Why I Write

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about what inspires me, so I thought I’d talk about that just a bit today.

When I first started writing IN HER NAME back in the early 1990s, it was largely a cathartic experience. I was having some trouble in my first marriage, and I just wasn’t a terribly happy camper. So for lack of anything more constructive to do, I dusted off a story idea that I’d come up with early in college (that would be in the early 1980s, mind you) and started working on it.

Four years later, IN HER NAME (the omnibus edition) was born, although it wasn’t actually published until 2008. But after receiving the expected rejections from publishers, I made one of the greater mistakes in my life. I stopped writing. Technically, I was still writing as part of my job at the National Security Agency, but writing intelligence reports wasn’t quite the same as writing fiction, despite what some of my customers probably thought.

But after IN HER NAME was published, a few people read it, and liked it. In fact, most of them really loved it, which is a sentiment that’s happily reflected in the book’s reader reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere.

That reader feedback and encouragement started me writing again, and in the three years from 2008 to 2011, I wrote three more books and started making enough to leave the Agency behind to write full time. While I’m really writing now to make a living, which has its ups and downs financially (neophyte authors take note: just because you make a ridiculously huge amount of money one month doesn’t mean you’ll make that much or more the next – wait a while before buying that yacht, okay?), the one thing that has gives me faith that I made the right choice is what I hear from readers.

Just as one example, one of my Facebook followers, Conny Fest, posted this on my Facebook page the other day:

Dear Michael, I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy steadily over the past 27 years, and though I tore through the Omnibus Kindle edition like a maniac, following Reza’s fate, your writing had me captured as few books have done in those years. My heart was actually racing with excitement and worry. Great reading this time around, and hopefully again when I leaf through it at a more leisurely pace. Kind regards, and much joy with your writing. Conny

I guess more than anything else, I wanted to thank Conny and the other readers like her who have enjoyed my books and taken the time to say so. I guess it’s fair to say that my readers are really my inspiration, because a few words like Conny and others have written make all the difference. So, thank you!

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2 thoughts on “Why I Write

  • Jeremy Poole

    Hi Michael
    I’m just at the start of the road, I’ve written four books, got great reviews from sites like youwriteon, but in four years not a sniff of a publisher. So with a large mortgage and a full time job I started to feel negative, lots of refusals. Now i’m back this month, hopefully I’ll publish my first E-book and the next three will follow rapidly.
    Thanks for being an inspiration. If you visit spain(Catalonia) please feel free to raid my fridge for a beer.(It’s usually empty anyway)

    • Michael Hicks Post author

      Jeremy, I hate to be blunt, but screw the publishers. You don’t need them. I’ve made over $120,000 this year so far from my book sales as a self-published author, and there are others who are making a lot more. Write good books, put good covers on them, and promote them. With time and luck (the one commodity we all need but not all of us get, or at least not right away), you’ll succeed. And while I’d love a beer, you got any sangria? 😉