Robert B. Hayek: Origin Story Part 1
Every week I write about various authors throughout the world and how they have come to this point to become the writers they are. This week I am taking a slight detour from that, but I will still give you an author spotlight. I will spotlight the strangest author you will ever meet; myself.
My writing journey began around high school. I always liked to write stories, and this initially came from my love of sports. My original goal in life was to become a sports reporter. I wanted to write about the Angels winning the World Series; the Lakers winning another NBA Championship, the Anaheim Ducks capturing the Stanley Cup and the San Francisco 49ers winning the Super Bowl. My love of writing originally came from my love of sports, specifically these four teams.
In high school, that love of sports eventually strengthened into other aspects. I started writing mock sketches based on Saturday Night Live skits, especially SNL Jeopardy, and I enjoyed writing comedy. I called my first short story Following the Colorado River, which was a tale about my friends and I adventuring to Laughlin, Nevada and getting into some trouble with many people. Comedy was my first venture into plot-based writing, and it was wacky and wild.
In college, around 2006, I experienced depression. There were many factors that led to this, but it ultimately was one of the worst times in my life. This was something that could have destroyed me, but I channeled it into something positive. I took a notepad and began writing everything down. I came up with a character named Samantha Crane (later changed to Samantha Hudson), a beautiful, amazing doctor who inspired me. She was basically the best representation of women to me back then. Then I came up with a character named Taylor Young. This character had no memory of his past, which is something I put as a cool back story. With these two characters, I had a love story, which was the opposite of what I wanted to write. So I came up with an interesting villain named Eduardo Benitez.
With these three characters, I started writing. I wrote a book called Lies and Deceptions that I edited many times and finally, after a few years, I found a printer. In 2010, I did not understand that self-publishing companies existed. Back then, I thought ‘self-publishing’
meant finding a printing company and printing out a bunch of books. I printed 300 copies, hoping to sell every one of them. I did not realize how out of my league I was.
My first strategy was to put the book on Amazon. That was easy enough. I could promote it through Facebook, which was a growing social media platform that I felt would become big someday. I remember promoting the book every other day (to not annoy people too much), and since I printed the books personally, every time someone ordered the book, I would have to personally package the story and send it out to whoever placed the order.
I sold about 56 books going through this process. I still had not caught up to the costs of printing, which was approximately $300. That did not phase me. I wanted to sell everything. However, there was an issue. The editor I hired did not do an outstanding job at all. As I read through everything, I realized there were many errors. That taught me an important lesson—never hire your friends to edit your book, ever!
I tried an original strategy to sell more books. I actually went to a fair in Huntington Beach and sat at a large wooden table I carried to sell three books in two hours. You would think that was amazing, but it would not be long before I saw some critical reviews on Amazon not long after. It hurt me. It hurt me mainly because I could have done better, but I did not understand what I was doing. By the time I was onto my next book, I had become dispirited and almost gave up. I ended up giving away a lot of the copies to family and friends.
Despite this, I have plans to rewrite and redistribute Lies and Deception (yes; I am dropping the S). I have a better story lined up, with more three-dimensional characters. I have changed Young’s character a little. He is now a Drug Enforcement Agent with a connection to a member of a cartel. Samantha is still a doctor that not only becomes his love interest but also has her own story. Benitez is back as the leader of the now fictional Guadalajara Cartel. Despite my setback with this story, I plan to move forward and try again, using an actual self-publishing service to get my story out there. The author spotlight for other authors will be back next week, but I will do a sequel to this article soon and reveal how the Story of Jon Drake came to be.