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Without further adieu....please join me in welcoming, author Ryan Jacobson!
Guest Post: Author Ryan Jacobson
I love guest posts, especially when bloggers suggest topics. Gina asked some great questions, which caused me to evaluate my path to authordom. I’ve decided that I can only be described as an “accidental author.” I mean, an author is someone who grows up devouring books, making up stories and dreaming of the day he finally gets published. Right? Um, not so much.
I grew up a reluctant reader—I started writing not because I loved stories but because I loved football. When I learned that our middle school sports reporter got to stand on the sideline during games, I volunteered. As it turned out, I rather liked writing and was pretty good at it.
Nevertheless, it took the rest of high school and three years of college for me to choose English as my major. I planned on writing radio commercials or greeting cards or mattress warning labels. Not once, though, did I think, “I should write a book.” And certainly not children’s books, as I’d never really read them.
Fast forward a few years, and I was writing radio commercials and greeting cards and mattress warning labels for Corporate America. Children’s books were the farthest things from my mind. But, as luck would have it, my wife’s brother became an editor for Capstone Press, assigned to work on history-themed graphic novels. He knew I was a comic book nerd and asked if I’d like to write one.
A comic book nerd asked to write a comic book? Are you kidding? I jumped at the chance. And, okay, I’ll admit it: The result was a boost to my ego that became addicting. (I remember my younger brother, whose said three nice things to me ever, saying it was “pretty cool” to look me up on Amazon.)
I did two more books for Capstone and realized (a.) comic books are more fun to read than they are to write, and (b.) I don’t love nonfiction. So I called it quits.
But then something funny happened. My kindergarten-teaching wife brought home the Magic Tree House book, Dinosaurs Before Dark. I don’t know why, but I read it—my first ever early reader chapter book. I simultaneously fell in love with the format and said, “I could totally write that!” And I did. I wrote a story called Santa Claus: Super Spy: The Case of the Florida Freeze. I loved it, stuffed it into a file cabinet and forgot about it.
That’s when heartbreak happened: infertility. My wife and I went through a very dark time, but we eventually found hope in the form of adoption. The problem? How would we ever pay for it?
We did everything we could, including several fundraisers, but the money didn’t come fast enough to keep our new dream alive. We decided to try something a little crazy. We dug out my Santa Claus: Super Spy manuscript and self-published it.
It worked! Twenty books (some self-published, some not) and two adoptions later, I’d say our gamble paid off.
Wow...what a story.
From fan to creator, heartbreak to a life of fulfillment....sounds like it was quite the journey but one well worth taking. Thank you for sharing your experience and I have to agree with your assessment of the middle grade format....you CAN totally do it. ^_^ Now my fellow readers, it's time for you to discover that very same truth. Drum roll please..... *ratta tat tat tat ratta tat tat tat ratta*
Thanks to the generosity of the author, YOU have the chance to win a copy of this fun-tastic book all your own. Here's the scoop!