Welcome to my Authors 40+ Series – sharing 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 Joab Stieglitz!
1) What is the title and synopsis/premise of your first book and how old were you when you published it?
My first book is ‘The Old Man’s Request: Book One of the Utgarda Trilogy’. It is the story of three young professionals recruited by an aging trustee of a small college to address an indiscretion from his youth: the summoning of an ancient evil to our world.
The book was first published in 2016 when I was 50.
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?
The idea arose from a Call of Cthulhu RPG campaign that I ran for several years in the 1990s. The characters were initially those of my friends in that game. In the books, however, only the names and occupations of the protagonists resemble the game sessions. The stories are completely different.
3) Tell me about your publishing journey step by step – what happened once the book was finished?
After I finished writing, I sent it to an editor for proofreading. I then formatted and published the book through Createspace. The process was very simple, and even creating the Kindle version was easy.
4) Who or what has helped you the most in becoming a published author?
Writing a novel had been a bucket list goal for me for many years, but it wasn’t until I met Steve Russell, who was a publisher of role playing game materials, that I really got motivated. Steve encouraged me to finish and publish, going so far as to offer me the opportunity to write tie-in fiction for his company’s products. It was the confidence in my abilities and continued encouragement that got me to the finish line.
5) What are the main obstacles you faced / overcame when writing and publishing your book(s)?
I had been writing another book, a Tolkien-esque fantasy journey tale, for about 25 years. But I wrote in fits and spurts “when the muse hit me”. As a result, the initial chunk was written at one time. The next bits were written over the course of several years. I had another period of productivity and then several more years passed before I wrote again. Along the way, the characters, tone, plot, and even the genre changed several times.
When I turned 50, I was at 300+ pages of junk. I put that aside and started fresh with my historical, supernatural thrillers. I wrote one chapter a week for three months and had a finished story. I also had the outlines for two more books laid out. The first book was published in July 2016, the second in January 2017, and the third in July 2017. All three were recorded as audiobooks as well.
6) How do you promote/advertise your book(s)?
I have tried numerous methods. My most successful has been vending at various gaming and literary conventions. Almost all of my sales have been in person. Online, I have pursued Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Goodreads ads with minimal results.
7) How did you celebrate the incredible achievement of your first book being published?
I bought a display case where I will keep a copy of every edition of every book I produce.
8) What advice would you give to other authors about to begin their publishing journey?
Outline your story. I use Scrivener to keep my notes, research, and manuscript organized. Know where you want the story to go. That’s not to say that things won’t change along the way as you develop the manuscript, but know what the major scenes of the story will be before you start.
9) Where is/are your book(s) currently available to read and where can people find you online?
The paperback, Kindle and audiobook versions of all of my book are available on Amazon.
My website is http://joabstieglitz.com.
10) Are you working on anything new we can look forward to in 2019?
I have several projects in progress. I am working on a second trilogy featuring characters from the Utgarda Trilogy. I also have another project revolving paranormal activities during World War II and I am preparing for my first non-fiction venture – a guidebook to being a Role Playing Game Master.
Thank you for taking part in my Authors 40+ Series Joab! 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 Toni, Todd, Elizabeth, Stephen, Iuliana, Tamsin, Julie, Lynne, Devorah, Paul, Joanne, Paul, D.P., Reyna, Michael and Christina, please get in touch!