Brad Meltzer went in Bulgaria, he was treated like a royal celebrity. He described the experience as surreal.
While having raving fans is certainly one outcome of becoming a popular author, most exciting of all is that your book could get made into a movie. When I met horror author Brian Keene, he told me he was on his way to the filming of his novel Ghoul. He got to experience seeing his book coming to life in a whole new way as actors were playing his characters. When Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series was being filmed, she got to visit the set and meet all the actors. And those movies have immortalized her characters and created an explosion of Twilight merchandise.
Stephen King has seen dozens of his novels and short stories adapted into movies. And so has R.K. Rowling, who has reaped the rewards of her Harry Potter series being made into eight blockbuster movies. Universal Studios even added a Harry Potter attraction at their theme park, and Rowling was a V.I.P. guest at the grand opening along with the movie stars.
Once the movie version of your book hits the big screen, you can watch your book sales skyrocket, and the power of what you can accomplish as an author multiplies. Not to mention your income. You can finally quit that day job and write for a living!
So what is it that gives authors such power to be treated like celebrities, earn lucrative incomes, and experience extraordinary careers?
The power, I believe, comes from the stories that live between the covers of their books. Well-written stories with characters we can relate to can induce feelings of love, pleasure, joy, and hope for a better tomorrow. Your book can touch the lives of readers in ways you can’t even imagine. R.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books inspired millions of children to read. Stephanie Meyers’ love triangle between a confused teenage girl, a vampire, and a werewolf offered a fantasy romance that young adults found highly entertaining, especially my fourteen-year-old niece, who has read the Twilight books multiple times and now reads every vampire romance she can get her hands on. For adults, authors like Stephen King, James Rollins, and Norah Roberts continue to churn out thought-provoking fiction that ignites discussions in online chat rooms and Twitter.
When a reader is emotionally moved by a book, they love to share their experience directly with you, the author. I’ve been fortunate to receive a number of exuberant Facebook posts, Tweets, and fan letters from readers. These words of praise always make my day. A group of students sent me a photo album with photos and letters describing their experience of reading my book as a class assignment. One fan expressed that reading my novel helped him get out of depression and inspired him to start living again. I have been deeply touched, seeing the impact my writing has had on others. I would not have had any of these incredible experiences had I given up on my dream.
Books have power. During times of economical uncertainty, when our media is bombarding us with news of politics, unemployment, and wars, a good book has the power to help readers escape into an alternate universe where they can experience anything that the author imagines for them. So if you’re still an “aspiring writer,” stick to your goals of becoming a published author. Do whatever it takes to complete your book and get it published. If a procrastinating dreamer like I used to be can do it, so can you. There is much glory ahead of you. Earning royalty checks and being treated like a celebrity are nice fringe benefits. Well-deserved perks for all those months you spent alone typing at your computer. The highest rewards, I believe, come from sharing the book that was in your heart and knowing that your words, your stories wield the power to bring joy to the lives of others.
Author Bio: Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. He loves hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and dancing. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. You can communicate with him online at http://www.brianmoreland.com/ or on Twitter @BrianMoreland. Check out his latest novel DEAD OF WINTER.
Amazon link for DEAD OF WINTER:http://www.amazon.com/Dead-of-Winter-ebook/dp/B005LYIDUY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1315836343&sr=8-2
Get more writing and publishing tips at Brian’s blog: http://www.coachingforwriters.blogspot.com