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In 2002, I was a struggling unemployed brother with a dream of publishing a book.
Fresh off completing a term of service with Americorps*VISTA and still searching for full-time work, I was down to my last $600 in savings. My first two manuscripts The Changing Soul and Isis went nowhere when I submitted them to trade publishers and literary agents. I had exhausted all my known contacts and couldn’t query anyone else in the publishing world.
So I decided to take a risk and self-publish my first book with virtualbookworm.com, a print-on-demand publisher. For $200 I self published Isis, an African-American fantasy piece.
Ten years later book still remains popular with readers. Not blockbuster numbers, but people still pick the book up in paperback and eBook on a regular basis. Mostly eBook these days, but it still moves.
Self-publishing Isis opened the door for my writing career.
Over the past decade I’ve self-published six paperbacks and close to twenty eBooks. Learning a lot along the way, I’ve written everything from novels to non-fiction. I’ve even written articles and feature length screenplays. Most of my books and eBooks have received positive reception from reads and critics, and my blog continues to build a following of readers all over the world.
Ten years ago I took a chance on myself. I realized if no one was going to take a risk on me, I’d have to take it myself. I didn’t have much money to invest in things like book promotion, but I just had faith that people would discover my books and take a chance on them and like them.
Ten years later I’m still not where I want to be. I’m still looking for full-time work that will allow me to pay my bills. And I’m still working towards my big break.
But I’ve come a lot further down the road then I was a decade ago. I have to thank God for blessing me with this opportunity to move ahead in my writing career.
I’m hoping in the next ten years I’ll finally get my big break in the publishing world and have that best-selling book. That readers of this blog will actually be able to pick up a Shawn James book at a table or a shelf of a Barnes & Noble or an independent bookstore.
Until then I’ll just keep writing.
I want to take a moment to Thank everyone for their support over the past 10 years. Without you buying and reading my books and this blog I wouldn’t have come this far over the past ten years. I’m hoping you stay with me for the next ten. I’ve got some great stories I want to tell you.