Friday, June 24, 2011

Guest post: Success is a multi-faceted word

A guest post from Kathy Bennett, who recently self-published her first book. I think everybody, non-writers included, can gain some inspiration from this tenacious lady :) Her post is a bit long, but it's worth the read. Those of us who think 'Oh my life is so busy, I'll never be able to get anything published, I don't have time to put into writing' will learn a thing or two.

I'm excited to help get the word out about her book. You can see the trailer for her novel on Youtube:  A Dozen Deadly Roses .
Kathy's blog is at Pay her a visit!

From LAPD Cop to Author

I was a police officer for the City of Los Angeles for twenty-one years.  The road to becoming a cop wasn’t easy.  I’m not a large person; I’m not very athletic, and not particularly intimidating.  I also had the disadvantage of starting my career at an ‘older’ age – my mid-thirties. 

But what I had going for me, was a strong determination and desire to make my dream of being an LAPD officer a reality.  After achieving that goal, and being named Officer of the Year in 1997, I needed a new challenge.  That’s how I became a writer.

I didn’t seriously start writing until 1998 – and then, I wasn’t very good.  I hadn’t learned my craft.  I attended writer’s conferences, took classes, entered writing contests, and used all those experiences to hone my skills.  I became a better writer, but still I floundered. 

Also in this time period, in addition to working 40-60 hours a week, I was the primary caregiver for my brother who’d suffered a major stroke and was left partially paralyzed.  While his care side-tracked my writing, I have never regretted the time I spent helping him to live out his life with dignity and as independently as possible.

In 2008, at the RWA National Conference, I met a writer who invited me to join her critique group.  This is where my writing career took a huge turn.  The critique group was invaluable in forcing me to write regularly.  They showed me my strengths and weaknesses, helping me fix wrong things while enhancing the right things in my writing.

I’d written a good story, and with the help of my critique group, A Dozen Deadly Roses started to garner attention on the contest circuit and from agents.  But I started hearing a lot about self-publishing.  I did some research, and the more I heard, the more I liked.  Two or three years ago, self-publishing your own book labeled a writer as someone who ‘couldn’t make it’, or as a ‘loser’.   The new e-readers allowed some authors to become successful and make good money. 

But, for me, there’s a bigger draw to self-publishing besides the possibility of making a lot of money.  The lure is the ability to control my own destiny.  I liked the idea if my book was a hit, it was due to my hard work.  If the book flopped, that was my responsibility too.

In June of this year, I self-published my debut novel, a romantic suspense, titled, A Dozen Deadly Roses.  The book’s been out about two weeks.  I’m pleased with the results.  I’ve received some marvelous reviews and made moderate sales.

But it wasn’t a solitary effort to provide my book to readers.  I hired a book editor, a book cover designer, and also someone to help format the book to e-reader standards.  This was money I shelled out prior to earning a dime.  But there’ve been many others who’ve helped make my writing dream a reality too.

I’m sure I’ll leave someone out, but they include my critique group, several beta readers, contest judges, writers, friends but most importantly, my family.  My daughter has been instrumental in listening, but mostly being a cheerleader – when I needed cheering the most.

Then there’s my husband.  The support from him is extraordinary.  I’ve spent a lot of money over the past thirteen years pursuing my dream of being a published author.  I’ve attended dozens of conferences, purchased numerous computers, writing classes, and countless supplies.  Through it all, he never flinches when I say I’m going to do A,B, or C or I’m going to buy X,Y, or Z.  He just smiles and asks when I’m going to make my first million.

I retired earlier this year from the LAPD to help take care of my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.  But I’m also spending time these days promoting myself via social networking, blogging, teaching classes, and speaking at conferences.  I’m getting some writing done too.  I’m happy.  

While writing is not an easy career, I can do it because I’ve brought along a skill-set I used when becoming a cop – determination and desire.


  1. What a great post, Kathy. I've known you for a while now, and I'm still learning things. Your books is an excellent read, and I'm hoping you sell millions of copies.

    Now about the fish on this website. I love the fish. Can I get the fish on my website?

    Happy writing to you...
    Lucie j.

  2. Hi Lucie!

    Well, I'm like an onion...keep peeling! Lol!

    You know I'm not a're on your own regarding the fish!

    Thanks for coming by.

  3. Lucie, hello! The fish are just a gadget, it was easy to add. If you're on blogger just look up "most popular gadgets".

    Yeah, Kathy is full of good stuff, about writing and life in general. She deserves her success.