My Grandfather and Me

My maternal grandfather’s name is Stayton Henry May. He passed away when I was thirty-three.

I wrote the poem from memories from 1963 and 1964. Those years I lived in Seguin, Texas. He lived on the old Pruitt Place between Leesville and Nixon, Texas in Gonzales County.

As a fifth and sixth grader, I spent many weekends and holidays with him during those wonder years. The poem is of memories of fishing with him and when I asked him about Jesus walking on the water. He asked where I heard the story. I told him Sunday school. He then retold me the story saying he first heard it attending church as a boy.

I had a wonderful grandfather.

grandpa in boat

My Grandfather and Me

We would walk to the stock tank
My grandfather and me
There I learned to bait a hook
In the cool shade of the trees

Sometimes in the little boat
Rowing close to an earthen dam
He would retell of Jesus walking on the water
A story he’d learned in church when just a lad

He would take a dip of Garrett Snuff
Addicted to the nicotine
While I watched my cane pole’s cork float
When it bobbed, I tugged the line, and let out a scream

In my homemade feed sack shirt
Blue jeans rolled up nearly to my knees
He was always in his khakis
A red bandanna used to catch his sneeze

Memories of those early years
Are as fresh as yesterday
Someday we will meet in Glory
Again he will show me the way.

Jimmie A. Kepler
July 2012

Hello, I’m a Military Brat

Pease Air Force Base at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The picture was taken in the May 1966 from the balcony of the operations building. I was in the 7th grade. There is one KC-135 and six B-52s on the runway.
Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There are one KC-135 and six B-52s on the runway. The picture dates from May 1966. I was in the 7th grade. I lived on Pease AFB from February 1966 to May 1967 and was in the 7th and 8th grades while we lived there.

What is a military brat? A military brat is the son or daughter of an airman, marine, sailor, or soldier. These children of career military have shared characteristics. They grew up in a community of service. Sacrificing for the greater good is part of their character. They moved on average once every three years to a new state, region, or country.

Academic studies show military brats lack racism.1 They are the only color blind group in the USA. They are the most open-minded of any subgroup in the world. They are more tolerant and embrace diversity with respect for others better than their civilian counterparts to include those raised in liberal homes. They are equally respectful and tolerant of conservative, moderate and liberal points of view.2

They adapt to change and new situations better than any group in the United States. 2

They are socially independent. They do well in personal relationships. They put the needs of the other people ahead of their needs.

Military brats who grew up as military dependents particularly in the late 1940s to early 1970s are kinder, caring, and more loyal than their raised as civilian children counterparts. They were higher achievers academically and professionally make the best employees due to characteristics like self-discipline, self-starter, flexibility, and their personal fiscal responsibility. 2

Most military brats do not have a real hometown.2 Most do not know their cousins, aunts, and uncles or grandparents very well. Many do not trust the governments of North Korea, Russia, and China.

The word brat is not derogatory. It stands for:

B – Born

R – Raised

A – And

T – Trained1

I’m a military brat. My father served in the United States Army, United States Army Air Force and the United States Air Force (USAF). He retired from the USAF.

I am also a former United States Army officer. Growing up as a military brat helped prepare me for my service. It was all natural and comfortable to me. I felt it was where I belonged more than anyplace else in my life.



Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffeehouse, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can visit him at

Starbucks, 356 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, California


The picture is of the Starbucks at 1356 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 9040. It is one of my all-time favorite locations. I was easily two to three times as old as the core group of local patrons.

Starbucks Santa Monica CAI used to hang out there after work and write when I worked for a Los Angeles based software company. They opened at 5 AM and stayed open to midnight during the week and to 1 AM on weekends.

Their WiFi is the fastest I have ever encountered. I think everyone in the coffee house could stream Netflix at the same time and have perfect picture and sound quality.

o-3The patrons were young, diverse, eclectic, and by the time I visited a third time, very accepting of me.

The management at this location allowed street musicians outside. This location was always crazy busy and wonderful. The Pacific Ocean was a short five-minute walk from this Starbucks, even in the never-ending crowd of tourists. If ever in Santa Monica, California this is a must location for coffee.

If you click on the photos, you can see the full-sized picture.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler 8/2016Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination, Poetry & Prose Magazine, and vox poetica. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support engineer. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can learn more about him at Kepler’s Coffee House.

Your Best Friend

Your Best Friend

If ever you find yourself being broken apart,
Because the one you trusted has broken your heart,
And all the time you find yourself crying,
While on the inside you feel like you’re dying,

Call on me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – your best friend.

One time life gave you a fright,
Existence was as black as a moonless midnight,
You were feeling so out-of-place,
With no one to hug or embrace,

Then you saw the light,
You came to me in the middle of the night,
And you ran to me to give your heart,
And that’s when your new life did start

Call on me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – Jesus, your best friend.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie A. Kepler
Originally published in “WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE!”
Also published in: “Writing After Fifty” and in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection.”

Bob Dylan Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature

bob_dylan_-_azkena_rock_festival_2010_2The singer and songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on today for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” in the words of the Swedish Academy. He is the first American to win since the novelist Toni Morrison, in 1993.

In a 2013 Op-Ed Essay in the New York Times Bill Wyman wrote, “Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience. His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless, and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence.”

Below is my poem, “Gone Electric.” It is a poetic tribute to Bob Dylan. It includes one line “And played the greatest poet – lyricist ever seen.” Today’s award kind of validates my point of view. The poem is my most viewed poem and second most viewed post on my blog with over 2,000 views a day.

If Dylan were sitting with me I could help but ask, “How does it feel?” to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Gone Electric

Our music choice back then was known as folk
the surgeon general told us not to smoke
Acoustic was our favorite sound
In Washington, D.C. The Beatles played in the round

We cried when JFK was assassinated that November day
and why the Vietnam War we asked LBJ
The Newport Folk Festival was going strong
And Bob Dylan wrote our favorite song

On television we all got Lost in Space
And Ryan O’Neil made hearts throb on Payton Place
Back in ’65 three girls sang with a sound which was Supreme
And played the greatest poet – lyricist ever seen

And the times were a changing because of him
Playboy Playmate Sara Lownds was his wife, young and trim
She gave him three sons and a beautiful little girl
Some before, some after the tour that rocked the world

His acoustic half-set sounded the same
the electric-half critics called a shame
and his music still changed the world
Even as shouts of Judas started to swirl

They hated him at the Royal Albert Hall
and were glad when he took that horrible fall
some thought after his motorcycle accident
That his life and career were totally spent.

Eight years before he toured the world again,
He wouldn’t let the critics boss him with their poison pen
And his music never really would change
Though his voice now shows age’s strain

To the arenas, stadiums, and theaters we still all come
and he sings putting the sunshine:  in our lives glum
Just Like a Woman, Mr. Tambourine Man and Desolation Row
Then with Like a Rolling Stone he closes the show.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
© 2011

Originally published in:
WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE! as  Electric Dylan
“Gone Electric” is the title poem in “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Amazon.

Photo Credit: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Description: Bob Dylan, onstage in Victoria-Gasteiz, at the Azkena Rock Festival.
Date 26 June 2010, 21:14
Source Bob Dylan
Author Alberto Cabello from Vitoria Gasteiz.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, The Baptist Standard (ghostwriter), Thinking About, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE, and more. His novels The Rebuilder and Miss Sarah’s Secret as well as Charlie’s Bells: A Short Story Anthology and the award-winning short story The Cup, and the short stories Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, The Paintings and poetry collection Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on

Available on Amazon

A Day Job, Family, and the Writing Life

27Twenty-seven hours

Do you need twenty-seven hours in your day to do everything? Sorry, I can’t give your day extra hours. What I can give are some of the lessons I’ve learned and techniques I use to make the best use of my time.

Maybe like a current television commercial’s characters you are stupid rich. That is where you can pay for someone to handle your pitches, blurbs, contract negotiations, research, reporting, editing, billing, collections, Twitter, Facebook, and personal website.

Stupid rich allows you to just write. If that’s the case, this article isn’t for you. However, if you don’t have a housekeeper that does the cleaning, a nanny taking care of the kids, and a virtual assistant, read on.

You’re more like me.

My guess is you are more like me. You have to do it all. You would add to the above list driving the car pool, church and community goings-on, your children and grandkids school activities. You might also be caring for aging parents as well as having a time-jealous spouse that cannot figure out why you are driven to write. Or like me you may have a terminally ill spouse. They view your writing as just a hobby.

Like me, you have to figure out how to manage your writing time while working the day job to support your writing habit, and of course keep the spouse, children, parents, and world happy.

You may find your life so connected with others that you can’t turn off email, Facebook, and Twitter. You rationalize, it’s okay, after all, you use them to promote your writing. And the iPhone or Android smartphones have to be on all the time for instant access to voice and text communication.

Okay, go ahead, take a deep breath. I find all live similar lives. I won’t kid you; it is hard to write, stay organized and productive while balancing a day job, writing and family. We all know there is no silver bullet or magic formula to handle these conflicting demands.

Time management tips

Here are some time management tips I’ve learned over the last thirty-five years of freelance writing. During that interval, I’ve been writing while working and changing careers three times. I’ve been a United States Army officer. I admit I learned lots of discipline and time management skills from Uncle Sam. Next, I was a full-time Christian educator holding such job titles as Minster of Education, Associate Pastor, and Day School Headmaster.

For the last twenty years, I have worked in information technology field as a technical documentationalist, support engineer and systems engineer with all the never-ending on-call, long hours and weekends that go with an IT job. Along the way, I raised a family, worked a day job, was active in my church, managed staying married to the same woman for forty-two years, and carried for aging parents and parents-in-law. It’s not easy, but you can do it.

Writing requires five things

How have I done it? I learned finding time for writing requires five things. It requires balance, focus, understanding expectations, flexibility, and the ability to multitask.

  1. I learned a writer needs balance. This is meeting writing deadlines while marketing to existing and new clients to keep work coming in. An editor at Lifeway Christian Resources told me thirty-five years ago others wrote better than me, but I wrote to specification, met deadlines, and was easy to work with so I was offered assignment after assignment over the better writers. Professional writers balance the writing life with the rest of their life. It isn’t either or, but both and.
  2. I learned to maintain my focus is critical. What I mean by focus is being able to switch from task to task or project to project without getting distracted. I learned to do this by viewing writing as a professional job. Just like showing up at the day job and beginning working when my shift start, I do the same with writing. I have an appointed time and then just write.
  3. I learned to manage my expectations. Creating realistic expectations for how much can be accomplished in an hour, day, week month or year took time. It helped where I didn’t take on too much work. I learned the balance needed to meet deadlines and not be overwhelmed. It helps you end up with the right amount of a workload. This allows you to have time for your family and friends.
  4. I learned to be flexible. In freelancing for trade journals and magazines, I have been called at three PM on a Friday and asked if I could have them an article by the beginning of business on Monday. Why such a short deadline? The person with the original assignment missed their due date. I say yes only when I can deliver. Flexibility is staying loose enough to deal with the unforeseen circumstances that unavoidably crop up while keeping enough structure to finish projects on time.
  5. I learned to multitask. I hate the word and concept. I actually can only work on one thing at a time, but can work on several projects. I just think about multitasking like when I had six of seven classes in high school or college. I would have homework in more than one class. I learned how to handle it. Working on multiple projects simultaneously is a regular part of a freelancer’s life. For example, you may blog, Tweet, be working on your novel, and coordinating the church social all the same week. Somehow we do it.

Approaches for managing time

Well, I hear you thinking about now, “Where are those time management suggestions?” You guessed it, here they are. I call them approaches for managing time. Ultimately, better time management should equal higher productivity.

  1. I have a regular place and time to write. It doesn’t matter if it is first thing in the morning, after lunch or in the evening. I have found when I do that The Muse will eventually show up because The Muse knows where and when to find me. I write most morning at Starbucks for an hour before going to the day job, longer on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I write there because I have fewer interruptions. I also write for the last thirty minutes of my lunch hour four days a week. Never forget, writer’s write. You have to make time for writing.
  2. I avoid interruptions. Here is where you disconnect or turn off the phone. It’s where you don’t check email, Facebook or Twitter. You write. If working from home, don’t answer the doorbell. It is the time to write, not the time to research. If you are writing and need to research, make a note, but keep writing. You can research later. I actually write many times with the Internet turned off or using software that limits the time I can be on the Internet. Avoiding interruptions helps you make writing a priority where you can write.
  3. I write to the clock, not for a word count, though I try to write at least a page a day (about 250 to 300 words). Because of working about 50 hours a week at my day job, I don’t have the luxury of writing until I reach a certain number of words each day. I have to stop and go to work. It is amazing how many words I write just by having a regular schedule. You can use the timer on your phone or one from your kitchen to track the time you write. While writing, I always get up every hour to stretch and clear my mind, etc. Monday through Friday, I write from 6:00 AM to 7:05 AM. On Saturday, I write from 6:00 AM until 10 or 11:00 AM. Sundays I write from 6:30 AM to 8:00 AM before attending church. Again, I take a short break each hour and then keep on keeping on.
  4. I set goals. When working on a novel or an article I use what was called the backward planning process when I was in the US Army. Backward planning means first identifying your goal. Next you select the actions that are most likely to help you to arrive efficiently at your goal. For example, if I plan on writing an 80,000-word book on speculation, I know I can write a first draft in 320 days if I write on average just one page a day. I write the date I want to have the deadline and then plan the steps to get there. I outline, so this helps. You build in catch up time. Remember flexibility?
  5. I reward myself. I get excited when I write one page or more in the morning. When making my goal, I may treat myself to a second cup of coffee or a walk in the park. Sometimes reaching a goal gets me the reward of a new book to read. I know several writers who set daily or weekly goals. They reward themselves for concluding tasks or meeting goals. Remember, the rewards don’t have to be big. I do something bigger when a project is completed like celebrate with friends and family.
  6. I schedule time for my spouse. We spend time together. Sunday we attend church and Bible fellowship class together. We go out to eat lunch on Sunday. It is our “standing date.” Any major family or household management issues are handled Sunday afternoons. We often walk together in the park or mall as well as attending a movie or watching a favorite DVD or DVRed movie on Sunday.
  7. I use a to-do list to keep me on track. I know many writers hate them, but I us them help keep me on track.
  8. Last, I keep track of what I write and submit. I have used an Excel Spreadsheet and a paid service to help me in this area. The paid service I used is Duotrope. What I like about Duotrope is it is my personal submissions control panel. Like Writer’s Market, it has marketplace information and how to submit. It has an online submissions tracker that allows me to record and track submissions. Duotrope has the average number of days it takes to get a reply and the acceptance to rejection ratio on over 5,000 markets. It allows me to search publications and publishers by how they pay, acceptance ratio, and average days to get a reply. It tracks my submissions by category: fiction, non-fiction, poetry and an overall summary. It lets me keep track of my pending submissions, how many I have sent in the last 12 months, how many I have sent this month and my acceptance ratio. It allows me to also manage my list of pieces, my saved searches, my tracked deadlines, my favorite markets, shows me ignored markets. The two photos are screen captures of my two monitoring systems. One is a simple Excel Spreadsheet. The other is the Duotrope Dashboard. I found when I track my writing I submit more, sell more and resubmit. It keeps me from sending the same piece twice to the same market. As you can glean I have been rejected by some of the best: The New Yorker, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Poetry Magazine. I also get my share of acceptances.

We may not have twenty-seven hours a day, but we can write on a regular schedule. We can also plan and keep track of our work. Writer’s write. Writer’s also submit, rewrite and resubmit.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffeehouse, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. Kepler has a Bachelor of Arts in history with English and military science minors. He also earned Master of Religious Education, Master of Arts and Doctor of Education degrees. You can also visit him at Kepler’s Book Reviews.

Wash Perk in Denver, Colorado

The photo is of Wash Perk located in Denver, Colorado. It is a bicycle-friendly coffee house/cafe that serves up tasty snacks in an idiosyncratic atmosphere. It’s cozy. Its location near Washington Park has made it a favorite stop for locals. I asked for a specialty drink of theirs. They recommended their honey-cinnamon latte. It is a treat you won’ t soon forget. Thank you to my friend Karen Garrison (known as Nancy Karen Vandiver to my high school friends) for the recommendation. I find it a fantastic place to rest, relax, read, and write whenever I am in Denver, Colorado. I am a repeat patron of Wash Perk. It is one of my all time favorite coffee houses.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffeehouse, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. Kepler has a Bachelor of Arts in history with minors in English and military science. He also earned a Master of Religious Education, Master of Arts and Doctor of Education degrees. You can also visit him at Kepler’s Book Reviews.


Announcing you are an author and writing a book takes courage.

You are putting yourself out there when you tell family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers you are writing a book.


People will have different reactions. Some will show support. Others may get excited. A surprising number will be negative. The reactions are all over the spectrum.

If a parent, partner, or spouse isn’t supportive it hurts. I can hurt very deeply. For many writers finishing the first book is a lifetime dream. Just sharing you are writing exposes yourself.

Too often your spouse, parents and friends just don’t get it. They may even be shocked and horrified by what you write. Don’t be surprised if you write romance, erotica, violence, or horror that people are shocked by what you write.

When you write you put your personality into your book.

The book is an expression or who you are. It reflects your mores. Do not fool yourself, people will judge you by what you write. If it has Christian themes they may call you a religious nut. If it has shooting and beatings, they will call you gruesome. If it has sex they may think you are a sex fiend.

You’ll find the judgment of more severe when you have just one book. With only one book it becomes the lone standard by which you are judged and unfortunately, often attacked. When you get two or three or more books the public sees different sides of you. The more you write and publish, the more you bloom. You’ll find your self-assurance increasing. You will proudly declare you are a writer; you are an author.

It doesn’t stop here. Almost all will have an opinion about you and your writing

When you first start writing, you may be timid in letting others know you are writing a book. After all, almost everyone says they are going to pen the next great novel. You know lots of people talk about writing a book, but few really finish one. Dealing with the criticism and praise can be confusing.

You will confront disapproval, pessimism and judgement. You will wonder how family and friends can be so mean in their comments. You will feel worse as you share with beta readers and go through the editing process. It will feel like they are attacking you personally when they are just sharing their thoughts on the quality of your writing.

You have to be thick skinned. You have to listen to the editors and make corrections and grow. The criticism will start dying off as the editing process continues and you show them you are actually going to do this. When they see you can follow through, the kind words will follow. The criticism will decrease unless you have written on a hot topic.

The skeptics will diminish as you complete your project. If you give up and quit, be prepared to hear the I knew you didn’t have the self-disciple comments. Those comments are probably on target.

You’ll find how you react change to others over the writing process. At first you almost apologize for being a writer. Your self-confidence grows as you get further into and then actually finish the book. You become proud of what you have done.

There’s more. You can’t please everyone. Some will not like your book.

This is inescapable. You have to face. If you are the emotional type, this will be hard. You’ll soon learn if your temperament is right for this sort of work. This is really amplified when you are a new author and emotionally attached to your work. You may feel that a rejection of your book was a rejection of you. This isn’t the case, but it is a hard lesson to learn.

Here are a few thoughts to help deal with these experiences.

Realize that how you feel and react is normal.

You are just learning about writing books and the business of writing. Don’t beat yourself up. There will be enough others doing that to you. Be easy on yourself and learn from the experience.

When the hurtful comment is left as a review or when someone says it to your face, don’t take it personally.

Go ahead and take a deep breath, exhale slowly and do not rebut or argue with them. Ask yourself if it is useful criticism that you can try to use to improve your book. If yes, learn from it; use it. It might be jealousy. If so, smile and ignore it. Is it jealousy, or a comment that does not help?

Positive self-talk helps.

It took guts to write your book. Your view is valid. Remind yourself you can be an author. Remember you are creative. Self-talk is okay. Psych yourself up. Repeat and say over to yourself you can write the book. Someone once said, “Fake it until you make it!”

You can do it!

Writing and publishing a book is an attainable object. The one ingredient you’ll need more than anything is persistence. Take a long term view. Set deadlines and meet them! Most of all, enjoy the journey. If your writing touches one life or heart you are a success.

Remember, when people make remark about you writing and your dream of writing a book, just take a deep breath, nod, and carry on. It’s your dream. If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

Hold on tight to your dreams and then achieve them!

Picture Source:

Not Everyone Thinks Being a Writer is a Good Idea

One of the extraordinary challenges you’ll face as a writer is the opinion of others toward writing as a profession.

You’ll face varied reactions from friends, family, day job coworkers, acquaintances, want to be writer friends and even members of your writer’s group when you are a writer.

A few people will say that’s nice. Some will start telling you about their great American novel plan. They may even offer to share the millions of dollars you can make together if you’ll just write the book using their idea.


You will find others not seeing you as a real writer if you don’t flesh out their vision of a writer. These are the people who talk about writing, but rarely or never put their behind in a chair and write. They only see the real writer as a person with a print book, who goes from book store to book store doing book signings or doing interviews. Of course, someone else has set up all the interviews and book signings. All they do is leave their five-star hotel room and ride the limo to the event.

Author’s Earning $1,000,000 or more per year.

“As of May 5, 2016, only three Big Five authors who debuted in the past five years are currently making a seven-figure run rate from their Amazon sales—print, audio, and ebook combined. On the other hand, 14 indies who debuted in the same time period are right now doing the same.”

Author’s Earning $100,000 or more per year.

“1,340 authors are earning $100,000 per year or more from Amazon sales. But half of them are indies and Amazon-imprint authors. The majority of the remainder? They come from traditional publishing’s longest-tenured ‘old guard.’

“Fewer than 115 Big Five published authors and 45 small or medium publisher authors who debuted in the past five years are currently earning $100,000 per year from Amazon sales. Among indie authors of the same tenure, more than 425 of them are now at a six-figure run rate.”

Author’s Earning $25,000 or more per year.

“More than 4,600 authors [are] earning $25,000 or above from their sales on Forty percent of these are indie authors deriving at least half their income from self-published titles, while 35 percent are Big Five authors deriving the majority of their income from Big Five published titles, and 22 percent are authors who derive most of their income from titles published by small- or medium-sized traditional publishers.”

“The vast majority of traditional publishing’s midlist-or-better earners started their careers more than a decade ago. Their more recently debuted peers are not doing anywhere near as well. Fewer than 700 Big Five authors and fewer than 500 small-or-medium publisher authors who debuted in the last 10 years are now earning $25,000 a year or more on Amazon — from all of their hardcover, paperback, audio and ebook editions combined. By contrast, over 1,600 indie authors are currently earning that much or more.

Source for the above:

Why so much mention of money?

Too many people use the financial bottom line as the reason to measure success or their reason for writing. They expect to write one book and make a million dollars.

Could it happen? Yes. Is it likely to happen? No.

Others want to see their name on the spine of a book or byline in a magazine. I confess it feels good to see either or both.

Why a person writes is personal. Here’s my story when I first shared my dream of becoming a writer.

My Story.

Summoned to my high school guidance counselor’s office, I learned not everyone thinks being a writer is a good idea.  I still recall the meeting as if it were yesterday.

“What are you going to do now that you failed your physical due to bad vision and you can’t use your appointment to the United States Air Force Academy,” asked my high school guidance counselor.

“I’m going to be an author,” I said.

“You can’t be an author,” she replied.

“Why can’t I be an author?” I asked. I wanted to be the next Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, or Ray Bradbury. They were the best-selling authors of the day.

Her career choices for me came from the father role models on the popular television programs of the era. She wanted me to be the next Mike Brady (the architect dad on The Brady Bunch) or an aerospace engineer like Steven Douglas (My Three Sons).

“Jimmie, you’re a boy. You need a college degree in engineering, math, science, or accounting. You have to earn enough money to support your future wife and family. Forget your silly notion that a man can support himself by writing. It is okay to write for a hobby, but you will need a real job. With your grades and SAT scores you could aspire to be a doctor, dentist, or lawyer,” she said.

I was heartbroken.

Raised to believe I could do anything, because of my high school guidance counselor now I wasn’t so sure.

Has anyone ever laughed at your vision of writing?

Perhaps you have been told you lack life experience or you don’t stand a chance because everyone is writing now that they can simply self-publish on Amazon.

You may have feelings of doubt, thinking if only you had an MFA. If only your family and spouse supported you more. If you could quit your day job. Maybe you are in your sixties like me. You think it is too late. You say I am just too old. If only…

We all experience self-doubt. Friends and family do not always understand our passion.

Everyone faces such challenges. My faith as a Christian also helps me overcome such thoughts. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned.

Some people will never understand your passion for writing. Don’t bother trying to explain. Just let them watch as you write.


Reading is necessary for writing. Not only is reading the fodder for writing, it is fun. It also helps me relax as well as grow.


I know it sounds silly, but to become a writer you have to write. I have heard for years that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. 10,000 hours is five years worth of forty-hour weeks. Maybe that is why it takes ten years for so many to get that first traditional book deal. Do not be a want to be a writer. Write.


This includes proofreading, rewriting, and polishing. No one is perfect. Critique groups help as well as reputable professional editing services. Rewrite as needed.


To your surprise, someone may like and buy what you wrote.


Being rejected is not personal. Your writing may be bad. It may be good, but just not meet the publisher’s or editor’s needs. You may have submitted to the wrong market or not followed the submission guidelines (both guarantee a rejection). Every writer gets rejections. I have been rejected by the best. My rejections include The New Yorker Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Poetry Magazine.


Selling a book or an article doesn’t guarantee success. Many times it means the real work is only beginning. Having your work accepted by a publisher feels good. It feels very good. Then comes the question, can you do it again?

Writers’ Groups.

Consider joining a writers’ group. I have belonged to three over the years. I have changed groups as I have changed. Some groups I have belonged to were for critique. Some have been to learn the business of writing. Some have been for the encouragement.

I know the thoughts I have shared are all items you have heard many times before. Sometimes a reminder is good. See the comments on dollars from Author Earnings may even be scary.

Don’t let the negative thinker stop you from chasing your dreams.

We all have people like my old high school guidance counselor in our lives. Do not let their negative words keep you from writing. If you have the urge to write, write! It’s not too late.

The formula really is simple. It is read, write, edit, rewrite, submit, and repeat. If your writing is good enough and if what you write matches the publisher’s need, you just may see your story in print.

Parts of this article were originally published in the June 30, 2014 issue of Author Culture.

Iamge source:


Chasing the Dream


Hello, I’m Jimmie Aaron Kepler. I’m an author, poet, and chase the brass ring with the dream of quitting my day job where I can write full time. I call “Kepler’s Coffee House.”

Why would I select “Kepler’s Coffee House” for the name of my blog?

I write almost every day at my favorite coffee house! I’ve been doing it for several years. I’m the first one there in the morning as they unlock the doors. My coffee house as I like to call it is located halfway between my home and my day job.

I commute twenty-one miles each way every day, Monday through Friday. At about the ten-mile mark I stop at my select Starbucks at 6:00 AM. I am there every day at the same time. Being at my writing table allows my muse to know when and where to find me.

I write for forty-five to seventy-five minutes and then head on to the day job. Like most people, I need the day job to have money to live and to provide health insurance.

I’m not saying you have to mirror what I do. I am saying that you need to write on a regular basis. Writing in the morning allows me to give my best to my writing. I write before the cares and responsibilities of the day clutter my mind.

Remember, it’s not where you write or when you write that matters. What is important as an author is writing. And with my stick-to-it-ness, I just may be one of the lucky persons who transitions from a day job to writing as my day job.

Yes, I’m chasing the dream. I’ve been chasing it for some years. I think I’ll make it because I won’t quit. I’ll pay the price. And just maybe, I’ll get the brass ring.