I am beyond excited to start work on this website with my longtime friend and business partner, Chris Wallace. We came to writing from very different trajectories, but the great passion and intensity we feel for it is the same. A little background on us:
I come from a writing family. My mother is renowned children’s book author Jane Yolen. My sister is an award-winning children’s book author, as well. I’m a rebel. I write mostly adult books.
I was traditionally published at the age of sixteen with the publication of The Lullaby Songbook, a collection of lullabies that my mother wrote the histories of and I arranged the music for.
Did I mention I’m a musician? I spent 30 years as a traveling musician, playing before crowds of between 2 and 20,000 people before I burned out on it.
I did a dozen music books with my mother before writing a YA novel with her in 2005. Pay the Piper, a “rock and roll fairy tale,” retold the myth in modern times and won the Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel that year. Soon after, I sold my first solo novel, Singer of Souls, which Anne McCaffrey said was “One of the best first novels I have ever read.”
Since then, I’ve had published: eight novels in collaboration, six more on my own, a co-written novella, a poker book with the other owner of this site, three graphic novels, over two dozen short stories, four poems, and two picture books. I’m putting another novel out at the end of this year, and next year have a novel coming out with independent publisher Crossroad Press. And it’s quite possible I’ve forgotten some things. But you get the picture, I’m a pretty successful guy.
Guess what. To the traditional publishing world, I’m a failure.
How does that work? I’m glad you asked. First of all, they don’t really consider anything I’ve done with my mother to be mine. She’s the marquis name on the cover, so I’m barely an after thought. Then, the two major novels I published with them, Singer of Souls and its sequel, under-performed.
That’s it. Traditional publishing was done with me. You don’t get many chances, and as the world of traditional publishing is disappearing, eaten up by self-publishers and indie publishing houses that can compete in this new environment, those chances grow even more rare. You put someone else in charge of your future as a writer and if they don’t like it right away, you’re done.
Then, through an hour long discussion with the amazing independent author Blaze Ward, I learned about self-publishing and freelancing.
My entire world changed. I’d grown up in traditional publishing world. The rules I thought of as immutable, the one and only path to success as a fiction writer, had changed—changed irrevocably. I threw myself into independent authorship like a fish throwing itself out of the boat and back into the lake. I learned a lot of hard lessons in those first few years. It’s one of the reasons I started this site: to help others avoid the pitfalls I stumbled into.
The first thing to know about Chris is that he’s a champion. That’s right, a bona fide champ. In 2014, at the 45th Annual World Series of Poker, Chris won the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E Championship. And $10,000 wasn’t the prize—it was the entry fee to get in! The prize was over half a million dollars and a gold bracelet.
I was there when he played his first hand of poker and saw him rise to the very top of the field. He is a consummate student. So, when I say Chris is good at anything he attempts, I mean not just normal people good, but championship level good. World class.
He wrote his first book with me, a guide to Texas Holdem, a game he’s a master at. After that he wrote at least a thousand articles for various poker publishing outlets and several more poker books. Then he started writing fiction. To date, he’s put out 25 books and become an Amazon Best Selling Author.
Today, Chris uses his analytical mind to examine the financial intricacies of independent publishing. The Amazon algorithm is relatively simple compared to looking for holes in the strategies of eight other world class poker players. Disappointed with both the amount and accuracy of a lot of the information out there on self-publishing—and the lack of any sort of organization in the information—he figured it out on his own. After a lot of spreadsheets and data analysis, he found ways to make it work for him and for his clients.
Now he is a consultant for publishers on how to succeed selling books on Amazon and helps independent authors launch their books. And I’m an independent author who has benefitted from his knowledge in all kinds of ways. Together we hope to create a site that helps anyone who wants to publish a book have a real shot at success.
So there it is. Every story needs a beginning, and that’s ours.
Adam & Chris