Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Re: Kevin Brennan


I’m a novelist. Can’t help it. And when my first novel, Parts Unknown, was published by William Morrow in 2003, followed by the HarperCollins paperback in ‘04, I thought I could call myself that with no sense of irony or wannabe about it. Unfortunately, traditional trade publishing is a cutthroat business, and I haven’t been able to break through with a second contract in the intervening years — an all-too typical tale for mid-list, literary authors. Since 2004 I’ve had three different agents, four different books, and no takers.

Reluctantly, I’ve decided to experiment with self-publishing a new novel, Yesterday Road. There aren’t many avenues available to us indie writers who don’t intend to stop writing just because the desk jockeys in New York aren’t big on second chances, but the new possibilities of self-publishing (or “direct-to-reader” if you prefer), especially with the growing success of ebooks, offer us a way to find an audience, even if we’re forced into activities we’re not completely comfortable with to sell our work. Marketing, platform-building, social media, “putting ourselves out there.” It is daunting, fraught with obstacles, and probably next to impossible, but it’s the only route we have if we want our stuff read by others. If writing isn’t just a pleasant hobby, you need those eyeballs.

Here, with What The Hell: Kevin Brennan Is Self-Publishing His New Novel, I’ll be describing my preparations and research, laying down my impressions of the business of self-publishing, and offering whatever I can in the way of advice for other writers considering this option.

Yesterday Road, in fact, was published in October 2013. You can buy it via any of the sites listed here.

Occasional Soulmates, chick-lit by a dude, was released in September 2014, and my latest, Town Father, Or, Where Graceful Girls Abound, made its paperback debut in October 2015.

I must confess that I’m going in with low expectations but plenty of last-chance determination. Even if my ever-changing expectations aren’t met, there’s no reason not to do the last possible thing you can do. And if this doesn’t work out, at least I can look my fifty-something mug in the mirror and say I tooks my shot.

As they used to say in old Rome, Disce pati. Learn to endure.

41 comments on “Re: Kevin Brennan

  1. change it up editing
    May 3, 2013

    You had me at the title! I haven’t even read your posts yet, but just from this page I know I want to follow your journey. Thanks for visiting my blog and following me, which is how I found you.

  2. Kevin Brennan
    May 3, 2013

    Thank you, Candace, and I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot from your blog!

  3. 1WriteWay
    May 17, 2013

    Hi, Kevin, I am enjoying your blog and am very interested to see where your journey takes you. I’m very interested in self-publishing, partly because of experiences such as yours. Yes, it can be lovely to be traditionally published, but what do you do when you can’t land another contract? I have misgivings about self-publishing mainly because I’m an introvert and I doubt that I will ever have the spine to do self-promotion. Still, seeing other writers make the effort is inspiring. Good luck on your journey.

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 17, 2013

      It’s quite the dilemma, isn’t it. I’m like you and tend to avoid self-promotion, so jumping into this is going to be very different for me. But when it finally became clear to me that the traditional path was probably a dead end, I realized I wasn’t ready to stop “being a writer,” much less writing. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  4. sknicholls
    June 15, 2013

    From one novelist to another I love your point of view. I guess I don’t write books…I write novels (thought they were books). I like how you write about what you are passionate about, assess the information you share, but don’t necessarily agree with it. For that reason i am nominating you for the Liebster Award. http://redclayandroses1.wordpress.com/ You will find instructions here. I also like getting to know the people that i have recently connected with.

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 16, 2013

      You’re too kind! And I’m so flattered, but I don’t know how soon I can leap into Liebster action. Is there a time limit?

      • sknicholls
        June 16, 2013

        There is never a time limit and you don’t have to accept. It is just a fun way to get to know other bloggers and to be introduced to bloggers you like. You can even right click on the Liebster Award, do nothing more and take a widget for image and put it on your wall if you like. It was given because I really like the simplicity and creativity of your blog.

  5. lionaroundwriting
    June 17, 2013

    Good luck! Roll the dice and see what happens.

  6. Kevin Brennan
    June 17, 2013

    Thanks for the encouragement! And I appreciate the follow too!

  7. SFF Madman
    June 25, 2013

    Hi, Kevin. Nice site. I look forward to reading your work!

  8. 1WriteWay
    August 17, 2013

    Hi! I’ve nominated you for both the 5 in 1 Award and the WordPress Family Award. If you want to participate, you can see how I mangled, I mean, managed the rules here: http://1writeway.com/2013/08/17/its-awards-time-again/. Participation is not required. I’m just sharing the love 🙂

  9. Solve The Chord
    August 24, 2013

    Perseverance is key; keep up the good work :]

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 25, 2013

      Thanks for the vote of confidence! And for stopping by.

  10. Professor VJ Duke
    August 28, 2013

    Wish you great luck with your novel. if you don’t mind answering, who is your current lit agent?

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 28, 2013

      No agent at the moment. I’ve had my share, but I’m trying the self-publishing scene without one. We shall see what happens…

      Thanks for visiting!

  11. tmewalsh
    November 5, 2013

    Hi Kevin, I’ve nominated you for an award and put a link on my blog http://tmewalsh.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/a-new-blog-award-and-my-nominations/

  12. Diana Jackson
    November 5, 2013

    Hi Kevin. I found your blog through Tania Walsh’s blog and look forward to your posts and sharing your journey into SP. Best of luck

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 6, 2013

      Thanks so much, Diana. And thanks for following too!

  13. Anneque G. Malchien
    November 6, 2013

    I’m finding the more I get into platform building, the more enjoyable it becomes. Even just in the last five weeks I’ve met some great people and read some fantastic stories. Even sold a few books. 🙂

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 6, 2013

      I have to admit, it’s been more enjoyable than I expected. I’ve met some terrific people too, and the spirit of community is terrific .

      Thanks for following, and I’m now following you back!

      • Anneque G. Malchien
        November 6, 2013

        Thank you! Writers supporting writers, and working to make a better experience for readers, it’s a great community.

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  16. donaldbakerauthor
    January 9, 2014

    The whole writing, publishing game has run it’s course. Let us know how the self publish compares to the traditional.

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 9, 2014

      Not sure writing is done for, but publishing sure has to adapt soon. It looks like they’re emulating the music business by jamming a 20th century peg into a 21st century hole, but of course it’ll take a while for them to see the light. Meanwhile, we pound away!

      Thanks for following.

      • donaldbakerauthor
        January 9, 2014

        Yes, what you said. Writing, music, art, all still strong. But the business model of the 20th century is dying.

        Keep on truckin.

  17. Helena Hann-Basquiat
    March 28, 2014

    How was I not following you yet, Kevin? How is that possible? We’ve spoken. I’m reading your book. We’ve engaged in light banter. Well, I’ve corrected that oversight.

    • Kevin Brennan
      March 28, 2014

      Ah, no worries! It took me a while to find you as well. Now I’m an HB-B habitué.

  18. weebitwordy
    June 15, 2014

    HI! I’ve nominated you on WeeBitWordy.wordpress.com for a Liebster Award! For the Rules and what to do, go to my page for the post! 😀

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 15, 2014

      Thanks so much for the nomination, WBW; I’m really honored. I decided last year, though, to decline the Liebster — if only because I don’t feel like I have time to do the nomination justice. (It’s quite a commitment!) I sure appreciate your thoughts, though, and I’m glad you like what I’m doing here.

  19. margaretjeanlangstaff
    August 3, 2014

    Kevin, listen here, I’m following you, we go back a way (you owe me one too and haha you know what I mean), but what’s on my mind right now is the fact is that your posts never show up on my “reader.” Why? And, BTW, you haven’t been showing up at my place lately either. Is the new guitar? 🙂

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 3, 2014

      My wife has been sick for a while, Margaret, and things are a little bit topsy turvy on this end… Thanks in advance for understanding.

  20. margaretjeanlangstaff
    August 3, 2014

    So sorry about your wife, Kev, I know what a concern that has been> I had a health scare myself (false alarm) and it turn the world upside down. Take good care of her. I still wuv u

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  23. thatssojacob
    January 15, 2016

    Hey there Kevin! Just browsing around the blogosphere, finding some fun and interesting blogs to follow to make some new friends in 2016. If you like, hop on over to my world at http://www.thatssojacob.wordpress.com, and if you see anything you like, comment or follow! Have a great day and happy new year!

  24. jan
    March 18, 2016

    Nice blog! Your books have intriguing titles (always the hard part for me). My publisher really only knows how to market and promote genre fiction so I am somewhat screwed as well. Best of luck! Jan

  25. Eric Bickernicks
    February 3, 2018

    Hey Kevin! Do you listen to audiobooks?

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