My guest today is psychological thriller writer, Erik Therme, who is currently published by Bookouture. Welcome, Erik. Can you tell us how you became a published author?
I didn’t read much as a child, but in junior high I discovered Stephen King’s novel Misery, and it awoke something inside me. Not the desire to kidnap a well-known author and hold them hostage at a secluded farmhouse (that impulse has pretty much always existed within me), but rather the desire to write. As luck would have it, my parents had recently purchased a typewriter, and I spent the next few days banging out my first story. It was a lousy tale with a nonsensical twist, but my folks—God bless ‘em—said they loved it. After that I was hooked.
More stories followed, and eventually I graduated to writing novels. Most of them were also fairly bad, but slowly, over time, my writing improved, and I began submitting to literary agents in the hope of finding a publisher. In the years that followed, I had a fair amount of nibbles and bites from agents, but nothing ever came to fruition. I continued to write and submit, determined to see my work in print.
Cut to five years ago.
I had reworked one of my early novels, Mortom, which I believed had the most commercial appeal, and decided to look into self-publishing. Years ago, self-publishing went something like this: you paid hundreds of dollars to a vanity press, who—in turn—would print a few hundred copies of your book. From there, it was your job to sell them to your friends and family, and maybe unload a few at your neighbor’s garage sale or give them away as Christmas gifts.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn the industry had completely changed.
An author could now publish their books through outlets like Amazon with no up-front cost, and royalties were paid on each book—just like with a publisher. That sounded good to me, and I wasted no time getting my book out there. Mortom didn’t sell a million copies, but it did OK, and I slowly began amassing a small (but loyal) group of fans that seemed to enjoy my writing. And truly, that was all I ever wanted: to share my work and be read. Life was good.
Six months later, life got better. I received an e-mail from a woman saying how much she enjoyed Mortom and she wanted to acquire it for her publishing house, Thomas & Mercer. Needless to say, I was more than happy to oblige, and I was off and running in the way I’d always dreamed.
I’d love to say that hard work and talent have guided me through five novels and three publishers, but the reality is that timing, luck, and circumstance have all had a big hand. So many times over those early years I wanted to give up, but nothing worthwhile in this world comes easily, and perseverance and dedication are half the battle. The journey has been anything but easy, but it’s also been fulfilling beyond my wildest dreams.
That was certainly a lucky break, Erik! Thank goodness you kept writing and persevering or your talent might not have been spotted. It just goes to show, never give up and your book might just fall into the right hands!
Here are some of Erik’s books
Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways: http://eepurl.com/cD1F8L
Check in next week to read Eric McFarlane’s writing journey.
And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’m talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.