Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip: Successful Writing is not a Hobby

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week is about: Successful Writing is not a Hobby.

Being an author is both a journey and an adventure. Plus, it is always a challenge.

When reviewing your taxes the IRS views your business as a hobby if it doesn’t make a profit within 3 years. That strict rule should be regarded as simply wrong!

Writing is a business whether you profit or not. I’m going to look at 3 very important attributes of a successful writer. These are Writing is a Journey, Writing is an Adventure, and Writing is a Challenge.

Writing is a Journey.

When I first started writing I was a teenager. Nobody in my family or elsewhere knew of my secret desire to be a writer. I was afraid they would mock me. But that is when my journey began.

I knew nothing about writing other than I wanted to write books, novels in particular. My first step in my journey actually took place as a child. I liked to daydream and I had a good imagination. I would adopt characters from television and I would become that character, then I would fight the bad guys. I was a hero both on Earth and in outer space. But transitioning to a teenager I started writing my stories. The problem was that to continue as a hero, I had to write First Person. But that made me uncomfortable, so I changed to Third Person. This was the second step of my journey. This was an important step that has influence me ever since.

Over the years my writing was interrupted by service in the Navy, but I resumed after I got out. It was as a young man that I came across an ad for the Famous Writers School. I applied and was accepted (the school accepted just about anyone). I then paid for the course which I believe was a three-year course. I’ve sense learned that there was much dishonesty on the school’s part and that their fee was excessive. But I didn’t know that and started taking the course.

In any case, I did well in the course and was getting more confident. Then in 1974 I was laid off from work. I ended up dropping out and after resuming work I never reapplied. But my journey continued. Whether my grades were honest or not, I believed them to be and I pressed forward. This was my third step.

In 1973 I’d asked Jesus to forgive me my sins and come into my heart. Over time this proved not only life changing, but much of the trash (sin) in my life was not only forgiven but purged from my life. This was my fourth step in my journey as a writer, but more importantly it was an eternal step in my life. The influence of this new life would become far greater than a mere step!

 From 1973 to 2001 I pressed forward trying to write. After dropping out of the Famous Writers School I continued trying to write without any guidance. Time after time I would start writing. Sometimes I managed to write several chapters, but inevitably I would run into a wall. That would stop me cold!

Writing is an Adventure.

My journey continues to this day, but becoming a Christian turned it into an adventure. At first, I tried writing poems. I had one notable success with that in that in won my future wife’s heart. But writing poems was not my desire and I eventually stopped.

I then took up computer programming. I taught myself how to write Visual Basic programming and was able to write short programs for work and for myself. But as the computer programming got progressively more complicated and expensive. Being self-trained I couldn’t make the transition to the more complicated codes coming on scene. Thus, ended my brief career as a computer programmer. That had been an adventure, but I was soon to begin what I consider the adventure of a lifetime!

In 2001 I had been a Christian for 28 years. By this time I developed a morning devotions routine that included morning prayer and Bible study. One morning I was reading the Book of Genesis and the story of Noah and the Ark. Unlike the myth of Gilgamesh which was written after the fall of the Tower of Babel, the Bible story is a firsthand account probably written by Shem, the son of Noah, about 100 years or more before Gilgamesh . While often treated as a myth it is not.

As I read the account it suddenly came to me that here is a skeletal account of the events. God wasn’t interested in entertaining us but  explain history in such a way as to point to the coming of Jesus. But I, being interested in writing a novel and a lover of history, realized that here was a plot filled with characters and that I had the opportunity to clothe the facts with fictionalized skin to bring the people and events alive! It changed my writing career.

The next phase of my adventure involved research. Outside of the Bible there is no evidence telling us how people lived before the Flood. But both the Bible and secular history tells us a lot about after the Flood.

Using the Bible as the primary source of information (it’s the only reliable source) I began digging. It didn’t take long to realize that evolutionary theory has so corrupted our understanding of history that secular history varies, is often contradictory, and confusing. But when I focused on the 100 to 300 years after the Flood, I began noticing facts, such as the fact that a highly developed civilization existed shortly after the Flood. How do you explain that?

Doing the research proved to be hard, tiring, and eventually rewarding. It was an adventure. Researching for your story is not always so rewarding, but it is always necessary.

Writing is a Challenge.

The story of my researching the pre-Flood and post-Flood history could easily be placed here. Research is a challenge. But my focus here is on getting published.

In 2003 I submitted my first novel to AuthorHouse. As I recall it cost me about $400. AuthorHouse belongs in the category of a self-publisher. As I have blogged in the past there are three distinct types of publishers; Traditional, Self, and Indie.

At the time I was unaware of Indie publishing (I believe it came along later). The term Self-publishers suggests that you the author have control. You don’t. What it means is you pay upfront for the publishing of your book. Basically, that is the ‘self’ part. They control almost all of the power levers. Fortunately, I did know this and opted out of their Editing resource. I used quotations from the King James Version and feared they would opt for the unreliable newer versions. Aside from that I had very little control over the publishing process. Still my first novel got published and I was able to celebrate my becoming an author!

In the summer of 2014 my wife, Teresa, and I founded T&R Independent Books and we became Indie Publishers! This was the beginning of a new adventure and a lot of new challenges. Since then I’ve republished all of my previous books and published newer books. Soon we hope to start publishing Teresa’s books (under the name Tess).

Now, we are embarking on another venture under the T&R Independent Books business. This year we have opened our new service called TR Writing Services. I have discussed this in my last Tuesday Tip: Indie Publishing. In short, we guide any writer who wants our service through the various steps of getting published. This involves editing spelling and grammar, proofing, setting up their account with KDP, and getting the book published.

We are also thinking about providing their own web page on our website. It would include their photo, bio, book cover, and description with a link to their Amazon page. This would provide them a first step in their marketing.

What is a Successful Writer?

There are many answers to that question. The most common one is that a successful writer is one who makes money. The IRS would certainly agree with that idea, but is that really what success is all about?

That, in my opinion, is a short-sighted idea. Rather than money being the determinant factor why not the reading pleasure your book(s) bring to people who read your books?

A hobby suggests something you do in your spare time and maybe only a couple of hours a week. But a serious writer does far more than that!

No, I believe a successful writer is an author who works the craft of writing virtually every day. He/she invests time, energy, and money into their craft. And they write compelling stories. Money is a desirable byproduct or outcome, not the sole determinant of success.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Did You Know #1 Selling Book?

The Bible is listed as the world’s best selling book. I recently looked at an atheist website claiming it is not, but their arguments ranged from silly to just plain untrue.

So what are the facts?

For starters, the Guinness World Records estimate that over 5 billion copies of the Bible have been sold. That puts the Bible head and shoulders above any other book printed!

In a list compiled in Russell Ash’s The Top 10 of Everything 2002 it was estimated that the Bible has sold over 6 billion copies. Second place was Mao Tse-Tung’s “Quotations from Chairman Mao” at 900 million. Quite a difference!

Both the CBA (Association for Christian Retail) and ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) agree that the top three Bible versions are: 1) New International Version, 2) King James Version, and 3) New King James Version.

One dealer in Bibles makes this statement: “The King James Bible remains the greatest book in the English language, and the best-selling book of all time.

What I find interesting in all of this is the fact that the KJV Bible is no longer pushed by major publishing houses. They may print and sell them, but their marketing is aimed at their own version. For example, Zondervan publishes and sells KJV Bibles, but their marketing efforts are aimed primarily at the New International Version, which they own.

So in spite of the publishing houses moving away from the KJV it still is one of the top selling Bibles today. It seems to come in regularly at second place. That’s pretty good considering the lack of real marketing.

But since 1611 A.D., when it was first printed, the KJV has dominated the market and is the number one all time sales leader. How do we explain this?

In a Christianity Today article back in 2014 it said this, “When Americans reach for their Bibles, more than half of them pick up a King James Version (KJV), according to a new study advised by respected historian Mark Noll.

“The 55 percent who read the KJV easily outnumber the 19 percent who read the New International Version (NIV). And the percentages drop into the single digits for competitors such as the New Revised Standard Version, New America Bible, and the Living Bible.”

55 percent to 19 percent. That is crushing! But, again, I ask why?

Why is it that the NIV, which has dominated sales for decades, is a poor second to KJV Bibles being read? Or why is it that the ABS’s State of the Bible report points out that 52 percent of Americans read the King James Version while only 11 percent read the New International Version?

Among several reasons given, one study noted that 56 percent of women, 39 percent of men, and 70 percent of African Americans are more likely to read the Bible. But still no answer regarding the KJV.

In my search for an answer I found many pros and cons relating to the King James Version, but never an explanation of its power. But if you think about it, we don’t need experts.

I think that most Christians who have and read their KJV do so because it speaks to their hearts. Forget the so-called  difficulty of the language. Children learn to read and memorize it from all over the English speaking world.

The true power of the King James Version is not its accuracy (often dismissed but never really disproved), nor its poetic form (which enables easy memorization), nor its strong supporters. It is powerful because of all of that, but more so because historically God has used it in countless thousands, hundreds of thousands, yes, millions of lives!

No other version can make that claim, although they try to do so.

The Consequences of Research

That’s an interesting title to this blog, but I think you’ll understand better when I am finished.

From the day I began writing I have believed that a good author should support his work with diligent research. Since most of my writing deals with Biblical history it meant really digging into the Bible.

However, it also required me to dig into secular history. This is much harder because not all countries keep accurate historical records. For example, Egypt is a country with a rich history, but its records are confusing, at best.

When writing about Shem (The Rise of Shem) I quickly learned this fact. So what did I do. First, I looked for other secular sources that might provide accurate information. In a few instances I went only with the Biblical record.

This was true when dealing with time frames. Egyptian chronology is a mess. The consequence of this meant I had to reconstruct history as best I could by comparing Biblical chronology and Egyptian chronology. This was necessary to bring a semblance of reliability.

Why was this so important?

The story ranged from the Mountains of Ararat to Egypt and to Libya. As a storyteller I wanted the story to be as accurate as possible although it is a novel.

Another example of consequences was the writing of Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles and Perished: The World That Was. Both of these books dealt with the pre-Flood world.

Unfortunately there is precious little evidence of that world in secular writings.

The consequence of this fact was that I had to dig deeper and widen my net. I not only looked at the Biblical record, I also took a look at myths. While obviously myths they did provide hints at what ancient people believed about their past.

But while studying this issue I made a discovery.

Both in Biblical and secular history there was a sudden explosion of societal growth. Nations were founded, knowledge increased tremendously, and both economic and military growth were demonstrated. In the Bible this phenomenon occurred right after the Flood, while in secular history it simply occurs with no apparent reason.

But when I made the assumption that the Bible was correct and that it happened right after the Flood I discovered what I regard as a truth: The only way society could have advanced so far so fast was if they already had the fundamentals!

Using that truism I narrowed my study to the first 500 years after the Flood. It is simply amazing how advanced the society became in that short period of time. That realization led me to this conclusion: Those 500 years afford us a peek into the past; a peek into the world existing before the Flood.

That opened the past up for me and enabled me to write a reasonable description of what that world was like. Reasonable and probable. It made my novel work!

An author should never be afraid of the consequences of research. Sure, you may discover things that contradict your presuppositions, but you may also learn something powerful and transforming that will take your book to the next level.

Now you may have noticed that I made some assumptions along the way. This is true of all writers, no matter what their views are. My assumptions were that the Bible is always correct (a proven fact) and that secular history is often influenced by other factors other than a search for truth. I also made assumptions about the 500 years. These assumptions had the consequence of opening up my story and bringing it alive!

Your research may not take you where mine took me, but good solid researching will uncover facts that you can incorporate into your novel. The more facts you have, the more believable your story.

Perhaps you have been researching a particular subject. Has it changed your views or heightened them?

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

Why I Wrote, Did You Know About Bible History?

I recently published a new book entitled, Did You Know About Bible History? which delves into the history of the Bible. Not its doctrines, but its history from the very beginning.

Why did I write it?

First of all, I wrote the book because of the obvious ignorance that exists about the Bible. I have seen posts on Facebook from people I know, people who are intelligent, people who sincerely want to know the truth, yet they make claims about the Bible that just a little research would have shown to be false.

Another reason for writing the book is new Christians. Somebody visits a church, hears the gospel, and gets saved. Halleluiah! Now what do they do? Well if the church is solid they will begin disciplining the new Christian. And disciplining involves the Bible. Now they must trust something they have never trusted before. Can they trust the Bible?

The final reason is that I believe many, if not all, of this nation’s problems spring from ignorance or misunderstanding of the Bible. Our country was founded with biblical principles, as attested to by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but you can only understand those principles if you have an understanding of the Bible.

And you are hindered in understanding the Bible if you aren’t sure the book is trustworthy. The purpose of writing this book and the Bible Academy that hopefully will open soon is to enable men and women who sincerely want to know just what are the facts regarding the Bible..

I grew up in a world where the Bible was highly regarded by Christian and non-Christians. You didn’t hear such foolish comments that the Bible is only a bunch of myths. Nor did you hear the drivel that now pours from the lips of liberals undermining and denigrating the Bible.

The time and the need is now. I want to get this book into as many hands as possible. So I priced the book at $3.99, the so-called sweet spot for marketing. But to make it even easier to purchase, I created a coupon that lowers the price to $2.00 – virtually 50% off! The book is available at Smashwords and the coupon is JG39A. But the coupon expires on May 13, 2016.

I am passionate about getting this book out. Our country is on the brink of disaster! The dream that began over 200 years ago may soon evaporate. Case in point, the Bible tells us that the day will come when good will be called bad, and the bad will be called good. Large and famous companies are now threatening North Carolina for basically calling sin, sin. These companies now are calling transgenders “good” but the Bible clearly takes a different course. These companies have taken what they think is the moral high ground and have condemned North Carolina for taking the stance it has taken.

Such ignorance is not new, but is pervading every aspect of society.

As I said earlier, ignorance about the Bible makes all this possible. These executives should be required to study the Bible. That won’t happen. But if people learn the truths about the Bible, maybe they will change course. Some might call this a pipe dream, but I feel that I must try.

So if you want to know more about the history of the Bible and why it can be trusted, I suggest you click on the link to Smashwords and get this book in the format you prefer.