Glen writes both fiction and nonfiction from his forty-year career and experience as a trial lawyer and consultant in international business and banking.
His nonfiction work as the observer in The Prison Trilogy tells the tales in chronological order of how he came to be a lawyer for a Wall Street Journal heiress and her gay husband and how that representation landed him in federal prison. That is the first in The Trilogy. The second book tells the story of his cell mate, Colonel George Trofimoff, serving life for spying for the KGB, and the final book of The Trilogy describes the prisoners, Glen’s experiences and takes a hard look at the American criminal justice system.
Michael: Glen, welcome back. So what has your journey been like so far as a self–published author.
Glen: It is not an easy journey. Of course, good writing is not an easy journey. However, you then wake up to the multitudinous aspects of marketing and the expense involved. Indeed, one has to be dedicated and committed. However, the alternative to self–publishing is certainly no panacea. A major publishing house will work us just as hard if not harder than when we are independent and for that take most of our royalties and perhaps own are copyright.
Michael: That is so true. Considering how much of the royalties traditional publishers take from the author, one would think that they would do all the book promoting work. But that is why we have so many indie authors out there. Writers are simply fed up with traditional publishers directing their masterpieces and giving them table scrap for their hard work. Writers want more control of the directions their books go and more control of their royalties. So what led you to the decision of self-publishing?
Glen: I have never sent out a query letter. I found the idea of querying agents apparently useless, and I was never able to discern who was a good agent and who wasn’t. I quickly abandoned the idea in favor of being independent. The most difficult part of the process for me is and will always continue to be marketing. Like so many of us, I thoroughly enjoy the writing process as well as research, and I am quite fortunate in having a good editor who takes care of me in that profession. What I am most proud of is getting George’s story out to the public.
Michael: Oh definitely. I remember when I went through almost a hundred hours querying agents and doing research to figure out which agent I should really query. I’m glad that you were able to tell George’s story by self-publishing. So, I’m sure our readers would like to know more about your writing journey. Can you tell us what are the greatest lessons you’ve learned throughout your writing journey and how these lessons have molded you into the writer you are today?
Glen: Since The Trilogy is nonfiction, I utilized the element that is required for this type of writing which I had used throughout my professional career – – documented research. I think even in the fiction genre research is necessary. For example, when Grisham writes a story regarding a complicated legal or social issue, he is clearly done his research. Accuracy is most important in what we write.
Michael: Oh definitely, fiction writers have to do a ton of research to create a believable story, and of course even more so for non-fiction writers. So, what is the best advice you were ever given as a writer. How is this advice reflected in your writing?
Glen: As trite as it may seem, “show, don’t tell” is probably the best advice I ever received, and following closely behind, is the advice to write with urgency and passion.
Michael: I agree, that is definitely the best advice. There’s been so many times I’ve put down a book because the writer had wanted to tell you everything that was going on instead of showing it. I made the read very bland. And definitely writing with urgency and passion keeps your reader interested throughout the book. So a writer has incorporated these advices into their book and now has a manuscript. People say that writing your book is only a quarter of the battle as a writer. One of the biggest struggles is promoting your book. How has your journey been in promoting your book? What seems to have worked for you and what doesn’t?
Glen: It is clear for all of us that we may have the best book ever written. But if people don’t know about it, they can’t read it. I think most of us as independent authors are overwhelmed by the plethora of services on the Internet, as well as the claims therein made, forgetting our book known about throughout the public. Of course, we are competing with the over 1 million volumes newly published each year. I know of no easy path.
I do believe this. The major publishing houses succeed in getting books that they publish known about throughout the reader population because of the amount of money they spend in advertising, after they have identified the target market, and because of having influence in the publishing and marketing industry. Of course, most of that money that they spend ultimately comes out of the author’s pocket. The only advantage is that it comes out on the backside, as opposed to having to put the money up front out of the author’s pocket.
That tells me that we as self–published authors must be willing to spend all that we can to get our book known. It won’t get known by itself. The caveat is for each of us to do our research in deciding who is our target market and who can get us there. Not an easy task.
Michael: That is so true. Many writers are very concerned about the upfront costs of self-publishing and self-promoting their books. But think of all the costs involved with a traditional publisher. A typical publishing contract leaves the author about 10% of their royalties and as I mentioned before, one can easily spend hundreds of hours querying agents and publishers. I’m not sure how much a hour you get paid, but that adds up quick quickly.
Glen, thank you again for joining us a second time. We really enjoyed hearing about your insights on writing, publishing, and promoting.
Please checkout Glens last book in the Observer series by clicking the book cover below.
Observer The Prison People; The Prison Experience Book 3
…to living the prison experience…
• The last book in the Trilogy sensitively portrays author Aaron’s fellow inmates in Part I: their uniqueness as people, the situations that brought them to prison, the hopes of some, the hopelessness of others. In Part II, the author describes the prison experience. This third book in The Prison Trilogy is not an “oh-poor-me” tale. It is a tale written with straightforward honesty and eye-opening enlightenment unknown to the average person. Aside from being a must-read, it is entertaining.