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  • Kurt Dinan

I Try to Catch You Up on the Last Four Years

Since I’ve been away for so long, I’d like to breakdown why it’s taken four years for me to release a new book. Some of you may know this information from social media updates over the years, some of you may be new here. Either way, I’ll try to keep this short. “Try” being the optimal word.

So in March of 2017, the writing was going well. I was working on a new novel that at the time was called Untitled YA Detective Novel, or something like that. I had a couple of great characters I loved, exes who were forced to work together to solve a mystery. I had some nice momentum going, then…I ended up in the hospital for twenty-one days with a mystery illness that was discovered to be the result of a hole in wall of my rectum. (Yes, you read that right.)

I’d never been sick before and boy did it affect me mentally and physically. I had surgeries, procedures, anxiety attacks, and a brand-new colostomy bag. There were weeks out of school, therapy visits, and an assortment of pills to take each day. It took a long time for me to get used to the new normal, and when I did, which took about a year and a half, I found I could write again, a little at a time. After writing and revising and repeating that process, I ended up with the novel that became THE SCAM LIST. My agent loved it, beta readers loved it…and no publisher wanted it.

The rejections were all very, very complimentary, but also a bit confusing. There were the usual, “This book isn’t for us”, but more than a couple of rejections that essentially said, “I love this book, and would buy this book if I saw it in a bookstore, but it’s not the type of book that a kid would read ten times.” I’m still not even sure what that means, but I do know that, yeah, I don’t write books like that. My books are fast-paced, funny, and made to entertain. At least that’s my goal when I write them. I’m not writing books that will change how people see the world. Others do that so much better than I ever could, and it’s not who I am.

I was really frustrated over the rejections because I knew there was an audience for the novel if I could just get it out there. Why was I so sure? Because I know how people responded to DON’T GET CAUGHT, and THE SCAM LIST is for a similar audience. I also know the sales numbers for DGC, which had me confident that there are people out there who would like another book from me. Like I said, I was frustrated. I’d get locked up whenever I tried to write because I’d start thinking, “Well, will this book sell? Is this what a publisher wants? Or am I just wasting another bunch of years on a project that won’t go anywhere?”

Then in August of 2019, I had my final surgery which put me back to “normal”, or as normal as I was going to get. Suddenly, I felt better than I had in years. It’s amazing just how much your health affects every part of your life. At the time I was listening to a self-help audio book—I can’t remember the title—and the author talked about taking more control of your life. It all clicked for me then, and I decided that if no one wanted to put THE SCAM LIST out, I would do it myself.

Now, confession time—for years, I looked down on self-published books. In my head, I pictured poorly written and poorly edited novels by people who couldn’t make it as a “real writer.” I’m not proud of my arrogance in having that view, especially after reading lots of indie published books in the last few months. These are well-written and entertaining books with readers numbering in the tens of thousands. Some of these writers turn out two or three books a year, and they’re great. They hire professional editors, cover designers, and write, write, write. It’s just a different avenue to getting books out to readers, and really, aren’t the readers who are important? And does anyone really care who published a book if it’s enjoyable?

So after lots of online research and reading books on indie publishing, I started the process to publish THE SCAM LIST. And man, it’s a long and complicated process that maybe I’ll write about some other time. Let’s just say publishing your own book is a lot like trying to juggle ten dinner plates, and I have nothing but respect for the people who do it well.

Now, after months of working on this, the book is ready to go…almost. I have some advertising to do, some reviews to line up, and lots of other small tasks to finish first. I have until August 3rd, when THE SCAM LIST will be released. If you're interested, you can click this link and read the first chapter, which I have on my (newly-designed) website. If you read it and get a chance, leave a comment and let me know what you think. Or don’t read it and leave a comment anyway. I’ll definitely respond.

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