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.
Congrats, Chris! Welcome to the club 🙂
Thanks, JD. It feels amazing =)
Congrats Chris! Way to prove the self publishing naysayers wrong. Since I found your first book, I have bramched out to other self published authors. To be honest my reading life has become much more fulfilled. Its nice to find an author with something new out every few months than wait for the publishing house darlings 4, or even five years.
I feel like we’ve come full circle. Pulp writers used to crank out books too. Asimov wrote over 500 novels. Now that there are no gatekeepers we can write as quickly as we want to =)
Just picked up Hero Born on Audible. If anyone has any free credits I suggest them to get the Deathless bundle. 40 hours for 1 credit is a great deal.
Congrats! Living the dream!
Wow is right! Congrats Chris. It’s inspiring to see and look forward to hearing more about your journey as a FTA. We still need to meet in-person one of these days. Now that you have a little more flexibility, lets get something on the calendar soon.
Congratulations and I wish more and more success with your writing.
Congratulations! I’m so happy for you. 🙂
Yes, now rock it, Chris!
Huge congratulations, Chris!
Thanks, Honoree! The first week has been amazing 🙂
Congratulations! Enjoy being able to focus on your dream career!
Thanks! So far, so good =)
Time to “move out of Marin to a house in the redwoods up in Guerneville”
That’s definitely the plan =)
Congratulations, Chris! I just finished “No Such Thing As Werewolves” this afternoon and had a blast the whole way through, you’ve definitely got a new fan. So few get to do what they love for a living, I’m excited to see you have accomplished that goal!
Thanks, Kevin! I’m pretty lucky to be doing what I love. It’s only been a few weeks, but it’s been great!