When I started this blog, oh––way back in the day, on February 22nd, 2016––I had teased you by saying that I’d blog about worldly mysteries, the human condition & our choices, food, recipes & healthy living and…something else. If you need a refresher, find that article here. Just wipe the dust off before you read it.
Well… It’s time for that something else. Before you get excited & head for the hills: No, I am not charging a premium for access to my highly acclaimed Cats & Coffee blog. Even though, I’d probably earn enough income to finally buy that small cup of coffee I’ve had my eye on. No, I’d never do that to my readers.
The something else is…DRUM ROLL PLEASE: The 1st book in the Jack Elliot Series, BROWNSTONE, is out for sale on September 6th, 2016! Preordering available June 7th.
You’re saying to yourself right now: This beotch is trying to sell me something, where’s The Great “Comfort Zone” Escape article?
And the answer to your question would be: This is it!
Okay, back it up! Don’t write me off as a sleazy car salesman just yet! And I mean no offense or disrespect to car salesmen or any decent salesperson for that matter. But, up until 2012, I worked for car dealers as an accounting controller and I can certainly attest to the type of employee that that business attracts. That doesn’t go without saying that there are some really great salespeople out there & my hat is off to them!
My new book launch in September is all about BREAKING OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE. Not the content! Brownstone is a fiction thriller. The launch is related to breaking out of the comfort zone because in 2012, after a long accounting career of working in soul-sucking dealerships, I had had enough.
The tipping point for me was when the current owner of the last dealer I worked for ran the business into the ground by blowing out the advertising budget and sucking every last bit-o-profit the business was not making for his personal reasons. That just may give you a little insight as to why less than respectable people are drawn to selling cars. But this post isn’t about sleazy bosses or despicable jobs or complaining about shoulda-coulda-wouldas. I honestly believe that all things happen for a reason. No matter how sullen.
I could no longer carry on, working in a career where the most creative decision I had to make was deciding which vendor not to pay. The decision of changing my career had been a long time coming & I will stop objectifying the car industry because it is indicative of any career in which you are not happy & will eventually lead to a point of no return. My only wish is that I’d made that decision a lot sooner.
But again: All things happen for a reason. And that is true whether or not we ever learn what those reasonings are.
There’s a saying that I use every time I sit down to a blank screen & begin my writing day: TRUST IN THE PROCESS. It’s true and works every time. The same goes with things happening for a reason which loosely translates into the word karma. Trust in karma. Nothing worth a damn is hardly ever easy. Remember that. If you get nothing from the musings of this article, remember that anything you accomplish in life that has real value is never easy to obtain.
If I were a believer in God & the Bible, I would say that the story of Adam & Eve is all about my statement. Once they were evicted from the Garden of Eden where life was simple & easy, it was all about work beyond those gates. Things were no longer handed to them. And the harder they worked, the richer in value were their payoffs. The only part I don’t understand is why tasting of the tree of knowledge was a bad thing. Had they not tasted from it, how far beyond those gates would they have survived?
And I don’t buy the because God said so, angle. It just so happens that the core of the story in BROWNSTONE loosely revolves around that tale. Not exactly, though, & that’ll be all I give you! If you want to know more you’ll have to wait until September or search out my ads–the ads that I created & posted. That is as car-sleaziest of a pitch that I’m going to give and as I now write this article, I’m wondering if the idea spark of that novel was a foretelling of the work put into the manuscript. I can only hope because It took me three years to complete it.
So, in 2012 is when I truly broke out of my comfort zone!
I’d decided that I needed to build a career that made a difference. A career that completed me. I wanted to leave my mark on the world. For all we know we’ve only got one shot at this thing called life & I figured that it was time to do something with it. Because if you think about it––really think about it, is working a meaningless, uncreative, soul-sucking, 9-5 (if you’re one of the lucky ones) job, a life worthy of living? Was it what you intended, when you set out upon the world at the age of 18? Was it the best your parents were hoping for, for you?
It also needs to be said, before I go any further & have a mob of retail & fast food workers pounding on my door, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with those jobs…if you are completely happy doing them.
One man’s trash, another’s treasure…
Just be honest with yourself. Life wasn’t invented (at least I don’t think it was) just to devastate this planet. There are 7+ billion lives out there. Every one of them with real meaning to their existences waiting to be discovered.
Only if they seek out that meaning.
Since stepping onto this path in 2012, I have had to break out of my comfort zone many times on top of the initial breakout of quitting the car biz for FOREVER. I’ve had to learn countless, annoying programs just to get up to speed with everyone else that’s already in the publishing business. And despite my life-long interest in becoming a writer I’ve had to learn a world of new ever-changing tools in this craft. Things I hate, like marketing & promotions. But the biggest thing I had to swallow was letting go of my stubborn dream of publishing my 1st book traditionally.
I’ve done the research. It just doesn’t make sense, today, for a new author to traditionally publish and that’s assuming that they’ve gotten past the gatekeepers (agents). Forget about pitching to the publisher directly.
And I have to ask: What do publishing companies have to offer writers?
Big advertising dollars?
Think again… The only one’s getting those dollars are the tried & true greats like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, etc.
Instead of trying to maximize the potential of finding the next Stephen King or Koontz, publishers place their bets on the juggernauts––the well-established authors. This sounds like a smart plan…for the publisher and it sort of is. But for newbie writers? What do they offer? I’ve read hundreds of credible articles on this topic and I’ve come up empty-handed.
Sure, they offer advice. They have contacts in the business. They have teams of designers to create professional looking book covers. An editorial team to clean up your book, etc. The list goes on, but I’ll stop here because all those things can & often are done by the author. That’s right, folks! On top of being a traditionally published author, we must also be marketeers! Promoters! Designers, etc.
And if the author hasn’t the technical ability…
There are a ton of websites out there like fiver.com, where professional people will do these tasks at nominal fees like five bucks!
So, I ask once more: What do publishers offer new writers?
Depending on your contract, and people, new to this business, are blinded by actually getting in, to even care that publishing companies have written in complete control over the author’s work.
So, it’s looking to me that the answer to my question is: LOSS OF FREEDOM.
Under a publishing contract, the author still has to do their own promotions if they want to get any real attention. And I’m mainly focusing on advertising here because what else is there of any value that publishers can offer? A new author either doesn’t have the money to spend on big ads or isn’t willing to risk that much money promoting a book because in the author-industry nothing is solid. A book (even if all the parts are done right) can sit on a shelf with little to no sales.
Which is why those publishers only spend the money on the biggies. It’s backward thinking on their part & has forced the gatekeepers (agents) to only accept clients if they have a 10,000+ following. I understand agents need to eat, too, but that fact just didn’t sit well with me and was the very thing that made the decision to self-publish a reality for me.
There’s gold in them thar hills, folks! You just need to werk yer ass off fer it!
I may be risking years worth of hard work put into my writing all for naught… Or (and pray with me, folks) I could be the next Dan Brown!
Then all that hard work would be worth triple the effort. And it never would’ve happened if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone. Only time will tell, for me, if it will pay off but one thing is certain. I will not give up. Ever. Because quitters only succeed in one thing: Failure.
Something more worthy of noting, than breaking out of your comfort zone, is happiness.
Will I succeed in my writing career? I can truthfully answer yes, even though the book hasn’t launched yet & I have not made a single sale. Because whether or not I am as successful as Dan Brown, not to mention the varying degrees of success in the entertainment business, the shift in my career regardless of the rocky road it’s paved upon has brought me true joy in the purpose of my being.
You’re thinking how can writing fiction novels really make a difference in the world? Well, there isn’t enough e-ink in my laptop or the world, possibly, to explain that. And that isn’t a cop-out answer. Books change lives, people! They whisk people away from their unhappy lives & instantly drop them into exotic locales or sit them behind gorgeous, shirtless hunks with long flowing hair & bulging muscles, among other things, riding atop white stallions.
Books can change lives and will exist long after the author is returned to dust.
Change can be good if you embrace it. Step out of your comfort zone even if you’re perfectly happy in all aspects of your life. Strive each day to be inspiring. It sounds like an awful lot of work & energy, but it isn’t when you’re enjoying yourself.
You’ll never know just what you can accomplish if you don’t try new things. Explore & be open. Never say “I can’t” or “I don’t know how.”
But most of all: LIVE IT!