Today, I’ve got a great guest post for you from a proudly self-published author, Aaron Wise. His novel, Deadlocked is available on Amazon (I’ve downloaded it and hope to have a review up in the next few weeks; sadly, my eyes are often bigger than my available reading time), but the story I found really interesting is how he came to write the novel and why he chose to self-publish it. I think you’ll be interested, too!
A Self-Published Author’s Passion
My name is Aaron Wise, and I’m a writer. That declaration might seem simple, but I have never written anything that has stirred my soul more. Let me explain why.
I am not a traditionally published author, but we’re coming to a time when that distinction doesn’t matter anymore. Certainly, seeing your book in print from a major publisher is a soul-satisfying experience, but it’s not as wallet enriching as people might think. In fact, in these days, new authors have the opportunity to make more by selling through digital distribution rather than going through a publisher. This has created a schism in the publishing world between authors that cling to the old ways, and those that embrace the new movement.
I passionately fall on the side of the self-publisher, and there are a lot of successful authors out there that can attest to the extremely profitable nature of the business. Ebooks haven’t merely shaken things up or created a few new opportunities, they have irrevocably changed the game. And the people profiting from this change are the artists themselves.
I could easily write an article detailing the financial benefits that a new author should consider when deciding if they should self-publish. I could also explain how even the most strident opponents of self-published work are beginning to change the way they look at it. All of this would make a valuable, inspirational, and informative post for any new author (or for veteran authors that have regained the rights to their out of print works) to read. However, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to tell a very personal story that will give you a better idea of why I am so passionate about the world of ebooks. And, if I’m successful, might change a few minds about the value of self-publishing.
In October of 2011, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. As would be expected, the news came like a punch in the gut. She lives in Indiana and I live in Colorado, 1000 long miles away. When someone you love (perhaps cherish is the better term) is stricken with cancer, you experience a sense of helplessness that is hard to overcome. Couple that feeling with a physical separation of 1000 miles and suddenly your sanity begins to fray.
The first sentence of my first novella was written on the day I found out she had cancer. One of the reasons I started writing was to get my mind off the disease, but there was another that took me much longer to understand. Actually, today was the first day I admitted it to myself: I needed to become an author to make my mother proud.
Throughout my life, my mom would ask me how my writing was going. I’m in my thirties now, with a wife, two children, and a wealth of financial concerns that necessitated a steady climb up a corporate ladder. I’ve been fairly successful in business here and there, but nearly every time I spoke with Mom, she would ask me how my writing was going. She knew it was my passion. I could climb any corporate ladder in the world, secure the greatest office in the highest skyscraper, build a portfolio to put all my relatives to shame, but my mother would have still asked me on every call, “How’s the writing going?” She would do it because she knows me better than anyone, and she knows I’m a writer at heart.
So there I was, faced with the very real possibility of losing her, and my heart broke because I’d never achieved the one thing she always wanted to see me do. I wasn’t an author. I hadn’t been true to my own heart, to my own dreams, and my mother might pass on before ever seeing that moment come to life. I’m certain she would lament the fact that I felt that way, and she would’ve pleaded with me to understand that she was proud of me for all of my accomplishments whether or not I’d ever written a book, but none of that would’ve mattered. I needed to do this, as much for myself as for her.
My novella, Deadlocked, poured out of me. There wasn’t time to waste eating or sleeping – the story had to be finished. It was catharsis in every sense of the word. I took a story about a zombie apocalypse and filled it with tortured characters striving to protect their fragile family. Every emotion that stirred inside me ended up on the page and my mind was given a brief respite from the tragedy of real life.
On November 9th, I self-published Deadlocked. I should certainly say that the birth of my children and the day I married my loving wife are the greatest days of my life, but just between you and I, November 9th ranks right up there.
Since that day, I’ve gone on to self-publish two more books in the Deadlocked series. They started out as a novella series, but at this point, all together, it exceeds the size of many books. For those that read the series, take note that I have written this article on the exact same day as the Author’s Note in Deadlocked 3. In that section I detail a lot of the same information as I have in this article. It was today that I accepted and understood how important this series has been for me.
Why am I telling this story here? I’ve written this because I think it speaks to the single greatest thing that the new ebook revolution has given us: unhindered expression.
I was able to write a story and have it published. My art reached the consumer without any interference. The readers of Deadlocked are given my passion, my words, and my very soul on display. That is why this revolution is meaningful, and that is how it played a part in the most important moment of my life: the moment I became a writer.
To date, Deadlocked has been available on most ebook platforms and has garnered over 5000 downloads. It has sat comfortably in the top 50 most downloaded free horror books on Amazon since it was first published there in late December. These stats boggle my mind, but ultimately they don’t mean half as much as the sound of my mother’s voice on the phone as she congratulated me and said, “You’re an author! I’m so proud.”
“I’m so proud.”
So, to all of you would-be authors out there I say this: Embrace the self-publishing revolution, and make your mother’s proud.
Aaron Wise can be found at:
Deadlocked is available in all major ebook platforms and the series will be reaching its climax in late February with the publication of Deadlocked 4.
Aaron’s mother is still battling cancer, but all signs look good that she is going to have a complete recovery!