Sometimes, I think my life as a wannabe author was much easier when I wrote dark, depressing poetry that even my wife wouldn’t read. I was a Debbie Downer. I also fooled around with some short stories and some articles with limited success. Like many other people, I was maimed in the shark-infested waters of publishing and fell for some schemes that wound up costing me money and leaving me with books that were “published” but which no one ever wanted to read and which no one really bought either. However, my writing life turned around a little when I wrote my first plays. I had been “drafted” by my school to be the drama instructor.
I had a hard time finding plays which I believed I was capable of directing because I was an English teacher first and definitely not a drama director, so I began experimenting with writing some of my own plays. One day I got a play catalogue, and I wondered if the publisher accepted freelance play submissions. To make a long story short, it did, and since that time seven of my plays have been published. There are some years when they do well, and I make some decent royalties, and I’ve had at least one year when no one produced them, and I didn’t earn a dime.
I am proud of having these plays published, and I get very excited when I look at the reports each year and find that some school somewhere in the country is performing one. So far, this year a school in Idaho is performing my most popular play Haunted Hamlet. Lately though, I haven’t really had many plays published because I’ve been aiming for bigger literary triumps. However, I did recently finish a one act and sent it to my old publisher. I’m anxious to see if they want to publish it. I’ve decided that if they accept it for publication that I’ll write something full length. Otherwise, I don’t know if I’ll do much more playwriting, especially since I’ve retired from teaching.
I have the first inklings of an idea for a screenplay, but I have to let the idea incubate in my mind for a while before I start writing. Writing screenplays and selling them are tough, especially for someone who doesn’t have any credits and who lives in Missouri. However, I enjoy the form. I’ve done well in some contests, which have encouraged me a little, but I’m not so naive as to believe that one day I will be in Hollywood pitching my screenplays to Steven Speilberg. If nothing becomes of the screenplay, I can always expand it into a YA novel. My idea fits into that genre.
In the meantime, I’m experimenting with some other ideas. Self publishing is one. I’ve self published Walt Michaels is a Weenie because I know it’s good. It was published once before, but it didn’t sell very well because my publisher didn’t really market it. I also know that it’s good because the screenplay I wrote on it finished in the top 100 of a contest, which if you don’t know anything about screenwriting contests, is very good. It has a lot of clean humor, and it’s a book that anyone, regardless of age can relate to.
I would really like to see two main things happen with Walt Michaels is a Weenie. I’d like for a few people to buy it and start giving me some reviews on Amazon. If the reviews are good and I think they will be, I can start using the comments in my ad campaigns for the book. I would also like to see Intermediate schools(4th, 5th, 6th grades) classrooms buy class sets of the book and have their students read it as an accelerated reader book. I have a teacher friend who is developing a test and discussion questions for it. If a teacher had 30 students in class, every kid could have his or her own ebook version for under $100 total. In this age of high-priced textbooks, that’s a bargain. I would also be interested in visiting schools who use the book just to talk to the kids about writing. These two are my immediate goals for my book.
I am not averse to self publishing further books either. I have some that are hard to pinhole into a marketable category. For instance, I have written a book that is a Young adult Christian horror book. I’ve also thought about republishing Fall of Knight, the revised version, and its sequel. Fall of Knight had about 36 reviews on Amazon, and my overall score was 4.6 out of 5. I think the second book is better than the first. I have ideas.
Of course I could just be manic, and all of these brilliant ideas will come crashing in on my head tomorrow. With bipolar disorder, such crashes come with the turf.