One of the best, and I mean best workshops I ever attended was at a writer’s conference in Alexandria LA about five years ago. Curt Iles was the presenter and his workshop on independent publishing was informative, interesting both visually and orally, well-researched, and full of hard-won wisdom. I bought some of Curt’s early work right then and have continued to follow his progress as a writer of non-fiction and now fiction.
Curt’s reinvention of himself from school principal to prolific writer and speaker is a journey of small steps. Believing God gave him a message to share and being willing to work hard at getting that message into the hands that needed it, Curt began his journey of following God one yes at a time to realize the dream planted in his heart.
I recently asked Curt a few questions related to his pilgrimage and his answers are below:
1. Curt, you haven’t always been an author, what did you do before and what made you leave that career to pursue full-time writing?
God’s will in my life has been progressive. Each step of the journey has prepared me for the next phase. I love Corrie Ten Boom’s quote: “God is preparing you for what He has prepared for you.” I’ve seen that played out in each part of my life.
My initial career was as a high school teacher (science) and coach. After a rewarding career in the classroom and on the court, I became a school principal at the school from which I graduated.
In 1992, I moved from this position into leading a year-round church camp. It was the place I received my first job at age 13 and was truly a labor of love. It was during these years that I began writing seriously and independently published my first four books.
After fourteen years as a Camp Leader, I ventured into full-time writing and speaking.
2. You obviously believe in stories because you tell them so well. What is it about a good story that is so valuable?
Stories connect to people’s hearts. A story can travel wherever nothing else is allowed. Jesus was an expert storyteller using parables and examples to illustrate Biblical truths.
I speak over one hundred times yearly to groups of all backgrounds. This includes speaking cross-culturally in Africa and Central America. Regardless of the culture, a simple well-told story always connects both emotionally and spiritually with listeners.
3. You lead workshops about independent publishing; what is the most important advice you give to budding authors who are considering publishing their own work?
1. Develop your platform of speaking, blogging, getting to know folks. Every endeavor in life, including building a writing career, is built on relationships.
2. Be a lifelong learner on the art and craft of good writing.
3. Make aggressive use of social media (Facebook, Twitter) to develop a readership and following long before your first book.
4. Research carefully trends and opportunities in self-publishing.
5. Invest the needed time, money, and learning on how to produce an attractive book that you can be proud of.
Visit Curt Iles at Creekbank Stories here: www.creekbank.net
Check out Curt’s latest book, Deep Roots
Sample or purchase the E-book version here.