Wow. Just wow. Saturday morning marks the achievement of a lifelong dream, one I first conceived when I was six years old. That was the first time I realized I wanted to tell stories for a living.
I gave that dream up twice. First when I turned eighteen and realized I wasn’t some perfect snowflake destined to write the next great American novel. Then again in 2004 when I published my first short story and realized that while writing was fun there just wasn’t enough money in it to make a living.
Friends and family had long told me that exact fact. The starving artist was a real thing, and if I didn’t want to be that guy I needed a real job. That made me inordinately sad, and I made two choices as a result.
The first was going into technology. Instead of teaching myself to be a novelist I taught myself to write mobile apps for the iPhone. The second was pouring my creative energy into running D&D games for my friends.
This worked for a while. I started making great money as an engineer, but doing so required me to move away from my friends. Suddenly that creative outlet was cut off, and the relentless energy began to build. I needed a way to express it.
So I started writing No Such Thing As Werewolves. I decided that it didn’t matter that no one would ever read it. I’d know that I finished a book, and that would be enough. I didn’t really need the money, since my day job was paying more than I’d ever thought I could make.
It took two years to finish it, and once I had I started wondering what to do with it. I’d read articles about Hugh Howey, John Locke, and many other indie authors making a great living. So I had a cover made, and threw the book up on Amazon.
I started hanging out on Kboards where I met a ton of other authors, and I started learning more about this whole author gig. Fast forward fourteen months.
I published seven books and sold a staggering 35,000 copies. I appeared on some of the top writing podcasts in the world, and was invited to the Apple campus to meet the iBooks team. People all over the world read my books, and I receive fan mail every day.
I finally looked up and realized that I was making enough money from this author thing to survive. But I was also working a more than full time job at a San Francisco startup. I was tired, and burning out.
So I faced a difficult choice. I could dial back the writing and focus on my ‘career’, or I could give up my enormous salary and take a chance on this whole writing thing.
It was an easier decision than I’d thought. I love writing. I love telling stories that entertain people, and I love writing books that help authors build their business. Software? That was just a job.
I went with my passion. Friday was my last day at CellScope. Now, I am a full time author.