How to Get Published is a continuing feature at The Book Bin where we ask authors to tell us their publishing stories. Was it a rocky road or did it come easy for them? Did they start with an agent and get a NY publisher interested in their book or did they self-publish? What words of wisdom do they have for all of us who would like to be published one day?
Today’s guest is Malcolm Dylan Petteway, author of science fiction novel, Homecoming – Osguards: Guardians of the Universe – Book 1 (Rage Books LLC).
Chasing a dream, we all have dreams we chase. Some call them goals and some call them rewards. Sometimes chasing a dream is like a dog chasing his tail. You can see it, it’s part of you, but you just can’t quite grasp it. We all have chased a dream, but have you been chased by a dream? I want to tell you about a dream that is chasing me…even to this day.
It started when I was a young boy, followed me through high school, dogged me in my Air Force career, and its hitting me upside the head right now. But before I tell you about the dream, let me tell you how the dream began to chase me.
When I was young, I was fascinated by science fiction stories on T.V. in the movies and in books. I was so fascinated by science fiction; I made up my own stories about two sisters running away from a war on their planet only to find themselves in the antebellum south. Their descendants are then plucked from Earth and given the reigns to a universal peacekeeping organization…like a U.N of space. I would play these stories in my head on long car rides during family trips down south or when I was alone during the day and had nothing to do. To me at the time, this was just daydreaming; a way to pass the time.
When I was in high school, I enrolled in creative writing classes. There I took my favorite science fiction characters and used them to spawn a couple of my projects. Boy, did I get razzed by the other students, but the teacher commended me for well thought out and very creative characters. Now let me tell you how the dream pushed into my subconscious.
During the Academy, on those long lonely nights, wondering what the hell did I get myself into, those characters and those scenes lulled me to sleep and gave me encouragement to put up with the pain of the coming day. This continued well into my adult life. These characters and the action sequence, I placed them in, began to invade my dreams at night, where I no longer controlled the outcome. Now they were telling me the story. They were old friends, and I welcomed them as part of a peaceful night’s rest.
One day, in 2000, I had a setback in my Air Force career. At which time, I received some sound advice. Do something to keep your mind busy. So I decided to write down the stories that plagued me. Every day for three months, after work, I would lock myself in the office and type away at the keyboard. Until one day I emerged from the dark pit of imagination and dropped on the kitchen table a 450 page manuscript. I felt a sense of accomplishment. Then, my wife, Karen looked at me and said, “Now what?” I thought I was finished, but I guess I wasn’t. My wife said, “You’ve sacrificed three months away from me and the kids, you are going to do something with this manuscript.”
Well, with Karen’s insistence, we shopped it around for a couple of months. I received many reject letters. Some said nothing important, but a couple indicated that if I changed my main characters, they would reconsider. I thought about doing this for a while, but like I said, I grew up with the characters…they were a part of me, and doing so, felt like betrayal. So I rejected the idea and because I am an impatient man, I decided to self-publish the book.
Unfortunately, it came out in September of 2001. We all know what happened that month. Being in the Air Force, I was a little bit busy and unable to market like I wanted. But I did go on to write and self-publish two more books. However, self-publishing wasn’t the dream that was chasing me. It was the catalyst to the dream.
After retiring from the Air Force, I put any thought of writing away. I even stopped visiting these characters in my dreams. I began work as a military analyst at the Pentagon. There I ran into people who read my books, and one of my workmates at the Pentagon showed a keen interest in my writing. He read the books and we would talk at lunch. It was encouraging to discuss the intricate details of my characters, their lives and the story. That motivated me to republish the books. I signed on with a book agent and I waded through things with her for awhile, but that didn’t pan out. Then my friend from work, on one of our discussions, planted the idea of starting my own publishing company. Bang…the dream revealed itself. Start your own business as an independent publisher of science fiction and fantasy.
With the help of friends and family, I launched Rage Books with my first Osguard book, Homecoming in January 2010. Since then, I have printed second editions of the Revelations and Armageddon, and released the fourth book in the series, Revenge.
In conclusion, I tell you that I am a military analyst by day and a science fiction book publisher by night. The route I took was a little bit circuitous. It started out as a fascination of science fiction as a kid; day dreaming and writing short stories in high school; dreaming as a young adult; self-publishing some books; and finally after talking with family and friends, taking the deep plunge and beginning my own publishing company. I’m just starting, but a life-long dream can take a life time to achieve. Like the dog chasing his tail, I don’t know if it will hurt or not, when I catch it.
Malcolm Dylan Petteway is a senior military analyst, a retired military officer and a twenty-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He flew B-52’s as an Electronic Warfare Officer and has 3,000 flight hours and 300 combat hours. In his distinguished career, Malcolm has used his knowledge in the art of war, military weapons and combat defenses in planning over 400 combat sorties. Besides his Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters and numerous other awards, Malcolm is the recipient of the U.S. Air Force Air Medal and the U.S. Air Force Air Achievement Medal for his actions during Operation Enduring Freedom. Malcolm Petteway is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and California State University.
His latest book is Homecoming – Osguards: Guardians of the Universe (Book 1).
You can visit Malcolm at http://www.ragebooks.net.