Thoughts on publishing my first novel

At last! Tonight I’m publishing my first novel, The Inheritance, on Smashwords.com. To say that I’m excited would be a gross understatement. In fact, as I write this I’m bouncing off the walls (in an emotional sense, at least).

This is the culmination of a life-long journey for me. At the same time, it’s the beginning of what I hope will be a successful new career. As my blog and Facebook followers already know, I’ve completed the first draft of my second novel, The Leviticus Enforcer. In addition I have ideas for at least three additional novels, possibly more.

There is no guarantee of success, especially for the self-publisher. New books come out every day, especially in the Internet Age, and the market is probably quite flooded. The only way for a new guy like me to make it is to build a following and hope word gets around. That’s where you come in.

I need your help. Writing the book and getting it onto Smashwords is not the end of the project. What I need now is for people to buy it, read it, and (I hope) post positive comments about it. I’m not suggesting you go out there and say nice things about it out of friendship. I need honest reviews because readers can smell a con job.

When I post my publication announcement on Facebook tonight would you repost it on your own wall? You don’t have to do anything else (though I hope you read it). This will allow me to reach people beyond my circle of friends and family. From there I hope it takes off but if it doesn’t, no regrets. I’ve done what I set out to do with The Inheritance. Its success or failure is in God’s hands. I mean that sincerely. God gave me the ability and desire to do this and I thank Him for those things.

This is also a time of personal reflection for me. I’m thinking back almost twenty-five years to the first time I seriously tried to write a novel. I spent five years on that project (on and off, that is) before finally abandoning it for a variety of personal and professional reasons. Looking back I’m glad I did because as a writer I wasn’t really ready for ‘prime time,’ as they say. In fact, if I ever find that old manuscript I will be seriously tempted to burn it. It’s hard to let go of a good idea, though, and I’ll probably take another crack at writing it one of these days.

A couple of paragraphs ago I said ‘no regrets,’ but that’s not entirely true. I do have one; that my parents aren’t here to see this. Mom and Dad always encouraged me, read my work, and encouraged me some more. I wish I’d appreciated them more when they were here.

I also wouldn’t be here without the love, support, and excellent proofreading skills of my wife, Angela. She’s believed in me for as long as we’ve known each other, even during those times when I’d stopped believing in myself. Angela loved the idea for The Inheritance from the moment I first told her about it. She’s the one person I can discuss a story with while I’m writing it. Her insights were invaluable on this book and will continue to be in the future. The Inheritance is dedicated to her.

Of course I can’t forget my kids, Josie and Jimmy. They were pretty good about staying out of the office when I told them I needed to work and they provided some inspiration for a couple of bits in the book as well. They really are a delight to have around. Love you guys!

Although Facebook can sometimes be a pain there is one good thing it’s done for me; made me realized just how many friends I really have. So many of you have posted words of encouragement and support during the writing of the novel and I am truly grateful. I hope The Inheritance lives up to expectations.

I also want to thank my friend, Karen Harman. In addition to providing the last name of my lead character (thanks for that, Karen), she was the first person besides Angela to read the manuscript. Her insights and sharp eye for mistakes was spot on and the book is far better for it.

I can’t go through my gratitude list without mentioning my best friend, Eddie Howell. I’ve known Eddie virtually my whole life and a better friend you couldn’t ask for. We don’t’ get to see each other very often (he lives in Florida and I’m still in Illinois) but whenever we do we seem to pick up right where we left off. We’ve always encouraged each other in our creative endeavors. I finally did it, Eddie!

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