Amish Love Stories
Thursday, August 15, 2013
I started writing in 2010 about the same time I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The diagnosis was surprising because both my parents died from colon cancer, which was my concern. At the same time, my lighting business hit a real slump with the construction slowdown. I try not to whine too much but fall short.
In March of that year while talking to my oldest daughter Erica and crying in my beer (wine actually) about my dilemma of being 63 and out of money, she was very reassuring when she said, “Don’t worry Dad; there are a lot of baby boomers in the same boat.”
Thanks a lot, and grab a paddle. That’s when she suggested I start writing my “end of the world as we know it” book. Erica was unemployed at the time and offered to make a web page. She had never constructed a web page before but assured me she could figure it out. Then she had a really novel idea: Write the book (it didn’t have a name at this time) and sell it by the chapter as I wrote it. That would help raise the necessary funds to have it printed.
That evening I couldn’t sleep, because the idea of selling a book by the chapter was so crazy it might work. About midnight, I got out of bed and started The End. The next day Erica tried to register the domain name of www.TheEnd.com, but the name was already in use. Oh no! Another dilemma.
Movies have previews available on the Internet. Usually the domain name is something like jawsmovie.com or friedgreentomatoesmovie.com; and an idea was born. Erica checked and registered www.TheEndTheBook.com so what I thought was another dilemma, really was not. God works out mysteries in our lives.
Within a month I had completed 5 chapters, and we sold them for a dollar a chapter through the web page. One lady wrote and asked how many chapters I was planning? I told her that my mortgage company had asked me to write 5,000 chapters! We decided to set a price for the completed book at $32.00 in advance, not having any idea of what it would cost to publish.
During the next 10 months, the readership base continued to grow and about $3,000 was raised.
I had no idea when I started writing The End The Book that the publishing field is full of procedures and egos, especially egos. I researched the Internet seeking an agent, offered manuscripts to many and was turned down by every agent I contacted. Only 1 (out of about 30) agent even corresponded with me. It went something like this:
Agent: So what do you want to accomplish? Are you trying to get rich or just impress your family?
Author to be: Well, I do hope to supplement my income. Times are hard, but mainly I want to write a story that will be appealing to those who don’t believe in God. My market is not the saved but the non-believer.
Agent: You will never make it with an “end of the world” story. Publishers have the “big guys” writing those books, like Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. They won’t even pay attention to a new author on the scene.
Author to be: I have a great story to tell; it’s going to be quite thought-provoking.
Agent: Remember this, if you want to make money writing Christian books, tell the Christians what they want to hear.
Author to be: What do you mean by that?
Agent: You know, pre-trib rapture, severe judgments on the bad guys, born again requirement to make it to heaven.
Author to be: But I want to provoke thought, even for the believer.
Agent: Give it up. You’re no Tim LaHaye, I promise. You should write Amish love stories.
As I did more research, I got to the part where it stated that it could take 10 years or more to get a good agent. I decided to self-publish, because I wasn’t really sure if I would be around 10 years.
God blesses me on a regular basis, and it’s not because I deserve it. Now, three years later, I’m cancer-free after radiation treatments and just completed the 3rd novel in what is now THE END The Book: The Series and there will be Part One through Part Seven. Yes, it takes several parts to end the world!
After publishing the first book in the series, I received an email recommending that I check out the Omega Letter website. I did and was so impressed with the news offered and the great writers, especially Jack Kinsella. I contacted Omega Letter to see if I could advertise my book. I immediately received an email from Kari (Jack’s daughter, though I didn’t know that) asking if I would submit a book so they could see if it was appropriate for their readers. I had Part One in the mail to Canada within an hour. Then a funny thing happened.
The next day I received an email from Kari, only the email was supposed to be for Jack’s eyes only. Inadvertently, she copied me. The email is still in my files and here it is in a nutshell:
“Dad, I got an email from a guy in Atlanta. He wants to advertise his book on the web page. I know we don’t usually do that, so do you want me to just tell him we’re not interested?”
I responded to Kari with a smiley-face and asked if she meant for me to have this copy. Well, I could almost feel Kari blushing. She apologized profusely, saying she hated when she did that! She promised to read my book. A few days later, Kari asked if I would be interested in writing a couple of articles and OL would post my book cover. Now I am blessed, once again, with a family I never knew existed, the Omega Letter Family. God weaves mysteries in our lives.
Part Three: Visions and Dreams is complete. I am trying to Pre-sell as many copies as I can to raise the money to publish and promote. Without an Oprah-break, I don’t think a large publisher will consider my manuscripts, though Oprah-breaks do happen.
Omega Letter readers have been so supportive to my writing efforts, it has been humbling. Last week an OL reader purchased Part Three, so I wrote him a thank you note. He had already purchased Part One and Part Two. I explained that I was going to offer a “special” for OL readers. He emailed back and said he didn’t really need a special deal, that he wanted to support my ministry and asked if he could donate a couple of hundred dollars. Well, I nearly dropped my teeth!
Part Three: Visions and Dreams takes off where Part Two ended, as Jeffrey Ross begins to question his belief that the Bible is mythology. There were just too many things happening that his dear Mom had always preached about: wars and rumors of wars, plague and famine, weather disasters and earthquakes. And then there were the disappearing people.
I have received wonderful comments from those who are reading the series, many hoping the series will become a movie. Who knows? I have a message to get out, and I have tried to wrap it in a thriller and love story that asks many questions about our belief systems and why Islam and Judeo-Christianity seem to be constantly in battle.
Kari has provided a link for Omega Letter readers only. Special pricing is available at this link. Additionally the first buyers will get a Ten Commandments lapel pin as long as the pins last. I only have a few.
We have two book video trailers for Visions and Dreams. I thought the video I made was pretty doggone good until I saw Erica’s. You decide!
My video: Part Three
Erica’s video: Part Three
Thank you to the Omega Letter Family and to all the people who have supported my writing efforts. To think all this started with Chapter Signings instead of Book Signings! And I thank God for the financial crisis. I probably would’ve never started writing. Mysteries from God.
By the way, I don’t plan to write any Amish love stories! And if you need any light bulbs, just let me know!
About J.L. Robb
Last week: King David's Palce Discovered
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