Between 1995 and 2003 I focused on my writing, pounding out all those screenplays, short stories and novels without ever making a dime. The result was years living near poverty, with my wife bravely, and with great faith, supporting us. Without her, the second half of this story would have never happened. Below is a no secrets kept account of my path to success, which includes things I have never talked about before and begins two years after my return to New Hampshire.
In 2005 I self-published my first novel, The Didymus Contingency. It did very well, winning awards and becoming a barnes&noble.com bestseller. As a result, I signed with Scott Miller, an agent at Trident Media Group, who still reps me today. But we were unable to sell Didymus to a large publisher.
In 2006 I was broke, jobless, had a two-year-old child and second on the way, so I did what any responsible father would do—using three credit cards, I started my own small press using print-on-demand, Breakneck Books. I published two more of my novels, which did well thanks to the fan-base Didymus had established. I also published novels by 10 other authors. During the following two years Trident Media was able to sell some foreign rights to my books as well, making them available in the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Thailand and Spain. These aren't huge money makers, but I could now say my books weren't just self-published! After two years of struggling (nearly giving up several times), but making a meager living from Breakneck, 2008 began with a bang.
In March 2008, thanks to the continually good sales of my three self-published novels (which I spent 70% of my time marketing), several things happened within a single month.
First, I received a three book deal from Thomas Dunne, based on a summary and a 75 page sample, for a series of books I had yet to write.
Second, my new business partner and I scored a sizable investment for a new, offset publishing company, Variance, which absorbed Breakneck Books as an imprint. With the new company formed I was able to sign a second three book deal with the company I now co-own and am publishing Antarktos Rising in mass market. Variance and Thomas Dunne are coordinating release dates and marketing plans as I now have six novels coming out in the next three years. A bonus of co-owning Variance is that I also have the pleasure of publishing and working with authors like NY Times Bestseller Steve Atlen, author of Digger, Joseph Flynn, #1 UK author Steven Savile and brigadier general, A.J. Tata.
Third, the icing on my success cake came just a week later when I landed a big budget movie deal for Antarktos Rising, which will be released in 2010. Following the tradition of anime masterpieces like Akira, Final Fantasy and Ghost in the Shell, I am extremely excited about this project and can't wait to see the final product.
If I could have seen the future, all those times I nearly quit, the struggle would have been much easier, but I also think the struggle is important. It sounds corny and cliché, but it does build character and I think keeps me humble despite my recent success. The struggle was long and hard enough that it will always be fresh in my mind. So there you have it, my success story in progress. Of course now that I have all these deals in place I have to actually sell slews of books!
Read more of Jeremy's story (and buy his books) here.
What about you? What is the deeper, richer life your heart is calling you to live? Where are you on that journey?