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 readers and useful to aspiring writers.
I first began thinking about the ideas that would lead to GoD in 2010. The thought that got things going was actually a science fiction premise: what if, some time in the future, the city of Detroit was evacuated and turned into a forest to help reduce global warming by pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere? The protagonist would be a sort of sheriff/park ranger – a guardian – who kept people out of the ruins of the old city so that it remained a forest and wasn’t reinhabited. I quickly decided I didn’t have the interest or skills to write sci fi, but I didn’t want to give up the idea. I really wanted to write a novel set in Detroit because I think it’s the coolest place on the planet. So I started thinking about a crime novel set in Detroit and two ideas popped into my head right away – someone driving in a car gets “punched” by the Joe Louis fist, and someone tells a horribly inappropriate dirty joke in a public setting, loosely based on an incident I was familiar with from many years ago. Why those two thoughts came to me I have no idea, but I decided to blend them with the sci fi premise in the form of a movie being filmed in Detroit, and the book took off from there.
If that sounds easy, I can assure you it wasn’t. Since the turn of the century I had already written two novels – the second one included an extensive rewrite – that weren’t very good. I knew from experience that I was looking at years of hard work, and there was no reason to think this one would be any better. Fortunately, it turns out writing fiction is like anything else: you have to keep doing it to get better. When I took the plunge and finally started writing GoD (yes, that is my immodest abbreviation for the novel) I felt much more in command of what I was doing, and the writing was much better. It still took nearly two years of incredibly hard work to finish it, but the result this time was something I felt was worth publishing, and not just stashing away in a drawer where no one would ever see it.
For those of you who are very detail oriented, the timeline went like this:
2010 and 2011 – I get the ideas and work out the basic plot for the book.
January 14, 2012 – Start writing GoD.
October 16, 2014 – Finish writing GoD.
February-April 2015 – Contact agents using Writer’s Relief. (www.writersrelief.com)
May 1, 2015 – Self-publish using Aventine Press. (www.aventinepress.com)
May 11, 2015 – Build web site using Web Design Relief. (www.webdesignrelief.com)
July 2015 — ebook conversion (www.eBookit.com)
July 31, 2015 – GoD goes on sale on Amazon and other book selling web sites.*
In short, it took five years of hard work to produce my novel, and the work has just begun – now I have to try to get people to read it. Either way, bestseller or non-starter, it was worth it. I’m proud of what I have accomplished and eager to keep spreading the word and testifying on GoD’s behalf.
*Note to aspiring writers: all the service providers mentioned above did an outstanding job helping me move forward.