Welcome to my Authors 40+ Series! These posts share the stories of amazing authors who published their first book over the age of 40. The series features talented, experienced and inspirational writers who share their (often non-conventional!) writing and publishing journeys honestly and articulately. Next to feature, is D. P. Vent!
1. What is the title and synopsis/premise of your first book and how old were you when you published it?
My first novel is titled ‘Rabbit’s Run’ and was released in November 2016. I was 49 years old at the time, although I had been working on the project for several years off and on before I published it. The premise is a ‘Falling Down’ type revenge thriller. It’s about a man who has lost everything he has ever loved, or even cared about, due to perceived corruption in corporate and union politics. Rabbit decides, after a short round of depression, that he no longer has anything to live for. Therefore, he decides to embark on a murderous spree, targeting everyone who wronged him.
The novel is written from the point of view of the detectives who are hunting him. However, the reader does get the opportunity to live inside the skin of the killer for a good portion of the book.
2. Tell me about writing the book e.g. where did the idea come from / how long did it take / what did you learn along the way?
I began writing the novel a few years ago. I was working for a company who was trying to decertify our union, thereby employing any underhanded tactic they could come up with, legal or not. It was a very stressful time. I began to wonder how a person who was a budding sociopath, pre-disposed to violence, would handle the situation.
I wrote and rewrote this book several times over a ten year period until I finally quit my job, no longer wishing to deal with the stress of working for this company. This was when I realised that I had become a pretty decent writer, and given time, could produce a book worthy of publishing.
3. Tell me about your publishing journey step by step – what happened once the book was finished?
I queried hundreds of agents over the period of eight months. After receiving quite a few rejection letters, I decided to self-publish through Create Space (now KDP). I rewrote and re-edited ‘Rabbit’s Run’ several times during this period, enlisting the help of an artist friend in creating a cover.
Once the novel was published I began the never ending process of learning how to market books, making every rookie mistake possible. I have since done yet another re-edit and changed the cover to one that better represented the flavour of the book. At this time it is my best selling title. ‘Rabbit’s Run’ became the first book in my ‘Truth Conspiracy’ series. Rabbit – finished with his spree of vengeance – is co-opted as an assassin for a revolutionary group dedicated to identifying homegrown terrorists and bringing them down before they can commit their crimes against innocent civilians. I have published three books in this series so far, and am currently working on a spin off series featuring the detectives from ‘Rabbit’s Run’.
4. Who or what has helped you the most in becoming a published author?
My wife, Charlie, who not only patiently allows me the time to create my novels, but has become my editor. I have to give credit to many author groups on social media for sharing secrets of marketing, something I still – and probably always will – struggle with. I also owe a debt of gratitude for my local fans who showed up at my book signings and took a chance on an unknown author. Most of them continue to support me through this journey.
5. What are the main obstacles you faced / overcame when writing and publishing your book(s)?
Time mostly. Until I changed day jobs to a contractor type of situation that allows me time to write. Being a published author is a lifelong dream. I can now say I am an author with conviction. My books get better with each published work, and sales are finally beginning to justify the hours of painstaking labour I put in to each and every one of my works.
6. How do you promote/advertise your book(s)?
Amazon AMS ads and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. I have yet to develop an email list as I know how it feels to open your email page to hundreds of spam messages. I feel about this the same way I feel about telemarketing, which should be illegal in my opinion.
7. How did you celebrate the incredible achievement of your first book being published?
By holding a book launch event at a local bar and inviting everyone I knew. During the event I sold quite a few copies of “Rabbit’s Run”. I was surprised by how many people you meet in bars are avid readers. I do most of my signings in pubs now, with great success.
8. What advice would you give to other authors about to begin their publishing journey?
Keep writing, get better at your craft and don’t get discouraged. The dream is a marathon, not a sprint. If you keep going, you will continue to grow as an artist.
9. Where is/are your book(s) currently available to read and where can people find you online?
10. Are you working on anything new we can look forward to in the future?
“Madison; Author of Evil” is available for pre-order on Amazon now and will be released on 01/18/2019, here’s the link for Madison.
Thank you for taking part in my Authors 40+ Series Dennis! If you are an author who published their first fiction or nonfiction book over the age of 40 and would like to be featured in this blog series just like Dennis, Reyna, Michael and Christina, please get in touch!