There is power in persistence. I have told this story several times to friends and family, but I do not think I have shared it on my blog. There was a time, three years ago, when I was tempted to quit writing.
In 2011, I had self-published the Muirwood Trilogy and the reviews were good, but I was feeling a little discouraged because there were still so many typos that needed fixing. I have since learned that even with a whole crew of dev editors, line editors, and so forth, those pesky typos still get through. But at the time, I was a little discouraged. My biggest regret now about self-publishing was not hiring a capable copy-editor. Word to the wise – it’s worth every penny!
During Christmas breaks I usually took a few weeks off of work from Intel. A friend/fan in Australia had offered to send me a list of the typos she had found reading her Kindle version and I was grateful for the help, since I came to the realization that I could not spot them on my own. On a wintery afternoon, I was fixing them all, one by one, feeling a little gloomy and sorry for myself. I was tempted to quit, I will admit. I struggled to balance all the parts of my life and wondered if it was even worth it juggling my writing too.
Gratefully, I had read a story in Napoleon Hill’s book about a man who had quit his goal prematurely and regretted it. The story goes on that most success comes just after a moment of discouragement. I was also motivated by a 2009 TED talk by Simon Sinek called “Start with Why”. It’s a great talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE) and it made me think about why I was a writer. Watching that video led me to write something in December 2011 which I dubbed “A Manifesto on Virtue” http://www.jeff-wheeler.com/?page_id=447 and posted it on my blog that month. Here we are, 3 years later and it still resonates with me.
I fixed the typos in Muirwood. I re-posted the Kindle versions and fixed the print versions too. Two weeks later, I did my first Kindle Direct promotion. I still have a screenshot from the night I checked the result and saw that over 10,000 readers had downloaded Wretched. I stared at the screen, trying to breathe, and was soooo grateful I had not succumbed to the fleeting temptation to quit. A few months later, I got a call from 47North.
Never give in. Never, never, never give in.
I just received this gift from my publisher to celebrate my favorite book (Blight of Muirwood) reaching over 100,000 sales. Looks like I will be doing some reading over the Christmas break on my new Kindle Voyage! And fixing typos too. I’m still doing that, even though it’s hard and tedious. Status update: I have finished writing the rough drafts of the first two new Covenant of Muirwood books and have started on book 3. This is the fastest I have ever written a novel in my life, let alone two. I’m on track to have the third book finished by my birthday in March. Cover art for Poisonwell is almost ready to be revealed. And the team doing my first Muirwood graphic novel is assembling. I love my new life as a full-time writer. Thank you, dear reader, for making all this possible.