Entering the Arena

Date: 2018 August 29


Entering the Arena

“The Book” – was the title of my first draft, completed December 17th, 2011. Having never traveled this path, I had a lot to learn. Weaving the twisted mountain pass, an opening appeared. Through the greenery I saw in the distance the peak. Realizing how far away I was, fear crept in while approaching mile marker, “Revision Seven”. I began second guessing this quest. Shaking off the notion, I decided to seek outside wisdom. Drawing upon the strength of my family and friends I share pieces of the story. Apprehensive of the response, I prepared for the worse.

Like dripping water slowly shaping the topography, the responses returned one by one bearing various comments. While the reviews varied it was exactly what I needed. The consensus reassured me of my intended destination…being published. Published? So, what’s the process in that?

As time slipped away, winter immersed the landscape in ice and snow altering the view. February 2012 saw me working double duty, by day a light duty cop, and by night a heavy duty want to be published author. The graveyard shift filled my time with researching how to get my novel into the hands of those who could take this piece of stone and chisel it into a masterpiece. I realized that there was still a lot to be done, including giving “The Book” an official title.

Searching the stars for answers, I was having problems finding the right name. What constellation would give me drive to carry on? It had to be unique, original and something catchy. One night while lying in bed, mentally scrolling through the endless possibilities, out loud I would say each variation over and over again. I began dissecting each idea, by letters, syllables and sound…Apocalypse…Apo-ca-lypse. Apoc-alypse…A-poc…Apoc! APOC!

Seconds later, an internet search identified no other book shared this title. But, there was something wrong. I didn’t like the way it looked with the “C”. What if I used a “K” instead? Another internet search cemented APOK in place. The Greek spelling and definition fit perfectly. Although I struggled for over a year to find a suitable title, the final process seemed remarkably easy. Next.

Everything that I read and researched pointed in the same direction, “Obtain an Agent”, get published. I read about the modern day writing giants who struggled to get an agent to notice them. Hour after hour I researched and read Agent profiles, examined their current client list and weaved together Query Letters that addressed everything they wanted to know. One by one letters went out with the prospect of hearing something within a couple of months. As I waited, my mind raced. I became paranoid. Thoughts of someone stealing my story concerned me. That was it. I was determined to get APOK published before someone released an identical book under a different title. More query letters went out.

As the rejection letters continued to mount, I refused to give up hope. I wasn’t going to allow someone else’s opinion prevent me from obtaining my goal. APOK is going to be published and shared with the world, but perhaps finding an agent isn’t the only way. More research identified several Self-Publishing options. Armed with that information I found out as much as I could, and the more I thought about the idea the more I enjoyed it.

Comparing myself to any entrepreneur, or industry pioneer, I realized that “Self-Publishing” isn’t for the faint of heart. Although I would own every aspect, the success or failure is directly related to me and my decisions. I had to accept full responsibility and demand the very best from myself and others. I understood that refusal to do so can have drastic results. Difficult at first, I had to develop thick skin to contend with the criticism required to refine APOK into a story deserving of the public’s time, money and attention.

Hiring a photographer, I set up the first APOK photo-shoot. In the real world, the saying you can’t judge a book by its cover isn’t applicable. Heading into the public arena nothing is sacred. I knew every corner would be scrutinized, starting with the cover. Somehow we had to capture the essence of the book with a picture; after all, the other age-old saying is equally true, a picture is worth a thousand words. Locating and obtaining permission, the initial shoot backdrop was a defunct police station jail block. Excited would be an understatement. I was pumped. We were about to make APOK come alive.


Mike’s thoughts

As a cop, I am all too familiar with the amount of scams and frauds on the internet and elsewhere. There are groups out there constantly trying to get something for nothing.

Compounding that knowledge, I know all too well the scary feeling trusting someone over the internet with your life’s work.

Writing isn’t easy. It takes a long time to do what you have done. Make sure you team up with people who share your goals. Do your research before sending them anything, money, your book even your name.

If you choose Self-Publishing understand that it can be extremely rewarding but it won’t be easy. You’re now a business owner and you need to start thinking like one.

Most of all enjoy the journey. This is all part of the experience. By doing your research and making sure you’re dealing with reputable people, you feel better about yourself and the situation. Less stress is always a good thing.


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