Tuesday, May 28, 2013

You never know

I’ve been a thriller sci-fi writer for more than twenty years now and over that span of time my books have gotten the attention of numerous literary agents and publishers. In 2005, I signed with a major literary agent from a major NY literary agency. This agency had sold hundreds of books and film rights, some for as much as seven figures. I was very excited.

My agent loved all six (at the time) of my books and like all good agents edited them and provided insight to help make the stories more saleable, all without asking for a dime in advance. We had several exciting close-call deals and a few heart-racing moments while waiting to see what kind of money was going to be offered. My agent encouraged me to keep writing more books and truly believed that one day I’d hit it big.

Then something happened that turned my world around; a close friend was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. But here’s the kicker… he was given just two weeks to live. He went from his nine-to-five life, to knowing he had a very limited amount of time left. Having no close family and no money for a good hospital, he was left with little option except to die alone. It is then that my wife and I decided to hospice him.

It was an incredibly powerful experience watching as his life slipped away and how he dealt with it psychologically. When the day finally came that he passed on, I was there to shut off the ventilator and pull the sheet over his head. I’ve never been the same since.

As a writer, I wanted to capture something of the moment and relay what I learned from watching someone’s life end. Having never written a literary fiction novel before, I suddenly found myself in the throes of a powerful statement about the meaning of life. DROP OUT was written in a fanatic ten day period.

When I sent the completed manuscript off to my agent, he was extremely disappointed that I had gone this literary route and had no intentions of ever trying to sell the book. I had no intentions of letting the book sit in a drawer, so after a few emails and telephone calls we decided to end our partnership. I was devastated to be back among the ranks of agent-less authors.

Then something amazing happened.

I indie published DROP OUT a little over a year and a half ago, and since then sales have grown steadily each month. At this point, nearly ten thousand copies of the book have been downloaded and I’ve gotten to as low as 1,500 on Amazon’s paid sales ranking. But what is most heart-warming and gives me the most satisfaction is the emails and reviews that I’ve gotten telling me how the book has changed people’s lives. Almost every review is a five star and what the reader’s are saying… well, check it out yourself.

I’d like to thank my former agent for dropping me (no pun intended) and giving me the freedom to publish my books on my own. Especially, for giving DROP OUT a chance to change people’s lives. When it comes to the world of big publishing, deadlines, competition, and profit, it’s good to know that by avoiding all that nonsense, a little story with a powerful message can make such a difference in how people view their mortal time on this planet.