Monday, October 12, 2015

How to Make it as an Author, Black Sea Review, Submarine Movie Trivia, Battle of the Banned, and Ninja News

Five Years or Five Books to Make it as an Author

Jamie Ayres said something really interesting last week in her IWSG post:

Almost everyone I’ve talked with or listened to on panels took five years or five books to truly ‘make it.’

Now, I’m about to hit five years come October 19. (That’s when my first book, CassaStar, was released.) But if it truly takes five books, I’ve only had four published. (Not counting my boxed set and numerous anthologies.)

My first thought? Crap, you mean I have to write another book?!

I was just starting to enjoy writing short stories. Writing yet another book – I just wasn’t planning on it. And what do I write? Another science fiction book?

I got news for you guys. Science fiction is not a big seller. If I wanted to write in a genre that sells big, I’d write mysteries. But that’s not my genre. I could write fantasy, but unless I’m doing detailed, high fantasy with a lot of sex and violence, I don’t think I’ll do well there, either. My Cassa series is done. Dragon of the Stars is a stand-alone book. Outside of Dragon’s Destiny, the short story I wrote for anyone who has read the novel, I can’t think of anything more I could do with the characters.

So, where does that leave me?

Well, even if I never ‘make it,’ this journey has been far more amazing than I ever imagined. Four books, one boxed set, numerous anthologies, the IWSG, and a multitude of friends. That sounds like I made it to me.

Movie Review – Black Sea

From the IMDB: In order to make good with his former employers, a submarine captain takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold.
An interesting movie – had a great claustrophobic atmosphere to it.
Jude Law is great in the film as the lead. The other characters are good, ranging from Scottish to Russian. Ben Mendelsohn’s character was a head scratcher, though. Why would they allow a mental case on the boat?
It had some flaws, but overall entertaining. If you like submarine movies or even adventure films, it’s worth a rental.

Ninja News

Angela Ackerman is visiting the IWSG today, talking about One Stop For Writers and how it all came together.

Today’s Themes That Rocked the Challenge feature at the A to Z Blog is Saraallie’s Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme with lots of pictures!

On Blastr: Marvel announced some new movies and release dates:
Ant-Man and the Wasp will release July 6, 2018
Black Panther has been shifted to February 16, 2018
Captain Marvel will release on March 8, 2019
Three unnamed movies will release May 1, 2020, July 10, 2020, and November 6, 2020

Patricia Lynne is hosting the Trick or Treat Book Blog Hop. Free books and a great chance to promote! Visit her site for details.

Mason Canyon of Thoughts in Progress posted about a writing contest - World’s Best Story. Top three winners will receive a full publishing package by FriesenPress. Lots of other prizes. Deadline November 8. See Mason’s site for details.

Despite a lower return on the third film Expendables 4 will begin shooting next year. Like Resident Evil, this series will go on as long as most of the cast lives…

Jessica Therrien’s Read and Review Challenge is underway! Tons of books available for free for a review. (Including one of mine.) Read and review ten books by March 31 to be eligible for some really awesome prizes. Visit the Read and Review Challenge Library for details and a list of books.

New Release!
A Beautiful Betrayal by Saran Torchre (Shah Wharton)
Her blog tour kicks off this week!
Find A Beautiful Betrayal on Amazon

Just a few weeks remaining for the IWSG Anthology Contest, open until November 1! The theme is Alternate History/Parallel Universe and any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter. Winners will be published in a royalty-paying anthology next year.

Battle of the Banned and Monday’s Music Moves Me

This is Shady Del Knight’s Battle of the Banned. (Yes, Banned, not Band.) It pits two songs against each other and you vote for your favorite.

I’m also participating in X-Mas Dolly’s Monday’s Music Moves Me with this entry.

The theme this month is Halloween. Now, I am all about the rock and metal. My initial search yielded no results for Halloween themed songs with covers. So, I decided to be a rebel and pit two different songs against each other.

First up is Rob Zombie’s Living Dead Girl. Rob is a huge horror movie fan, and his music and videos reflect that. (He’s also headed up the production of Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights and made several horror films.)

Next up is Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark at the Moon. In his early days, Ozzy went for the evil look, wavering between horror and the occult. (Because it was hip. Now we know he wasn’t a Satanist – just a dude who’d fried a few too many brain cells.)

You know the drill – which song do you like best?

Movie Trivia

Submarine movies! Guess the movie from the stars and the year.

1 – Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Viggo Mortensen - 1995
2 – Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Holly, Rob Schneider - 1996
3 – Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Donald Pleasance - 1966
4 – Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Sam Neill - 1990
5 – Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Jon Bon Jovi - 2000
6 – Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon - 1975

Answers next Monday!

Do you think it takes five years/books to make it as an author? Seen Black Sea? Excited for more Marvel movies? Participating in the Read and Review Challenge? Which song do you like best? And do you know any of the trivia…?

My wife and I are going on vacation this week, so you won’t see me much around the blogging world. I’ll stop in when I can and keep up with emails.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm not sure about that. I think maybe three books. The more the merrier, of course, but three so that one can be permafree.

Wow, I haven't seen Jude Law in a movie for a while. Not sure if that's because I haven't been to the movies, or he hasn't been acting!

Enjoy your vacation!

Ray Rousell said...

For a change I think I know all the answers to your Movie Quiz!!!

mail4rosey said...

I like Bark at the Moon the best. Reminds me of being a teen. :)

Happy vacationing to you!! Enjoy that resting time before you start on your new book (kidding... unless you are, and then wishing you lots of smooth luck). And yep, you've got a great resume there, with the book writing. I'm impressed. I can't imagine the work and tireless effort that goes into writing even one, much less as many as you have completed. I bet it's an awesome feeling to see your own books on the bookshelf. :)

Cindy said...

There are some authors with just one book that have made it. Of course, those are rare. I think you describe success well. The satisfaction includes all the friends you make along the way.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I definitely agree success doesn't come overnight. There are five books in my Season Avatars series, but three have yet to be published. I wonder what will happen once I complete the series.

I'm glad you enjoyed your journey so far, and congrats to everyone with news or a new release!

The only submarine movie I know much about is Yellow Submarine, and that one isn't part of your list.

Murees Dupè said...

I think you made it. You're an inspiration to me and I hope to at least achieve a fraction of what you already have. You are the man! Even if you never write another book, I think you are awesome. Thank you for all you do for others and the blogging community.

kaykuala said...

Four books, one boxed set, numerous anthologies,
the IWSG, and a multitude of friends.
That sounds like I made it to me

Certainly you have Alex! You can well relax a little with the forthcoming short stories.A lot of others are playing 'catch-up' with no books yet!


ELAdams said...

The two ways I've seen authors "make it" is through getting lucky with one book, or writing in a series. My sales might not be stellar, but I love writing and can't imagine doing anything else.

Patsy said...

I don't think it needs 5 years or 5 books to make it - but I do think having multiple books published helps those of us who don't become instant best sellers with the first one.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think you've accomplished a lot with all your books. And yes, science fiction may not be as popular as some genres, although there have been a number of books published in YA these last few years.

Anonymous said...

"Sharon!" Whenever I think of Ozzy, I hear him calling her name. Love that guy. And his videos were 80s to the max! "Is that Julie?" "No way!"

Wow, you just brought back some 80s flashbacks. Talk about burning some brain cells. hehehe :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Write what you want to write, Alex. You can always pull a bunch of those short stories into an anthology later.

Here's Neil Gaiman on where inspiration comes from. I really like his suggestion that ideas often come while you're doing something else. And his "what if" questions for daydreaming is hilarious.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Leovi said...

I like films about the sea, Black Sea Welcome again!

Limbo Delirium
Black & White Abstracts

Mason Canyon said...

Alex, it's hard to believe it's been five years already. You've done a wonderful job and anything you decide to write will be a great success. BTW, watched The Martian last night on your recommendation and really liked it. Thanks. Thanks also to the shout out about the writing contest.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - you've accomplished far more than you thought you'd do - I expect, have done things you didn't expect to do ... and now really the world is yours to choose from - you could do promotional talks - but I suspect that's not your style.

The main thing is - you've helped so many along the way, and you still are .. guiding, coaxing and encouraging loads of us ...

Enjoy the break and see you anon .. cheers Hilary

mshatch said...

I only know #4: Hunt for Red October. Have a wicked fun vaca :)

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex! Our brains must be hooked together with jumper cables, good buddy. I will be using Rob Zombie's "Living Dead Girl" in my second Heavy Halloween Banned Battle two Mondays from now, but in a different way. It should come as no surprise then that I am voting for Zombie in your battle. If the other contender had been Ozzy's "Shot in the Dark" I would have voted for it. However, I don't like "Bark At The Moon" nearly as much. During his solo career, Ozzy turned to what I would describe as a form of commercial pop metal. Rob Zombie, on the other hand, stayed dark, sick and sinister, true to the horror genre, and his recordings seem fresh even today.

Thanks, good buddy. I'll be posting my vote results next Monday and running another BOTB the following Monday to take us through H-ween.

My vote: Rob Zombie "L.D.G."

Cathrina Constantine said...

My 5th book is being released Oct. 24th, does that mean I've made it as an author? Hmmm...It doesn't feel like it.

You've accomplished so much!! Not only with writing your books (which received many awards) but you are a superstar among bloggers!!! And then the IWSG is astronomical!!!

I truly believe you CAN write a mystery!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elizabeth, I have four and none are free.

Ray, that's good!

Rosey, it is really cool. Thanks!

Cindy, it does!

Sandra, hopefully something big! And no, that isn't one of the answers.

Murees, thanks - I appreciate that.

Hank, that's very true.

Natalie, shame I don't write young adult.

Elsie, glad I could help.

Thanks, Donna!

Mason, you're welcome, thanks, and glad you liked the movie.

Hilary, and it's the helping others along the way that has meant the most to me.

Marcy, thanks, and you are correct!

Shady! Obviously the Halloween brainwaves were flying. Shot in the Dark is a better song, but wanted as much horror element in the song and video as possible. Thanks for voting and for starting this.

Cathrina, thanks!

Christine Rains said...

I've released more than five books... or does that count only for novels? I think the journey is different for everyone and we can't quantify it with a number. You've definitely made it! :) My vote goes to Rob Zombie. Have a lovely vacation!

Tonja Drecker said...

I wish there was a formula like 5 books, 5 years. We'd know what to expect. But I'm betting it's not that clear. A mystery w/ a scifi twist? Have a lovely vacation!

Jo said...

What really defines success? I have a feeling J.K. Rowling was successful with her first book. Brandon Sanderson wrote quite a few books before he became a "success". Does it mean making money or being in demand? There have been some science fiction writers who are/were successful. Look at Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. Today we have Catherine Asaro with her Skolian Empire series and David Weber with his Honorverse books. I personally loved your books and I know in my heart of hearts that you will be writing more books.

A Beer for the Shower said...

But I just want to know what constitutes "making it." With royalties usually being something like $1-2 per book, even if you sell 10-20,000 copies a year you're still not making enough to live as a writer and support your family. Here in Colorado, in our 500+ member writing club, we don't know a single author, traditional or self-published, who can just be an author full time. One of those guys even won a Colorado book award... but he has a "real job" because he only sold about 5,000 copies last year. So what's the definition of success?

We've released 8 novels, we've sold a ton of books, and we've made a slew of loyal fans, but neither of us feels like we're even close to making it just yet.

TBM said...

Defining success can be tricky, since the word means different things to everyone. I agree with your definition. Success doesn't just amount to just book sales. The journey and relationships along the way play a vital role.

Have a lovely holiday.

Yolanda Renée said...

Heading out on vacation too! Have a great time!
Margaret Mitchell only wrote one book - so...

nashvillecats2 said...

You have done excellent in the writing field plus all the blogging you do. Have you got a secratery to help you?

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I think "success" and "making it" as an author is so personal. For some, it might mean money and nothing else. For others, it might mean a prestigious award but little money. For some it could be the respect of their peers more than that of readers or vice versa, etc.

Was in the mood for something funny this weekend so re-watched My Cousin Vinny - still cracks me up. :)

Robyn Campbell said...

Have a great time. Buy Mrs. Ninga Captain a special surprise and treat her like a queen. I hope you have a lovely time. Will miss you.

I always loved Ozzy's music. And yeah. Brain cells are completely fried in that guy. I have to pick Rob Zombie for this one though. He's so cool. :-)

YaY Ange. One Stop is my only stop.

Look, Alex. You have definitely MADE it. All these people who stop by here sincerely love you and your writing. There are different opinions on 'making it'. You have. You are an inspiration, Alex. You engage and inspire. I am so proud to know you.

Have a great R & R, my friend.

Truedessa said...

Good Morning,

How do you define success? Is it one book or five books? How does one measure success? It is not the number of books that defines success as success is subjective. Sometimes it is about the journey and not the book at all. Just my thoughts. I have never been published and I tried a few years back and I have a couple of small chapbooks that I keep in my personal treasure box unpublished. My heart is what defines me and we all know I am a dreamer and sometimes dreams don't come true.

The Black Sea looks intriguing. I actually have been on a submarine and it did make me feel very claustrophobic. The living quarters are small and just climbing up and down the stairs and going through those doors sent my vibe wobbling here and there capturing all the history as ghosts talked to me.

I hope you enjoy your holiday. I am taking a road trip to do some leaf peeping.

Bish Denham said...

I bet some morning you're going to wake up with AN IDEA that won't let you go and you'll find yourself working on that 5th book. Even if you don't (which I seriously doubt) you are definitely a success.

I'm going with Ozzy simply because I like his voice and the sound of the band better than I do Rob Zombie. (Has anyone thought of showcasing Donavon's Season of the Witch? That would be a great Halloween tune.)

Pat Hatt said...

I'm nearing a 100 if you count kids books and novels and adult books and short stories, with 8 novels. You mean I'm behind the curve? lol

Rob Zombie gets my vote.

1. Crimson Tide
2. Down Periscope
3. Fantastic Voyage?
4. The Hunt For Red October
5. U-571
6. Ummm

Enjoy your vacation.

Michele at Angels Bark said...

For you Battle of the Banned, I like Ozzy's Bark at the Moon much better. Just sounds better to my ears. The other one hurts. :)

And I'd say you have more than made it Alex!

Happy vacationing! Safe travels

Michele at Angels Bark

Arlee Bird said...

I guess you'll have to write another book and then another. Can't stop now!

I'm no Rob Zombie fan and don't like his sound. The music of Ozzie is smoother and far more musical-easier on my ears in other words. My vote definitely goes to Ozzie.

My BOTB pick this Thursday will also be somewhat related to Halloween. Hope you can manage to check in with a vote, but most of all enjoy your vacation.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Holy Ghost Writer said...

What constitutes making it though? James Patterson royalties or just getting 5 books done?

M.J. Fifield said...

If it takes five books to make it as an author, I'm probably in trouble. That won't stop me from writing, though.

Living Dead Girl is such an awesome song. I do love Rob Zombie. said...

That 5-5 formula is depressing. No, no, no. No rules - they scare people and make me feel pretty lousy, if I take them to heart. I've done more than 5 years and don't know if I'll hit five books. It's not a plan. I say: Take it at whatever pace you can. Set your own standards for success.

Have a great week, Alex.

Anonymous said...

Wow, five books. That will take me awhile. For me, making it was getting my first book published and seeing it on the bookstore shelf alongside my favorite authors. Everything else is icing on the cake, as they say. It's been a great ride.
I'm in Jessica's Read and Review Challenge, as well. I've got three books for which I owe reviews, then I'll start on the Challenge.
I know #4 of the trivia — Hunt for the Red October. I'll have to think about Black Sea. I'm claustrophobic, and those kinds of movies can be hard to watch.
Have a great vacation!!

Brandon Ax said...

I think it falls into the category of what you want from it all. I mean you have achieved more success than a lot of people do, and yet if you wish to go forward that is in your hands as well.

I think if nothing else when you look back on your life you can be satisfied that you did do something and that is actually an amazing feat.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

5 years--five books? All I can say to that is hmmm. That is a sort of formula. It just sounds like a money thing. Money and the arts still make uneasy bedfellows I think. I have never been able to cash in on art, myself, in a major way. (Darn! But oh well!).
I loved Das Boot, but had to be escorted out of a submarine by a side door during a tour I was on in CT. I flipped out 5 minutes in. Never again!
Ever see Submarine. Sort of a sweet film.


Have a nice vacation!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Christine!

Tonja, just not a mystery writer.

Jo, you're convinced, huh?

Brandon and Bryan, I only know one author who lives of her royalties. But I don't think that defines success.

TBM, yes they do.

Yvonne, just my wife!

Robyn, thanks for the kind words.

Truedessa, and sometimes those dreams go beyond all expectation.

Bish, thanks, and will look into Donavon.

Pat, you just blew the curve. And five right!

Lee, I'll try.

Ghost, just writing five would be a huge accomplishment for me.

Robyn, that's what I intend to do.

Lori, you nailed it - all else is icing on the cake.

Brandon, I'm sure I will.

Joanne said...

You are an author and can be darn proud of what you do. You write what you like, you are moving into short stories, and you are a blog-o-writer extraordinaire. Kudos
As for money making author.........believe me, good I have a day job
Don't even think about looking to poetry for sales (!). Trust me

I'm running behind so I shall comment on a previous post on The Martian - loved it!! Excellent flick and Matt Damon was really good.
Back to underwater - Black Sea looks intriguing and I like Jude Law.

Enjoy vacation..........hope you have good weather wherever you are. Cheers.

Lydia Kang said...

5 books a year? Geez. Well, maybe in certain genres. I could never do it.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I think you're successful already. For every author it's different. The first book of some are big hits. Others it takes awhile. Whichever it is, we write because we love to write.

I believe I'll pass on the submarine movie. :)

Have a great vacation.

Huntress said...

The Marvel franchise is a monster. Well deserved too.

I have Living Dead Girl on my mp3!
Ozzy though...hmmm. must investigate.

Jemi Fraser said...

You've definitely made it!! Your next book will come to you when its ready :)

For me, it's taken that 5 years/books in order for me to build the confidence that I'm ready (almost) to step forward and get my books out there. Hopefully within a year or so I'll be there!

stephen Hayes said...

Four published novels is quite an achievement. I'd say you've made it. Congratulations.

cleemckenzie said...

So it's back to the old keyboard for you, my man. Good luck on the next book.

I visited IWSG site and read the post about the new one stop site for authors. Very interesting.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Have a great vacation. I guess 5 is a general number but 'making it' has a wide range of definition. I think most people following your career would think you've 'made' it and there are some who have their first book become a bestseller. I have a friend who has more than twenty books published by a large traditional publisher and she doesn't feel like she made it yet.

Botanist said...

I think everyone has to work out what "making it" means to them. A few of the comments here talk about sales and income. That's important if your goal is to make a full time living off your writing but it's not the only perspective.

I recommend folks give some thought to what they're trying to achieve. Makes it a lot easier to be happy with the outcome if you're able to recognize "making it" when it happens. As the old saying goes--if you don't know where you're going, any road will do.

H.R. Bennett said...

Definitely something I always think about. I know that Sci Fi and Fantasy aren't the hugest markets but, to be blunt, it's just my fit. It's what I do and do well. I can branch into other areas but, at the end of the day, that's my heart and soul.

Debbie D. said...

I'd say four books, one boxed set and numerous anthologies is a helluva great accomplishment! Who are "they" who set such standards, anyway? Kudos to you!

I'm dropping by from Shady's Battle of the Banned. Enjoyed both tunes, but Ozzie is a perennial favourite. Some of the best times I've had at concerts were with Black Sabbath. Such energy!

Andrew Leon said...

I think you have to define what it means to "make it."

SpacerGuy said...

I think it was Ernest Hemmingway who mastered the art of using simple, clear, easily understood english in his stories. I reckon the more an author writes, the better you become at expounding. See what I mean? So hopefully the ideas never run out, otherwise the danger is big words kick in and gloss over the cracks, lol. Oh well back to the drawing board....

Susan Kane said...

Both songs did not "sing" to me. I liked neither. Too bad.
1. Crimson something.
3. ?
4. Red October
5. The Widowmaker
6. some dinosaur movie

I can see the movies in my memories but the titles elude me.

Anonymous said...

I vote for Ozzy.

You've definitely made it.

I need to polish my short story for submission...

Julie Flanders said...

All I could think when I started reading was that I feel like you've already made it! You're a star, Alex. :)
I hope you and your wife have a wonderful vacation. And that Mini-Alex gets to come along and have some fun.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jean, I don't do formula. And I can handle a submarine as long as it's still on the surface of the water.

Joanne, I'd have to pay people to read my poetry...

Carol, you rock!

Jemi, you are ready!

Stephen, thanks.

Susan, that would be rather depressing...

Ian, I have no plans to make a living on my writing. Too much pressure.

Robert, just my fit as well.

Debbie, thanks for voting!

Susan, I'm going to give it to you on that last one!

Medeia, yes you do!

Thanks, Julie. And Mini-Alex is going.

Sarah Foster said...

I think "making it" will mean different things to different authors. If you're satisfied with what you've done, then I'd say you've made it.

Mark Means said...

If there's anyone who deserves to make it, it's you Alex! Hoping nothing but the best for you.

Not sure on all the trivia so, without cheating...

1.Crimson Tide
2.Down Periscope
4.The Hunt for Red October
6.No clue

Hope you guys have a great vacation!

Elephant's Child said...

So what is making it? Fame and fortune? Both ephemeral. I like your definition much, much better.

Elephant's Child said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Happy Whisk said...

I liked this post, Alex. It's more personal and relaxed and I quite enjoyed it. Five years, good deal.

Suzanne Furness said...

I think you've made it Alex and helped and supported many others along the way. Take time to consider which path you want to take next with your writing. Enjoy your vacation.

Colette S said...

Glad you joined with us today.
Thanks for rocking.

Have a great week! :)

stevebethere said...

I liked both tunes and the vids you gotta love Ozzy Osbourne heheh!

Have a tanfastic week :-)

Emily R. King said...

Golly, I'm on year seven of writing and I've finished ten books. I guess my big break is due anytime, right?

It's weird that science fiction isn't a big seller. Seems like people who love sci-fi only read it. I thought there would be a bigger market!

The Angry Lurker said...

Ray is lying his ass off!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pimping my hop!

I've heard it takes 5 books to make it, but at one point I also heard it was 3 books, so it seems like the number is going up. Who knows. I sure don't, but that's not going to stop me writing.

Nick Wilford said...

Everyone's journey is different, so you can't be defined by an arbitrary number. You've definitely "made it", but I bet another book will show up when you least expect it!

J E Oneil said...

It sure sounds like you made it to me too :). And I had no idea there were so many submarine movies. I'm just going to guess the Hunt for Red October for all of them even if it's only number 4.

Stacy Uncorked said...

Thanks for joining us today! While neither tune is a favorite, I'd have to go with Ozzy with the lead. ;) Thanks for the dance! :)

By The Way i’m gonna Eat Sleep Love You Repeat Like I’m Gonna Lose You so just Go

farawayeyes said...

YIKES! five books to have 'made it'. And, who says?

Sorry, but I'm recovering from pnemonia, last week I completely spaced IWSG, I put together a quick little post on the results of my BOTB and that was about it. Oxygen depletion aside, I never claimed to be anything but a dumb blonde.

AND, I actually know one of the trivia questions.

4. The Hunt fro Red October

I am seriously claustrophobic, so submarine movies are not my thing.

Chrys Fey said...

Does the five books include short stories? lol If it doesn't then I'm screwed. I've published for novellas/short stories. I'm only two years in so I guess I have a while to wait yet. *sighs* We shall see if it take five books/years to make it.

Charles Gramlich said...

A lot of Rob Zombie lends itself to Halloween. This is a good one.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sarah, I'm more than satisfied.

Mark, you got three. And good guess on number five.

Ivy, I owe you one now and then!

Suzanne, supporting others is high on my list.

Emily, I think they prefer to see it on the big screen.

Fran, is he now?

Patricia, you're welcome.

Nick, thanks and scary thought.

JE, you at least got one right then.

Thanks for voting, Stacy!

Faraway! Good to hear from you. No worries. You're still on the list.

Stephanie Faris said...

Kelly Hashway is looking for middle grade books about aliens for her publisher, Leap Books. GO FOR IT! I think you'd be great at something like that.

That said, have you thought about a book of short stories just by you? A Stephen King-type anthology? I love books like that and you don't see many of them. Maybe they don't sell well? I don't know...

Unknown said...

have an awesome vacation!! In terms of making it, I think every journey is so unique. an author can make it with their first, fifth or tenth. But maybe by 5 it's established as a career!

Rhonda Albom said...

When I was reading about the 5 and 5 I was thinking that it wouldn't apply to you as you have a successful blot - doesn't that count as a book? As for the songs, the first video was too flashy to watch, and I am not an Ozzy fan, so I vote neither, sorry. Movie trivia: my fist reaction was I don't watch submarine movies, but then I saw the Hunt for Red October on the list. I will be interested to see if I have seen others next Monday.

EEGiorgi said...

Alex, I'm not sure I agree with that statement. More indies are making the big bucks with science fiction. Mysteries sell well but newcomers have a much harder time breaking in because the market is so saturated. Readers of pulp and sci-fi instead are more open to explore indie authors, so maybe what you heard, about the 5 years was for indie authors. My 2 cents, of course. Happy writing :-)

Liz A. said...

So, someone defined "making it" as five books or five years. Okay. For them. "Making it" is different for everyone. We all define success differently. Personally, I'll feel successful when I finally get my first book finished. and it's been nearly 15 years that I've been working on it.

Movie trivia--#4 is The Hunt for Red October. That's the only submarine movie I've seen. (No, wait. There was also Run Silent, Run Deep.)

Denise Covey said...

Hi Alex! I don't think the five books means you. You've done amazingly well.

Shell Flower said...

You've definitely made it because you are happy. So many people have "made it" in the eyes of the world because they are rich and famous, but they are insecure and miserable, so I don't call that making it. I've been working on my IWSG story this weekend and today. Almost finished. Also, i really want to see the submarine movie with Viggo Mortensen in it. He's awesome.

Catch My Words said...

These songs are pretty spooky.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Shell Flower is right: you have made it because you are happy. Your books sell well. Mine? Sigh. Not so much. It seems they wear leper bells!

My volume of Halloween short stories comes out tomorrow which includes the death of my hero, Captain Samuel McCord. I hope it does well. October is the season of trick or treat -- so far it has been all trick!

Denise is correct I believe: five books or five years is just a general rule. Have fun with your writing. :-)

Helena said...

You've done splendidly as an author, Alex! Four books in five years is far, far better than I could ever do or most anyone could do. And in so many ways you've made it as an author--look at all your blog friends and followers! You're also one of the most generous, kind, supportive writers around, and that is a true measure of success.

Birgit said...

First off I will vote for Ozzy because I like the guitar solo near the end and it is a song I can listen to a little easier. Rob Zombie's video is a direct take on a famous German Expressionist film called The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It is an amazing silent film and this musician must love this film! Google it to at least see some of the images and you will see what i mean immediately. I think you should be proud of your accomplishments and I don't believe you are done yet. If you enjoy writing science fiction then keep writing it. Harper Lee, until recently, only had one book to her name. Now I have seen the film with Denzel but I can;t recall the name. I know the one with Raquel is Forbidden Voyage which is quite good. Red October is with Sean Connery and U-571 is the one with Matthew. I can't recall the other one made in 1975 but I bet I have seen it way back when. Enjoy your vacation!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Yikes! By that definition a bunch of my favourite writers haven't made it at all. Some of them have written only one book, some write only short stories. And I'm not going to even mention poets because poets by definition have to be unsuccessful, don't they?

I don't think you need to pay the slightest attention to anybody else's definition of success :-)

Happy holidays!

Tammy Theriault said...

You've definitely paid your dues!! Hope the future looks successful nonetheless!

Shadow said...

Ozzie has my vote!
As for 5years, 5 books.... ooookay! But a sound principle. By that time surely you'll know whether you're cut out to be a writer or not... Whether published or not.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Alex, you hit it out of the ballpark with CassaStar, so I don't think the five book theory applies to you.
Some of the answers to your trivia questions are right on the tip of my tongue. The movie with Alec Baldwin
and Sean Connery must be The Hunt For Red October. Did Kelsey Grammar do a remake of McHale's Navy?
Those were the only two that rang a bell. Have a wonderful vacation!


Shannon Lawrence said...

Hrm, I think it just depends on the person, the books, and whatever luck brings them.

I have to vote for Living Dead Girl. I listened to that album during the writing of my monster battle scene in WIP 2 (and I was rather fond of the song before that.)

RaveAir said...

To the submarine topic... Do not forget about the "classic" song of U96 - Das Boot!

H. R. Sinclair said...

Have a great vacation!

The five year or five books is interesting. It kind of makes sense. I imaging it takes time for an author's name to get out there and circulate.

Chemist Ken said...

Ha! It will probably take me five years to write my first book. I'll probably be writing my fifth book from a wheelchair or hospital bed.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Stephanie, not sure I could write middle grade. And I think those short story books only do well if you are famous.

Thanks, Rhonda. And you did know one.

EE, I am not one of those authors making the big bucks.

Liz, got one!

She'll, good point! And glad you will be submitting a story.

Helena, appreciate that!

Birgit, got two! And yes, he loves horror films.

Shadow, thanks for voting.

Julie, thanks, and you are correct.

Shannon, thanks for voting.

Zoltan, I almost picked that one.

Michelle Gregory said...

i have a sub movie for you that i didn't see listed - Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Dina Merrill - 1959.

Unknown said...

I think you should be super proud of having 4 books published! And who knows - you may be merrily at work on short stories when a great novel idea comes to you!

Congrats to Shah on her new release!

I went to Angela's new site. I signed up and looked for info. To my surprise, I found it all redacted from the pages. Turns out, you have to PAY a monthly fee to see their info. No thanks. There's plenty of good free info on the net.

I don't know the title of you sub movies, but Michelle commented above me and I think that's "Operation Petticoat" - a great old movie!

Have a wonderful vacay, Alex!

Sherry Ellis said...

You most certainly did make it! Look how many people know about you and your books!

Dean K Miller said...

You've made it, Alex. No doubts there. I'm on my way, still trudging uphill and loving every step!

Love the Halloween blog hop trick-or-treat with Patricia. I'm in!

diedre Knight said...

Oh you've certainly 'made it', Alex! My specialty seems to be short stories these days too. Have you considered a collection?
I get claustrophobic just watching submarine movies but Black Sea sure does sound fascinating!
Always such interesting info in your posts!
While Rob Zombie is delightfully demonic, I'm going with Ozzy and Bark at the Moon for ghoulish dementia. :-)

Ellie Garratt said...

Didn't Hugh Howey publish nine books before he made it? I don't think there is a magic winning number. Series will always sell better than standalones. Most writers only earn a living through a steady output of books. The only thing I do know for sure is to write what YOU want to write.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for all the info. Hope your vacation is great!

John Wiswell said...

I've listened to "Living Dead Girl" so many more times than is healthy. Zombie's made a lot of fun music. "Feed The Gods" is a favorite of mine for exercise.

Have a great vacation!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Once you get a fan base whether it is three or five books, the readers will want more, then more after that. Like 200 books in a year. Readers are relentless.

What about this for a new idea for a book. Go back in time, with the Cassa characters' ancestors and figure out a mystery they can solve. That's all I've got, but I think it's a good idea. And it's free. Or let four books be your limit. Either way you're a winner.

Cherie Reich said...

I don't think there is any magic number of books to make it as an author. For some authors, it takes 20+ full-length novels to make it. Some authors break out five books and fewer. Some people can write tons and never really move beyond the midlist. Each person has to have their own goals and what benchmarks they use to "make it."

Sandra Cox said...

Congrats, Alex, I'd also say you've made it:)

As far as the 5 books and or 5 years. I'm with Pat. I have more than 5 books out and its been more than 5 years. So I'm behind the curve too. grin. And on the opposite end of the spectrum are the authors that grab the brass ring first book out of the chute.

L.G. Keltner said...

I've had well-meaning people tell me I should write within a different genre due to sales potential. The thing is, I write what I write because it's what I want to write. If I'm writing something I don't enjoy, then what's the point?

Nicola said...

Congrats!!! I think you are already successful in so many different areas. In terms of your novels - you could always turn your favourite one into a screenplay. Science-fiction is a big money spinner in the TV and film industry. Or even a computer game. So many different ways to develop what you already have - if that's the way you want to go. However, as I was reminded of this week by lovely bloggers - the key is to be happy in your writing and enjoy the journey.

Point of interest: The Frankfurt Book Fair is currently on over here in Germany and it was reported yesterday that they are promoting over 97,000 new novels !!! AND that's just the German language novels! We live in a really competative writing world. Scary!!

Deniz Bevan said...

Shucks, Alex, I'd say you've already made it!
But you know, a mystery in a science fiction setting would be lots of fun :-)

Voting for Ozzy, of course!

Lan said...

I'm pretty sure I would consider you as having "made it!" Any one of your achievements is more than enough to be proud of. And besides, isn't half the fun getting there?

Bushman said...

I think you have done quite well. It really is all up to you to say "I've made it" I don't think true writers write for money anyways. They write because they have to.

Winter is coming and that means more time for me to write. I'm looking forward to it as well as another surprise soon to be revealed on my blog!

Heather M. Gardner said...

Hi Alex!
Sorry I'm late. Again. As usual.
This time I let Monday and Tuesday get by me.

I've heard that, about the 5yr/5bk thing. Susan Gourley told me it was her 8th book that finally got her noticed. It's disheartening.

Expendables 4, Filmed at the Sunny Valley Nursing Home

Ozzy is awesome, and that song is a classic, BUT, I do love me some Zombie. I choose Rob Zombie.

1. Crimson Tide
2. Down Periscope (he he he)
3. ?
4. Red October - AWESOME MOVIE
5. U / U Boat? 571
6. ?

Alex and Mrs. Alex, I hope you enjoy your vacation!


Anonymous said...

Wow, 4 books?? That is huge.

I'm not sure what the magic number is. I suppose you keep doing it as long as it makes you happy. (My scientific answer) :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Michelle, Operation Petticoat? And only know because I went through a huge list of sub movies this past weekend.

Lexa, correct! And yeah, it is a paid service.

Diedre, I'd have to write a lot more to make an anthology.

Ellie, no idea how many he published.

John, that made me chuckle. My favorite is More Human Than Human.

Teresa, thanks!

Cherie, very true.

Nicola that blows my mind.

Four right, Heather. And you made me laugh out loud!

Thanks everyone. Will check back as vacation time permits.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

It's always difficult to know which way to go when you're an author. I say you have to write what you love - what's in your heart.

Chasing the market is a risky business.

If you love short stories right now, short stories it is!

Crystal Collier said...

So here's the deal. You'll get a year out from now and your writerly brain will start telling you stories. Done at 4? I think not.

Libby said...

I no longer know what I consider "making it". I don't expect to be rich or famous. I'll settle for occasionally read. That would be nice.

Jeffrey Scott said...

Five years or five books? Wow, that's a lot of hard work and determination. But it's doable. Personally though, if you have more than one book published, I think you have made it. Anything after that is just added success. I'm always amazed by any author who has anything published. Keep up the good work.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Have an amazing vacation, Alex (and wife)!

I think you've made it as an author!

However, on the financial "making it" scale, I've heard that it takes between five and ten books that sell well . . . I'm not sure I'll ever get there unless I start writing romance.

So, it depends on what you mean by making it - is it financial success, the satisfaction of a job well done, good friends, or a fun journey?

Loni Townsend said...

The number keeps going up! I thought it used to be three books. Well, I plan to write 4.5 epic fantasies, plus a handful of Cera Chronicles, so I might get there eventually. Then again, I don't know if I'll make it or not.

I think you have made it, Alex. Good job!

Carrie-Anne said...

I think the five books thing is probably just an average. Most people these days no longer become big stars with their début, though the number of books it takes to truly break through varies from person to person. The more books are out there, the more people become aware of a writer, and the more a reputation builds.

msmariah said...

Congratulations on the 5 year mark Alex! I'm so happy for you. Have a wonderful vacation. See you on the net when you get back!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Well, it's been 5 years for me, and I can't say I've "made it." I'm still getting rejections on various submissions. My fifth book comes out in January. Will that be the "magic" event that does it?

Doubtful, especially when it is hard to empirically define "made it!" :D

M Pax said...

I think it takes more than that these days. I have a friend with over 100 titles out, including paperbacks in chain stores, and she recently had to give up being an author full time. Congrats on 5 years! And do what makes you happy. Congrats to Shah!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I've got more stories to write, but like you, I don't really have a measuring stick (or at least one that seems to be popular). Right now, I'm distracted with running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign for friends. That's where all my creative energy has been going. I'll eventually get back to writing stories, but I'm kinda flighty and undisciplined when it comes to being an author you can count on.

XmasDolly said...

Sorry for being late, but better late than never! My favorite is Ozzy of course! hehehe! Bark at the moon! I don't know the other much less ever heard it. Thanks for playing along with us these are great. Actually the theme was a Freebie and you could Post whatever you wanted. Next week will be a Spotlight Dancer chosen who will pick the theme and you shall find it in my side bar. The Halloween theme will be on Oct. 26th and by the way. I know you're an accomplished writer, but one of our conductors is running a contest that you might be interested in. It's Naila-Moon if you cannot find it let me know and I'll get the link for you. I'm sure you'd have it in the bag! How exciting!

Mason T. Matchak said...

Ozzy Osbourne always wins. ALWAYS. Much like I'm always excited to learn about more Marvel movies. ^_^

And "making it" as an author is so ambiguous. I think it really depends on what your goals are. If you just want to write what's in your head, publish it however you can, and get the stories out, you've definitely done that. And if you're happy with what you've done, so much the better. But if you're like me, and want to make writing your career, well, the goalposts are a bit farther away. >_<

G. B. Miller said...

I'm thinking at least 5 books before you "make it" or at the very least, make people sit up and take notice.

Not so much into Ozzy any more, and Rob Zombie is okay, so I guess I would go with Rob Zombie.

Father Nature's Corner

Rachna Chhabria said...

Not sure about the 5 years or 5 books to make it as an author, but I think its a minimum of 3 books. Enjoy your vacation.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

I'm not sure what "making it" means. If it means earning tons of money, only a small percentage of authors ever do. I think it depends upon your own perception. In the end, happiness and providing joy and support for others, whether few or many, can be far more important than any financial gain. What you do, Alex, with your positive support and role model that you are for so many is "making it" many times over.

Al Penwasser said...

I've seen the Mediterranean, but not the Black Sea.
That's probably not what you meant, though.

Michelle Wallace said...

Five years or five books to truly ‘make it'? Mmm. It depends on the definition of 'making it', which differs from person to person. I also wonder if five books means five full length novels, or does it include novellas/short story collections?
But I think the true measure is more than just the books...
Hope you had a good vacation, Alex!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

You most certainly have made it! I think that five year, five book thing has been messing with my head all summer/fall. I like the way you think way better. Thanks so much for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Five years/five books? Dunno, maybe? Seeing as I haven't published anything, I couldn't say.

Haven't seen Black Sea, don't really plan to. A few of those Marvel movies sound cool.

Rob Zombie, definitely.

I'm thinking number four is Hunt for Red October, but I'm only saying that because Sean Connery as I've never actually seen the movie. I didn't realize there were that many movies about subs haha

Belle Unruh said...

Well, Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee only wrote one book each, so yeah, I think a person is a successful auther with only one book, never mind four. I see what you have done as being very successful. I've read Harper Lee has had a new/old book published recently. "To Kill A Mockingbird," was my favorite book as a kid.

I listened to a little of each record and liked, "Bark at the Moon," the best. I used to watch Ozzy's reality show. I came to love that family.

dolorah said...

When it comes to certain genre's (fantasy and sci fi) I think it takes more than five years. I like both genres, fantasy better than syfy, and the books/series I like best take a long, long time for all the world building. That's not just the amount of time between first book publication and the readers becoming addicted; thats like 20 years of developing the world and backstories so the first and second novels in the epic series catch on. Just my opinion though.

So what I'd say to you, Alex, is forget time-lines to "make it." Your world is very intricate, flows well/consistent between the stories (regardless of MC's), but is quite easily understood. Many of the fantasy and syfy series authors that are my favorites (Piers Anthony, Jack Chalker, Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E Feist, Terry Brooks, David Eddings) became more popular after their entire FIRST series was published, rather than book by book. Know what I mean?

Here are two apt quotes from Piers Anthony:

All things make sense; you just have to fathom how they make sense.

Have a working spouse, because you won't earn a living from writing - not at first, if ever. My wife worked for years to support us.

As for the battle: ah, two of my favorites. And the video's are both well done to suit the songs. Not that the video sways my vote. My vote is going to Rob Zombie. The song itself has more of a story line than Ozzy's; though if you were to pit different songs against the same two artists the vote might go differently.

I hope you and your wife are having a great vacation. Stay safe and have lots of fun.

Eliza March said...

I've heard two different pieces of advice on genres. One is write what you know and the other is write what you love. Both are sound like good ideas to me. The other advice i could give you is that you'll never know what will make you that fortune. Think Harry Potter!

Wishing you the success you deserve. ~~Eliza

alexia said...

I would say you've definitely been successful in your five years! That is a really interesting concept. Hmmm, I assume that means five years starting from when you first publish? If so, I've got about five years to go, LOL :) Have fun on vacay!

Unknown said...

I loved your sentimental thought about you having already made it. Although I would like to see you take on the trashy romance genre ;)

Elizabeth said...

Alex, you have such a great relationship with your blog readers and I appreciate the interest that you show in helping others through the IWSG and your efforts to comment back to everyone. I read CassaStar and I hope to finish the other two in that series soon. I really enjoyed your character development; Byron and Bassa were very relatable and realistic and those are things I enjoy the most in books I read. I think you are a successful author! I hope you had a great vacation, you deserve it :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I have friends who have more than five and don't believe they've made it, yet. I'm at three, so I have a ways to go.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

I'm not sure I can wholly agree with Jamie on the "making it" as an author after five years or books. That is a matter of opinion, though it was the conclusion drawn from listening to others.

I think you are already there. What author has the audience you have, Alex? What author has the influence you have, Alex? I think an author has "made it" if they are able to achieve what you have, you know? Or if they are at a point where they are happy.

You on the other had, are there. You don't need to question yourself, seriously, and that is the honest truth.

Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment! :)

DMS said...

It sounds like you have made it to me! I think the fact that you are writing what you love and enjoy is awesome and that you continue to pursue all of your dreams (music too). :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I don't know what it takes to be a successful author, but I know the friends I'm making on this journey make the whole adventure worth the effort.

Blue Grumpster said...

First of all congratulations, Alex (plus October 19 is my Mom's birthday so it's easy to remember). Doesn't time fly? So, yes, you'll have to write another book. How about a mystery in outer space? That'll get you a buck or two. I bet you could do it too. Is number 5 the one with the submarine?

Blue Grumpster said...

My comment went up in smoke... Congrats, Alex. Doesn't time fly? So, yes, you will have to write another book. How about a mystery in outer space. That'll make you a buck or two. I bet you can do it too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Crystal, I was afraid of that...

Libby, I like that!

Jeffrey, that's how I feel.

Tyrean, a fun journey!

Mary, over a hundred books and she had to give up being a full time author? That's sobering.

Michael, I miss Dungeons and Dragons.

Thanks, Marie. And I will be posting music October 26 that is Halloween-related.

Mason, good thing I don't want to be a full time author.

Al, thanks for the chuckle.

Madilyn, you are correct!

Donna, I think you're right when it comes to those genres. We can't just pitch out stories quickly. And thanks for voting.

Michael, doubt that will happen...

Elizabeth, thank you! What you just said is success to me.

Elizabeth, I appreciate that.

Jess, music is important.

Toi Thomas said...

I think it makes sense that it takes 5 years to "make it"; small businesses share the same statistic.
While I am excited about more Marvel Movies, I'm really hoping D.C. can join the game and actually contend.
I'm definitely not up on my submarine movie trivia. To the Google machine. said...

I think you've made it as well, but another idea might just scratch it's way to the surface. ;) Ideas can't be denied.

Leovi said...

Stormy Rob Zombie! Good!
Limbo Delirium
Black & White Abstract

Jennifer Lane said...

I've always heard it takes at least four books to "make" it!

Lisa said...

You've sold more novels than I have and look at this blog and it's followers/commenters. I agree with you! You are a success! Not to mention inspiration.

Colette S said...

I didn't know that tidbit about writing. But whose rules are those anyway.
I think we define our own success.

Thanks for rocking with us.

ediFanoB said...

I think it does not matter how many books you write to be a successful author.
It is the question how you define success.

When you look at your books, IWSG, your blog, your followers, your readership AND to the feedback you get, it is without question that you are a successful author.

Of course I understand the reasons why you don't want to write more books.
Nevertheless I would like to read more books written by you.
Maybe we get some short stories from you. I still love the idea to read a steampunk story written by Alex J. Cavanaugh.
There is one thing I learned ..... never say never.

"May the force be with you"

M Pax said...

I actually got to meet Cathrina in Buffalo last February during a very harsh winter. Central Oregon is prone to winter too, so I keep extra food/meals in the house in the winter.

The list of Star Wars sayings is hilarious. My cat would like if I upholstered things in ewok, because their fur is probably warm.

Shah Wharton said...

Thanks for mentioning Beautiful Betrayal, Alex. XX