Big fish in a small pond…or small fish in a big pond?

I attended a writer’s conference in Park City, Utah back in 2007 because I had a question in my head. I’d been writing for quite a while, but mostly for my own people. When I say “my own people,” I talk about members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There’s about a million of us in North America and about 25 million around the world. I’d written half a dozen books and quite a few articles and stories that had been published in Adventist publications. And I had a modicum of success.

But I was at a point where I wondered if there was more. I could continue to write books, articles and stories to my established audience, become well known, and live a relatively, yet somewhat predictable writer’s life.

But my question was: what if I were to try my hand at writing outside my comfort zone? What if I wrote for those who didn’t know me? What if I took the time to know those who weren’t necessarily like me, and tried to meet their needs. Adventists have been accused over the years of being somewhat isolated and of insulating themselves from The World. If we were ever to break through that insulation, I would need to try something different.

And so I tried the traditional route to begin with. I wrote a couple of science fiction books and tried to get an agent and get some attention from publishers. Nothing, no dice. Nada. Zippo. In the meantime, I was inspired to write some Christian fiction that I had a good sense would be frowned upon by my traditional Adventist publishing brothers.

So in 2012, I decided to go the independent (self) publishing route. For me, it was actually a lot of fun. Having been a book and magazine editor, I loved the idea of working on the total package, including writing, editing, formatting, cover, prepages and marketing. I fell on my face a few times, okay several times, but I learned a lot. And now I am at the point of teaching others how to do it as well as helping a few friends get self published themselves.

Some of the books that I originally published in the Adventist Church went out of print, and I got the rights to them. So I slapped a new cover on them, formatted them and put them out on Amazon. And they saw new life, even reaching people they otherwise wouldn’t have reached. Imagine that.

Today, I am still somewhat a big fish in a small pond. I tend to say that I am “small-town famous.” But I am working on getting my books out there into the greater world. I feel like it’s what I am supposed to do.