In 2003, author Mike Jastrzebski and his wife decided to live in their 36-foot sailboat, Rough Draft. Over the next few years, they “motored the boat down inland rivers from Minnesota to Mobile, Alabama.” Eventually they found themselves in Florida’s Key West then Ft. Lauderdale. While there — and during a few visits to the Bahamas — Mike then proceeded to write a bunch of books.
His current Amazon selections include his Wes Darling Mystery series, his historical thriller The Storm Killer, and Mind Demons, a psychological thriller. He said that he wrote Demons before he started living on Rough Draft, “but I did the major rewrites of this book while living on the boat.” And he recently finished the first draft of his third Wes Darling.
Nice work if you can get it, huh?
How Mike Got Started Self-Publishing
Mike started down the traditional path, sending out hundreds of query letters and attending dozens of writer’s conferences through the years. He also joined and became quite active with the Mystery Writers of America where he met numerous published writers, agents and editors.
An editor from a small publisher was “very interested” in The Storm Killer. But at around the same time (2010), ebook publishing was beginning to take off, giving Mike a viable alternative that just didn’t exist before. “I decided not to pursue that [traditional] avenue,” he explains, “when I discovered what that publisher was offering for advances.”
Where once authors just starting out really didn’t have much of a say on the matter, suddenly things weren’t quite so one-sided anymore. “I calculated that if I sold only 10 books a week at $2.00 each, I would make more money in a year than if I received an advance from a small publisher.” His well-meaning friends told him he was making a big mistake, but he pushed on ahead with his plans anyway.
Was it a good decision? “Since then I have sold over 15,000 books, given away over 100,000 books through the free offering with Amazon KDP, and seen most of those early skeptics who thought I was being foolish jump on the self-publishing train themselves.”
- “If I have one piece of advice for a writer thinking about self-publishing their books it would be not to learn how to write, but learn how to rewrite, and then find a good editor, and when your editor points out your mistakes, rewrite again. I typically rewrite my books 5-7 times each. My wife is my editor and she edits each rewrite before I begin the next one.”