Two years later in January 2013 I took some time off work to write again. At first I wasn't sure whether I wanted to write another book for Warner's World. My wife wanted me to write about some of the stories I used to tell about my growing up. I started that book, called "A Lad at Large" but the funny thing was that after writing the first chapter I got a real hit to go back to Warner's World.
Then there was the question of where to start this next book and what theme should it focus on. I did not want Dave Warner to be one of those heroes that never puts a foot wrong. Strong character is made on the back of failures. It’s only from our failures that we really learn the big lessons of life. So I decided that Dave would have a fall from grace but be given an opportunity for redemption – hence the name of book 2. I won’t go into any more details about what happens in book 2 or for that matter any of the subsequent books for fear of spoiling it for you my readers. Suffice to say that I wrote book 2 in flurry of creativity over eight weeks, just like the first book.
Only one year separated books 2 and 3. Again I wrote it during my annual leave period. This was cut short for other reasons but I did finish it by the end of March 2014. By then I had developed a habit of writing something most days. It was something I looked forward to. Many a night, I would stay up late writing, only to come to bed in the wee hours with my head still buzzing with ideas.
I spent the next few months reviewing and revising book one. I wanted to get this in a fit state for publication. By June I thought it was ready and so I embarked on what many writers find as the most difficult aspect of becoming an author – ie getting your work published. After a few efforts at approaching publishers I gave up and accepted the conventional wisdom of the day that you really needed to get an agent.
But finding an agent was to prove even more frustrating. After many months of writing submissions I finally got one agent to respond, but two months after that I got a simple rejection email saying they didn’t think it would fit their line-up. The industry was changing. More and more people wanted to have their writing published – increased demand – but the traditional print media were under threat from the self-publishing digital media. Many of these responded by becoming even more risk averse, opting for the tried and true formulas. It was the Hollywoodisation syndrome. If you had something new and different well you were going to find it even more difficult.
I eschewed the vanity publishers because in the end they would not provide the necessary ingredient for success – ie effective marketing. I took heart from a friend of mine who is a published author. He read a good portion of my first book and helped me out with the opening chapters. He said to me “Dave your writing’s more than good enough but that alone is not going to cut it. You need good marketing. That’s what sells your book.”
So I undertook an online course on E Publishing run under the auspices of the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). It was conducted by Steven Lewis of Taleist. It was excellent. Based largely on the advice I received there I decided to publish via Amazon but also to create this website and blog. It’s certainly a step out into the unknown but I reminded myself that Dave Warner does not have a monopoly on courage.
So while all this ‘business’ activity was being undertaken I still kept up my daily practice of writing. If anything I picked up the pace completing book 4 in August 2014, book 5 in June 2015 and I’m currently 40,000 words into book 6.
Dave O'Connor is an award winning designer of computer war games, a consultant to the military in the simulation space, an expert in artificial intelligence and now author of the Warner's World series of sci-fi books. He is probably best known as President of Panther Games and designer of the Command Ops computer wargame series. He lives in Canberra, Australia, with his wife Joy. He has two adult children.
Warp Drive Publishing
is a division of
Panther Games Pty Ltd
ACN 66 008 609 541
We are located in Canberra, Australia.