Chris Kuzneski is an author who found success the hard way.
I personally haven’t read any of his work but a good friend of mine, (Adam, the guitarist from Gods Will Be Done) is a fan and has read all his work to date.
His latest release is called, “The Plantation” and at the front of the book Mr. Kuzneski writes a little about how he was, “discovered”. Ads saw it and immediately thought of me, the brainless bottom dweller, inanely pursuing the hooked lure of literary success… :-(
He typed it out and sent it to me and I’m glad he did.
So a hearty “Thanks” to Ads with a manly handshake to boot.
Have a read, it’s very interesting and extremely inspirational, well I though it was.
Take it away Chris:
The Plantation by Chris Kuzneski
A few years ago I nearly gave up. Like many writers, I had a tough time breaking into the industry. Agents ignored me, and publishers rejected me. My life was like a bad country song, only I didn’t have a mullet. To make matters worse, my savings were almost gone, which meant I was this close to doing something desperate – like getting a “real” job.
Back then, the only thing that stood between me and the workforce was a novel I had just written called The Plantation. It featured two main characters that I really liked, Jonathon Payne & David Jones, and the plot was pretty original. In hindsight, maybe too original. At least that’s what I was told in several rejection letters. Editors and agents loved the book but weren’t sure how to market it. And in the book business, that’s the kiss of death. No marketing means no sales. No sales means no book deal. And no book deal means it’s time to search the want ads.
Thankfully, I cam across an article about a company called Universe and a new type of technology called print on demand. Simply put, copies of a book could be printed after a book order was placed, thereby eliminating large print runs that a struggling write like myself couldn’t afford. Suddenly I had the freedom to print a small quantity of books that I could sell to family and friends. And if I was real lucky, total strangers would buy it, too.
Long story short, my plan worked. I sold enough copies out of the trunk of my car to ward off starvation, plus it gave me the confidence to take things one step further. I figured since readers loved The Plantation, maybe writers would as well. So I wrote letters to many of my favourite authors, asking if they’d be interested in reading my book. Incredibly, most of them agreed to help, and before long they were writing letters to me, telling me how much they enjoyed it. And I’m talking about famous authors like James Patterson, Nelson DeMille, Douglas Preston, and James Rollins. Each of them willing to endorse my novel.
Seriously, how cool is that?
Anyway, even though I had their support, I still didn’t have a publisher. But all of that changed when Scott Miller, an agent at Trident Media, bought one of my self-published copies in a Philadelphia bookstore and liked it enough to email me. At the time I had a folder with more than one hundred rejection letters, yet the best young agent in the business bought my book and contacted me. Not only did I get a royalty from this purchase, but I also got the perfect agent.
By then I had written my next novel, a religious thriller called Sign of the Cross, which Scott wanted to shop immediately since The Da Vinci Code was dominating the bestseller lists at that time. It proved to be a wise decision. Within months, he had sold the American rights to Berkley and the foreign rights to more than fifteen publishers around the world.
Finally, I could throw away the want ads.
Next up was Sword of God, which became my second international bestseller. In my mind, it was book three in the Payne/Jones universe. But to most readers, it was only book two because The Plantation was never released by a major publisher.
That is until now.
Several years have passed since I wrote the first draft of The Plantation. The original version was much longer and contained several mistakes that rookie writers tend to make. With the help of my good friend Ian Harper, I tried to eliminate as many of those as possible – while keeping the plot intact. After a lot of tweaking, I’m thrilled with the final product.
To me, The Plantation is my first love. It’s the book that allowed me to write for a living.
Hopefully, you’ll fall in love with it, too.
So there you go, good wasn’t it?
Have a good one.