While in the process of editing and doing final rewrites for The Cruiserweight and planning a second book, I came to the conclusion that writing was not only my best form of creative expression, but also sometimes, it’s a good thing daring to be different.
There’s literary fiction, biographies, how-to books, art books, general fiction, romance, and even the racier kinds of books. Let’s not forget the array of horror, mystery, and vampire novels. Still, I wanted to do something that was outside of the average fiction genre.
When I began my creative journey back in the summer of 2008, I developed the idea of penning a wrestling novel with romance thrown in for good measure. I wasn’t sure how well such a book would go over, but after getting positive reactions from fellow fans of the sport, I delved into my new project by creating my main characters and what I wanted them to be like. When the film, The Wrestler, hit theaters a while back, I was inspired that much more to continue with my book.
Writing wasn’t new for me; doing a book was. From childhood in what could be best described as a dysfunctional background, I had difficulty expressing myself verbally, so it wasn’t uncommon for me to keep a notebook somewhere where I’d scribble thoughts, stories, ideas, rants, whatever. Writing was a great place to hide. A respite from my reality. At the age of 18, I had my first article published in one of my city’s major newspapers. From there, I continued writing when I could, and when real life didn’t interfere. Combining the love of printed words and sports entertainment, my online column, The Wrestling Babe, debuted in 2003. The column continues to the present day, though less often, due to me concentrating on other projects.
Each day, I would make an attempt to add a chapter to The Cruiserweight. I'd felt as though I found the niche that I’d been searching for my entire life. Doing hair in my late teens through my twenties, going in sales, and even some PR work in later years had been extremely rewarding, but I wanted something better, more challenging. Writing The Cruiserweight satisfied that urge.
Eventually, through another aspiring author (thank you, Shannon Lee!), I discovered Authonomy. Aside from the pressure and drama one experiences on such a large writing site, I met many delightful people, received insightful advice how to make my book better, and was even shocked that my manuscript did so well in spite of me being on the site less than a year (the book ranked in the top 75 before I pulled it at the end of March to do additional work). Shortly after, I moved on to Slush Pile Reader, where I’ve also gotten some useful feedback, excellent ideas, and met even more new people (The Cruiserweight is ranked #2 on Slush Pile Reader’s charts as of this writing).
As for finding publishers and agents, and entering competitions, those are the difficult parts. Though I’ve gotten rejections just like any other writer in this business, a few of those turn downs also stated I had potential, and offered some suggestions. Sometimes I wondered if all my hard work over the last couple of years had been worth it. Looking back, I realized that it was, and perhaps daring to be different with my kind of book would catch on somewhere after all.
At present, I have a small, local publisher interested, and the requested (albeit edited) MS this morning. No guarantees, but this could lead to something.
In the meantime, plans for The Cruiserweight being available in electronic forms (ebook, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, etc.) are also in the works. In the modern world of technology, it was a good idea for me to explore these options.
While I look forward to my book in print, I also have the sense of reality that it won’t make me a millionaire. Big deal; as long as someone reads and enjoys it, isn’t that what’s important? There’s a lot of quality books out there that weren’t best-sellers, yet they stood out because they were different. Million-dollar contracts (if they still exist) and fame are nice perks, but the satisfaction of developing something one loves and seeing their final product after months (or years) or hard work is what makes all the bumps in an author’s road worthwhile.