‘If You Don’t Sell Your First Book, Don’t Lose Heart’

Author DL Link began writing when he was young, and like a lot of other authors, he took time off for his career and family. In an exclusive interaction with Vatsarah Stavyah, editor-in-chief of The Literary Juggernaut, the forty-three-year-old author, who lives in Northern California, says he happened to return to writing eight years ago, starting with writing exercises and short stories.

The passionate writer, who edits for Gold Man Review, a literary journal based on the west coast, lets us know that he knew quite well that writing was for him when he was a kid. ‘I wrote over a hundred pages of a sci-fi novel on a typewriter when I was fourteen. It took until I was older before I had the patience and the fortitude to do it and stick with it,’ he shares with us.

Author DL Link

Four Novels in Eight Years

Talking about his works, Mr Link, who calls himself a hybrid between a planner and pantser since he likes to figure the story out as it goes although he opines mysteries are easier to write if you have a basic plot structure in mind, lets us know that for the first couple of years, he didn’t submit his initial work anywhere.

‘But when my first short story was picked up, I started sending more out and had two dozen published in less than three years. At that point, I turned my focus to novel writing. In four years I had written eight novels, and it was my ninth, Cry Wolf, that was first accepted for publication by Fawkes Press. It’s a zany mystery following a disgraced reporter as he investigates a werewolf sighting in rural Northern California. It is the first in a series, the Mack Macklin Mysteries. Mack’s next two adventures, Phantom Pains and Bad Juju, were released last year.

Putting Writing First

On being asked whether he tends to follow a schedule or writes at a particular time of the day, the author, whose outlines are often tiny, vague things that leave a lot of room for change, tells us he tries to write every day. ‘I love mornings. It’s when I’m the most productive. If I can’t get to my target word count by noon, I keep going. I like to save afternoons and evenings for edits and reading because by then my creative energies are spent,’ he explains, emphasising that he hardly juggles writing and other tasks.

‘I put my writing first. It’s how I reach my word count goals. It’s how I write three books a year. My other hobbies used to include football, basketball, golf, anything with competition and a ball involved. Now, I’ve put most of that aside to write, but I travel with my wife and put writing aside a few weeks out of each year,’ he shares with us.

Cutting Teeth

Be that as it may, does he derive inspiration from any writers? Says Mr Link, who is also a regular attendee at the San Francisco and Dallas-Fort Worth Writers Conferences, ‘I have a ton of favourites. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say Elmore Leonard and Dennis Lehane had the biggest influence on my desire to write good prose, but my love for pulp detectives goes back to John, Ross, and Gregory, the three McDonalds.’ Stating that Lew Archer, Travis McGee, and Fletch were some of his favourite people with whom he likes to hang out, the author says as for the paranormal influences in the books, like so many his age, he did not have YA novels to read. ‘I cut my teeth on Stephen King and Dean Koontz from the age of eleven, and their influence is still in so much of what I do,’ he adds.

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‘Authors Too Tied to Financial Aspect of Writing’

Being a full-fledged writer already having written fourteen novels and hundreds of short stories, Mr Link says his works in progress are many. ‘I’ve got the fourth book in Mack’s series written, and I’m editing while working on number five,’ he lets on, adding, ‘I’ve got a new series character I’m playing with as well, and hope to have a book with her in a year or so.’ Nonetheless, he is also currently working on a collaborative project with some talented writers in his writing group, the Mark My Words bunch from Northern California.

Going on to aver that writing is a career for him even if he does not make a living at it, Mr Link, who has studied Spanish, Japanese, and Brazilian Portuguese, tells us he thinks authors get too tied to the financial aspect of writing, and that’s not the bar he sets for his success. ‘I want to reach people so they’ll read my stories and enjoy them, not so I can quit my day job. That’s one of the reasons I love Kindle Unlimited. People can read me for free,’ he says.

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Final Word

Given the fact that he has several books to his name, we ask Mr Link if he has something to tell budding authors who lose motivation if their works don’t do well, and Mr Link says, ‘If you don’t sell your first book, don’t lose heart. The world has changed, and so has the book market. You might need to have twenty available for sale before you start seeing any revenue coming in, and even then, there’s no guarantee. Believe in yourself. That’s the only way you can keep going.’

Last but not the least, when asked if there is something that he definitely would want to see changed in the world, Mr Link, who always reads before hitting the hay each day, says he would want to go back to the kind of world where people connected more. ‘Social media and the internet has made us feel more connected, and some of the perks are undeniable, but people don’t stop and talk to each other enough. I think that’s why you see so much division amongst us. We don’t have a personal stake, so we can be as nasty as we want,’ says the author, thus signing off on an insightful note.

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4 replies »

  1. As an Editor for Gold Man Review, Mr.Link sharing his thoughts would probably be very useful for the budding authors/writers. Last few lines is simply superb. He rightly said that ‘people don’t stop and talk to each other enough’. Thanks for sharing this, Vatsarah.

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