Tuesday, May 15, 2012
People ask me all the time, “What genre do you write in?” I used to not know how to answer. You see, I take pieces of real life, sometimes mine, sometimes others, and weave them into a fictional story. This is called narrative non-fiction or creative fiction or reality fiction or any of about a hundred other titles by the experts. In my world, I call it—real life fiction.
Take for example my book, Legends of the Lake. It’s a story about a family vacation home tucked away in the southern section of Wisconsin. The place where over four generations of the same family spent their summers and learned many life lessons from those around them. I wrote it in first person; so many readers believe it to be a memoir. Although based on some of my upbringing, the whole story is just that—a story. I took remembrances from my mother and aunts and uncles who visited there, along with my memories, and a story developed.
I like to write in this style, so most of my books use it. It’s easier for me to ‘feel’ the story when I write in first person. I started my career as an author writing on business trips to make the long nights go by faster. The more I jotted down ideas and memories, the more new ideas came to me. The journey of self-publishing became reality as not even one traditional publisher or agent gave me any positive feedback. Then I happened on an editor who told me my stories were very unique and that, if I tried hard enough, I would find readers who would understand my stories.
And I did.
After three years, my first book using AuthorHouse as a publisher, Sensitivity 101…The Search for Acceptance, sold almost 3000 copies. This was due to my marketing and my social networking and, of course, some luck. I say it was due to me because AuthorHouse does absolutely nothing for you…unless you pay through the nose.
One day I was on a plane trip back from Arizona and a very chatty older lady sat next to me. I was very tired and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I politely told her how I felt and offered her a copy of my book as a way for her to leave me alone.
She started to read it and immediately laughed out loud … and then cried, loud enough for the man next to her to take notice. As she read on, she changed emotions many times. By the end of the hour plane flight, she had read about half of the book. As we were leaving the plane, she shook my hand and said, “You have a winner here.”
I thanked her and continued walking off the plane. As soon as I reached the airport I felt a hand touch my shoulder.
”Excuse me, sir! Can we talk for a minute?”
“Sure,” I said, not too convincingly.
It was the man who was sitting in my row on the plane next to the lady.
“What was that book you gave the lady next to me?” he asked. “She sure seemed to enjoy it.”
I told him it was a copy of my newly released novel, gave him a copy and watched as he read the first ten pages.
“Can I buy some of these?”
“Sure, it’s on Amazon and everywhere books are sold,” I suggested.
“No,” he said, “I own a string of gift stores on a cruise ships and I think this would be a welcome addition. Can you help me get more than a few copies?”
I gave him the information he needed--my publisher and the company who distributed it, and he was gone.
Later that day I received an e-mail stating that someone had bought 1000 copies of my book.
Guess being lucky sometimes trumps being good.
This led to a ‘real’ publisher taking notice of me. All Things That Matter Press liked my second manuscript, the sequel to Sensitivity 101, and offered me a contract. Not only did they want that book, but they offered to re-release Sensitivity 101 under a new title and cover. In fact, Misguided Sensitivity and Life Is a Balance…It’s Not Only About You are both coming out in Spring of 2012. You can visit my website, www.PhilipNork.com for more information about release dates.
Going forward I will continue to write. I’m in the middle of a new manuscript, Tails You Lose, about gambling on horses and the addiction it can bring on. This one is not in first person, but does contain some real-life situations which happened to me or friends I know.
Thanks to other authors out there, people like Darcia Helle and Kenneth Weene, my name and my words are being distributed to people and places across the globe. And by me keeping the circle going, so are theirs.
To become a ‘fan’ of mine, you can go to www.facebook.com/authorPhilipNork or www.facebook.com/PhilipNork