Saturday, September 7, 2013

J.L.Lawson – How I Became a Published Author

at 2:30 AM

How I Became a Published Author

By: J. L. Lawson

That’s a funny story. You see, I haven’t been a doctor, lawyer, policeman, firefighter, air traffic-controller or lion tamer; so picking a childhood notion of “What will I be when I grow up?” didn’t happen. While at University, I worked as kitchen clean-up and assistant at a few local eateries, took training in Ikebana and landed a relatively long term gig with a start-up florist near my home. I worked in delivery for them as well as for a Scandinavian furniture store—very high end—and also moonlighted, literally, as a night auditor for a respectable motel on the interstate at the edge of Austin. I still hadn’t thought of writing for a living.

My first job out of college—with a double major in Renaissance History and English Lit, with a double minor in Greek (Koine: the dead language, not the people or culture) and Roman Republic Culture—I apprenticed to paint cars in a Body Shop. Really, no kidding. I went back to college for an Associate degree in Drafting with a focus on Land Planning (Architecture would’ve taken too many years and I already had a family to take care of). I worked as a draftsman for a small but successful firm, then rose to Associate Land Planner for several years with the same company and was very happy there. I was not considering shifting to writing at this point either.

My Land Planning “career” was going along swimmingly until my parents, somehow, talked me into (read: guilted me numb) relocating to California and heading up a manufacturing venture my crazy Uncle Al had gotten off the ground. So I became a Plant Manager of a fully capitalized and operational bottling facility… for all of six months before no paychecks and hunger drove me from that farcical existence to the Bay area and Silicon Valley. No hint in my mind as yet that perhaps writing was a viable career path.

I worked as a research gofer for the Research & Development arm of the top hard drive manufacturer of the time. A contractor’s work life dangles by a thread; I learned the hard way. I later contracted with a major Aerospace corporation after an interlude of early mornings throwing papers for the local Santa Cruz rag pursuant to being left jobless during hard times for the hard drive company. I rose through the Engineering Standards department, was made a permanent employee—with all the classified and top secret clearances attendant on that employ, and was offered the prestigious position of Department Chair. As fate would have it, that was when the economy went south, again, I and 40,000 other white collar folks found ourselves jobless again—last in, first out.. I headed back to Texas. It was over that non-stop trip with all my stuff in the back of my van that I realized I had gained the life experience and possibly the skills to venture into writing full-time. I had, during excruciating lulls in contract work, begun researching and sketching a rough draft of a science fiction novel. That had to wait.

I picked up contract writing and illustration jobs with the young an newly booming hi-tech companies then flooding into Austin, Texas. (Dell computer’s first ‘campus’ was just outside the back door of our building, where I hung out during smoke breaks.) Anyway, those contracts led to permanent positions and before I knew it I was back in the thick of the corporate world once more. One thing led to another and I ended up with a severance from IBM—don’t ask—and a solid nest egg of a retirement account. My wife, the second and last, and I relocated to some acreage in north Texas. I designed a system of ponds on these fourteen acres, had foundations built overlooking the largest of them, and proceeded to build our house from my own plans. Really. I plumbed, wired, erected the walls, the roof the gardens, everything, with erstwhile help from friends and the occasional contractor for things I couldn’t get permits for myself: Septic fields, transformer installations, etc. Perhaps it would finally be time to pick up my keyboard and finally start writing…

Then, from out of the blue, I was asked to step in for an ailing teacher. I went on a substitute assignment at a little private school in a nearby town—where one of my neighbors was at that time the science teacher. The few days initially requested turned into an entire semester and a half… Then ten years later I was still there, the only Literature and Composition teacher for all four grades of the high school. I graduated hundreds of great students over the years… and some who weren’t such great students, I just loved them anyway. Then came the my nemesis, the Overlord, once more into my life—the Economy—and that’s when I finally settled down once and for all at my laptop and started storytelling. That, my dear readers, was three years ago. After my first volume of the trilogy was compiled, edited and the cover art was in place, I spent a chunk of money on, what I later found to be a poorly connected independent publishing house. When my later books were ready for publishing I decided that I could do just as good a job outsourcing my needs as that first indie publisher had. I was corroborated in that decision by a rep from Voyager Press. They were transparently independent, had the experience I was just beginning to gain and offered me the confidence and guidance to pursue publishing on my own. A short while later I actually added my meager efforts to their on-going work—which is why my FB page says: “Head Whipping Boy at Voyager Press.”

I have published, independently, sixteen books. I am an integral part of a private publishing firm—all work and no glory, I’m afraid—and I get to read and offer edits to other writers’ submissions in addition to continuing my own writing!

Now I’m sitting here chatting it up with ya’ll. What a great job; I couldn’t be happier!

An Honest Man

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Metaphysical/Fantasy/Action Adventure

Rating – G

More details about the author & the book

Connect with J.L. Lawson on Facebook

Website http://voyagerpress.org/

Weigh Anchor

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Genre - Science Fiction/Metaphysical/Adventure

Rating – G

More details about the author & the book

Connect with J.L. Lawson on Facebook

Website http://voyagerpress.org/

The Elf & Huntress

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Science Fiction/Metaphysical/Adventure

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with J.L. Lawson on Facebook

Website http://voyagerpress.org/

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