By Author Phil Bolos, Fiend – The Manifestion
“You wrote a book?” says Nick as he stares at the computer screen. His expression is one of disbelief and surprise, but suddenly it changes to confusion. His head tilts slightly to the left and he faces me.
“When did you have time to write a book?”
I still laugh when I think of that conversation. Nick’s comments were not unjustified, because, let’s face it, it takes a lot of time to write a book and most of us don’t have enough time to get enough sleep let alone write a complete novel. I’m a middle school teacher with two preps, meaning I have two different subjects that I teach each day. These classes have to be planned for because, as any teacher will tell you, if you go in without a plan you might not come back out alive.
After teaching, I coach for the school. Cross country in the fall and volleyball in the winter. On the weekends, my wife (who is also a teacher and coach) and I work Saturday programs for gifted students. This leaves exactly one day off for doing everything else in our lives. So, when Nick asked, “When did you have time to write a book?” it really made me think.
My journey as a writer began the day that I graduated from Northern
Illinois University. I walked the stage, took my diploma, and went to
a family party. Then, I headed back to NIU with my wife (then
girlfriend) and celebrated college style with my friends. That night,
as we were leaving our favorite establishment, a man in a black trench
coat brushed past me. I don’t know who the man was or where he was
headed, but I will never forget the look, the presence, he had. That
night, a new character was born from one simple encounter.
The next morning, I started writing. I didn’t know exactly what I was
writing, I just knew what I had in my head was something special that
needed to be let out. The writing was going great until a week later
when phone calls started coming in for interviews at different
schools. This was a turning point for me because, as so many people
say when thinking of things they want to accomplish, life got in the
way. Writing became secondary and finding a job and making money
became the primary focus.
For several months, the writing was pushed aside as I interviewed and
sent out more resumes. Eventually, it all paid off and I landed a job.
But, like most teachers who are first starting off, teaching alone was
not enough to maintain a comfortable life. Second jobs and third jobs
kicked in as I tried to bring in enough money to be able to live a
good life with my new fiance and put something into savings. I was
doing alright, but that man in black in my mind kept taunting me,
screaming for me to let him out. I devised a new plan that would allow
my writing world and my everyday world to coexist: sleeping would have
Not entirely of course, but enough so I could maintain, effectively,
two lives. This went on for two years and then, at long last, it was
finished. My novel was complete and it was ready to be polished and
sent off to the printers. This was another eye opener for me. After
close to a hundred query letters and emails, I discovered that no one
wanted to print the novel. People seemed to love the idea, telling me
things like, “It sounds great, but you have no audience,” or, “This
would be a great novel, but you have to get some backing behind your
name.” What is a young author to do to get into a game where the only
way you can play for the first time is if someone knows you from
playing somewhere else? Publishers won’t take you because you don’t
have an agent, and agents won’t take you because you aren’t published.
A vicious cycle.
This problem forced me to do research, which led me to a lovely woman
site a bit, I made my introduction and began a peer editing process
that was both nerve racking and wonderful. I received feedback,
actual feedback, that I could use to improve what I had created. I
was introduced to new people who actually helped me to become better
and to move forward in becoming a published author. These wonderful
people, out of the goodness of their hearts, helped the unknown author
with no audience and no backing to his name.
So, that’s my story in a nutshell. A story that is just beginning. As
more and more people ask me how to get published and how to become an
author, I try to look back on my story and figure out how I did it and
what I had to overcome. Sacrifices have to be made, in my case sleep,
and you have to be determined to go back again and again and not stop
until the job is done. But, the key ingredient to making it all work,
is finding the right people to step in and help you when the time is
Learn more about Phil by connecting with him on Facebook: http://facebook.com/philbolosauthor