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What Fried Chicken Can Teach Writers About Perseverance

“If I hadn’t been 66 years old and had a $105 Social Security check coming in every month, I don’t know what I would have done. But for me it wasn’t a matter of giving up. It was just a problem of what to do next.”
Colonel Harland Sanders

Writing a book is hard. As it turns out, selling a book you have written might be even harder. I know because I have written two books, both of which have yet to make an appearance on the bestseller list. Speech Right: How To Write A Great Speech is a non-fiction instructional book based on my 35 years of speechwriting experience. The Guardian of Detritus is a comic crime novel set in my hometown of Detroit. They are good books that have yet to find an audience, but an unlikely sequence of events has given me new hope.

A few months ago I was walking through the Akihabara district in Tokyo, an area known for its electronic goods and pop culture artifacts. As I passed a KFC restaurant it was pointed out to me that I strongly resembled the statue of Colonel Sanders standing by the door. I stood next to him, took a photo and was amazed by the resemblance. With Halloween and my 66th birthday coming up, I joked that this would be my costume, but I wasn’t really serious about it. – until several weeks later in Charlotte, North Carolina.

To kill some time while my wife was shopping in a department store I headed to the Men’s Department to look around. I had no intention of purchasing anything but to amuse myself I decided that if they had a white linen suit I would buy it and dress up like the Colonel for Halloween. My thinking was that nobody sold white linen suits in October, but I turned a corner and there it was. It was a sign, it was synchronicity, it was on sale – I bought it.

I’m not normally a guy who wears costumes, even for Halloween, so to make sense of what was going on I decided to do a little research on the Colonel. That’s when it really got weird. It turns out his life was filled with setbacks and failures, until he found himself broke and wondering what to do next at the age of 66. I wasn’t broke, but I was turning 66 and wondering what to do next as a writer. His initials CS, my initials CS. Clearly the Colonel was showing me the way forward. So I shaved my goatee into a soul patch, put on the white linen suit and black bow tie, and had a fantastic Halloween. And now, inspired by his perseverance, I am determined to keep following in the Colonel’s footsteps.

At the age of 66 Colonel Sanders had one thing going for him, he had perfected his signature fried chicken recipe of blend of 11 herbs and spices. So he borrowed money against his social security check, bought and fried up some chicken using his recipe, and went door-to-door selling it to his neighbors. The rest is fast food history. At the age of 66 I have written two books, and have another on the way. The way forward is clear: I’m going to go from computer to computer selling them to my neighbors on the internet. Will the rest be publishing history?

I’ll let you know.

Speechwriters Are The Most Important People In Any Organization

My apologies for the clickbait headline. It is a fictional construction designed to help make a serious and valid point. My hope is that your instincts kick in and you keep reading to see what happens next. Speechwriters have long known what neuroscientists, psychologists and evolutionary biologists are now proclaiming: humans are hard wired for… Continue Reading

The Ugly American

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List I played the Trump card a few months ago and not much happened.  I am playing it again now with lowered expectations but no loss of hope. The circumstances and timing are too good to pass up:  Trump is in Scotland bragging about how the… Continue Reading

Playing the Trump Card

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List Desperate times call for desperate measures. It may be time for me to play the Trump card. A little background: I am not a political person, at least publicly, and especially not over the internet. From what I have observed, there are only two sides,… Continue Reading

The Review is In!

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List I entered my novel in the 3rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards last year, and have just contacted me with the results. No, I didn’t win. But they said so many nice things about my book that I find it hard to believe I… Continue Reading

You Pays to Advertise

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List I haven’t posted in awhile because I was waiting to see the results of my experiment in advertising. The results are in. They are encouraging, but inconclusive. Here’s the story: After looking around and comparing audience demographics, reach, cost and other factors, I decided to… Continue Reading

You Gotta Have Art

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List “You Gotta Have Art” was a series of TV commercials that aired in the 1970s to promote the Detroit Institute of Arts. It is also an accurate description of what you need for your front cover when you publish a book. The snappy jingle from… Continue Reading

Secret: Agent, man!

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List As is the case with virtually everyone else who has ever written a book, self-publishing was not my first choice. I wanted a major (or minor, or any) publisher to take on the task of making my novel available to the public. And why not?… Continue Reading

Origin Story

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List Before we proceed any further on our climb to the top, in the tradition of comic book heroes and movie sequels I would like to take a moment to explain the origins of The Guardian of Detritus. I’m hoping this will be interesting to curious… Continue Reading

The Twitter Addendum

This sounds like a spy thriller but it is just my way of adding one more weapon to my social media assault: tweeting. I have been advised by a social media expert that tweeting about my book will be much more effective than blogging or posting on Facebook, so I have opened a Twitter account… Continue Reading