How I Got My Book Published.

It’s storytelling time.

I’ve been in and out of day jobs all my life. It’s never worked for me. I always either explode and quit or get fired. I usually feel bored, trapped, and dehumanized. It’s because I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, use my own mind. Not because I want to be superior to other people, but because I like solving problems. And I don’t like someone else stopping me from solving problems.

In 2007, after all the excitement over my How To Sell… record had faded, I ended up working at a real estate company in downtown Los Angeles. I hated my life and I needed out. I was angry all day long, wearing corporate clothing and working with a bunch of people that had no sense of humor. Two years before that, I had been living an artist’s existence. I had to somehow return to it. I started planning my escape, and writing a long list of “mantras” — things I needed to remember once I was free. Like self-brainwashing. I was going to remake myself.

In early 2008, I decided it was time. I had $2000 in the bank, and I quit. It was dangerous. Maybe stupid. The economy crashed. Within 2 months, I’d be completely broke again if I didn’t come up with a brilliant idea. In fact, I had spent 2006 – 2007 unemployed, so there was a good chance I’d be right back where I started.

Surviving in society has always been a struggle for me. It has felt almost like there’s a conspiracy to stop me from being who I am. It’s led me to long periods of anxiety, depression, and selling out. I’ve always felt like an outsider, unacceptable, unpopular. If I was going to get anywhere, I’d have to do it alone with nothing but do-or-die willpower. No one was going to invite me to work at their studio or be in their band. I just don’t use enough slang.

I’d have to somehow contribute to society. Make myself “valuable.”

As an Introvert, that’s not easy.

I decided that I would work from home, offering my “creative / technical skills” to everyone. I did a single free website, which led to a referral, which then led to dozens of referrals. It got out of control. I sold every talent I had to other people. Writing, web design, video editing, anything I could think of. If I didn’t have a skill, I learned it. Anything that I could do from home.

A lot of the time, I worked for free. I didn’t care. The free work was like advertising. Not intentional. I just decided that I would help anyone with anything, any time. (Unless they used corporate phrases like, “As per our conversation.” Then I told them to get lost.)

In the meantime, I kept writing my list of nutty philosophical mantras. The list got bigger. I found myself writing a lot of things that were counter-intuitive. Things that would be true, but would not seem true. Things that were backward, but would move me forward. It was confusing, but I kept going, in pursuit of my strange truth(s).

I decided I wanted to make a graphic novel. As a passion project. I was interested in fiction. Specifically, science fiction. Had no idea where to start. Bob DeRosa recommended I read Save The Cat! I bought the book, and liked the tone of it. The company that published it, MWP, had personality. Something about their catalog of books resonated with me. On a whim, I put together my creative mantras in a PDF and emailed it to them. I didn’t send it to any other publishers.

Within 24 hours, I heard back from them. They loved it. I had no agent. I had no pitch. I didn’t know anything about the publishing industry.

A lot of time went by — but as far as I know, there was very little debate. They asked me to expand on the concept and make it a real book. So I did. It was one of the easiest things I’ve done in my life. “Because it was supposed to be,” as Michael Wiese says.

And now, 2.5 years later, it’s published.

How? Simply put: I was a guy with some unpopular ideas, and the audacity to believe in them.

And that was that. And there it is.

8 thoughts on “How I Got My Book Published.

  1. Carl, thank you for sharing your story about how you got published. It resonated because I’ve been down similar dark alleys, trying to find my way to the light.

    Thanks again for your honesty.

    Todd Klick

  2. I feel like I know you…

    Enjoyed your story, especially the dedication to do what you wanted and not be part of the machine you despised.

    There is hope.


  3. “Follow your bliss. There’s something about living a life of integrity and the universe rushes in to support you. If you follow your bliss, doors will open where there weren’t doors before and where there wouldn’t be doors for anyone else.”
    —Joseph Campbell

    Great work, Carl!


  4. I’m so glad I came across your site about Introverts via stumbleupon. It led me to finding this post.

    We have some similarities. I myself have always longed for something I could do that was fulfilling and creative. I detest working for others and still dream of a successful small business (I had a plush animal business that the economy tanked). I also could never seem to hold down a job…and I, sad to say, am currently working in a real estate office with boring brokers (it was the only place that called back in the economy). I’m a total and complete introvert and have also felt the frustration of not fitting in and feeling like something was wrong with me.

    So, thank you, for posting your thoughts. It’s really good to know that I’m not the only person who feels this way.

  5. I’m feeling lucky 🙂 to have found your site through stumbleupon, I realised that afterall I’m not alone. I work in a software firm where I always have to work as a team with new people. That frustrated me a lot and drained my energy. I thought I am odd and even I thought of committing suicide. Now I have confidence to face the world. I’m planning to give up my job and settle for a low paying peaceful job and in the sidelines I wanna concentrate on learning new tech stuffs. Thank you so much :’) > btw i’m also interested in video editing.

  6. Same as Bennie, ‘stumbling’ in from Brussels. Nice (maybe a bit scary) to meet all you clones/clowns! But just as the rest, I was born dreaming, then tinkering but not studying, then finished film school, became an architect and am now writing. 50 years of living left, so being a virtuoso piano player is next on my list. After inventing a fruitless fruit-machine that is! All the best…

  7. Hi Carl,

    When I read this, I felt as if you were revealing me. I don’t like to work with others (I mean I rather be on my own) and lately have felt withdrawn.
    This article makes me want to complete my novel and do what I want to do!
    Thanks Carl!

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