My first book, "The Last Day of My Life," published by Phoenix Books launched January 5, 2010. The journey from idea to bookstores lasted a year and nine months. I think of it as the male equivalent of being pregnant for 21 months and then delivering a full-grown offspring to send out into the world.
The somewhat provocative title came from my very real feelings that I might be worth more dead than alive, which prompted me to ask myself what would I do if I have only twenty-four hours to live? Would I finally apologize to anyone I had wronged or forgive those who had hurt me? I began to examine and evaluate my life in terms of gratitude, love, friendship, compassion, adventure, miracles and many other intangibles not often associated with the knee jerk financial definition of success.
While I am hopeful that my book will touch and empower and perhaps even inspire some readers, the experience of writing it has changed my life in a profound and positive way. It is quite simply the most important thing I have ever done, outside of having my family. My book is now "out there" in the universe, to be accepted or not. There is little I can do beyond spreading the word whenever possible, on television, in blogs (like this one) on radio and one person at a time, to whoever will listen. It continues to be my passion and purpose and I am already working on book number two. But first, let me share some advice with all those who aspire to write a book of their own.
Just do it
Nike had it right when coining this slogan. You're writing a book? Join the club. Apparently everyone is (at least they claim to want to or say they started years ago but have not yet finished) Here it is, short and sweet -- stop talking about it. If you are going to write a book --- write the damn book. While working on the numerous drafts of my book I often looked to my younger brother, a talented screenwriter, for guidance. "This process is extremely tough and lonely," I'd tell him. His answer was blunt, "That's why writers drink."
Just say no ... to no
While flying on assignment for my job as Chief Correspondent for the syndicated television news magazine Inside Edition, I was thumbing through an in flight magazine and one page caught my eye. In bold, red letters was the number 27. I read the brief blurb below and it read: the number of times Dr Seuss was rejected before his first book was published. 27 soon became my mantra, empowering me while on my quest to get my first book published.
Don't pay attention to "Burrito men"
Once your book is out there, you will get reviews, sometimes by professionals. Other reviews will be written by "ordinary" people. They will have either bought your book or have been provided it for free as part of a frequent reader program. A word of caution here: let someone filter these reviews for you because no matter how many words of praise you receive, the few scathing remarks will haunt you and stay with you. My first bad review was from a person who goes by the screen name Burrito Man. Don't ask. You can imagine.
So there it is -- three simple steps. They may take you a year. They may take you a lifetime. Now that you are ready to write your "great American novel" or whatever it is you hope to pen, I have just one simple request before you begin: buy my book.