Monday, September 9, 2013

Guest Post: Jon S. Lewis

The Blog Post that Saved My Writing Career
I was ready to walk away from publishing and never look back. I knew that being an author was a dream job, but the pressure to match the sales numbers of my first book was more than I could handle. I ended up with a debilitating case of writer’s block and my last book was so late that my publisher almost canceled it. I would have lost my home. How do you explain that one to your kids?

I loathed the isolation of being a writer. I hated being alone in my office for twelve hours a day, seven days a week. And I became susceptible to the voices of doubt that told me I wasn’t good enough.

There was no such thing as a vacation or a holiday because no matter what I was doing, I was worried about missing a deadline. After I handed in my last manuscript I decided that I couldn’t put my wife and kids through that again. So I quit writing and got a job at a digital ad agency where I could be around other creative people. No more isolation. No more voices. And you know what? It’s been absolutely amazing.

But after nearly a year away, I’m starting to get that itch to write again thanks to a blog post that changed everything…
How a Blog Post Changed Everything
I saw a tweet from Barry Lyga ( about a blog post that Libba Bray ( had written. It was about how in a state of despair she would sit and wonder why writing came so easily to her friends, but it was such a deep and painful struggle for her. I realized then and there that I wasn’t alone, so I reached out to a few of my writer friends and told them what I was going through. The encouragement I received was incredible. In fact, it’s why I’m ready to start writing again. But I’ve decided to try a new path.

Why It Has to Be Different This Time
For years I’ve talked about publishing my own books but I worried about the stigma of being a self-published author. Would fans think my career was over? Would my publishers feel betrayed? But authors like Amanda Hocking, Hugh Howey and JA Konrath have paved the way, and now it’s time for me to give it a try.

I’m going to self-publish my next book, Grey Griffins: Night of Dragons, but I don’t have to go it alone. The same authors who encouraged me when I was down are going to write a series of Grey Griffins short stories that we’re going to publish as an anthology. And we’re going to donate 100% of the profits from the anthology to the National Breast Cancer Foundation ( and Kids Need to Read (

That means I’ll be releasing two books instead of one. And these aren’t just any authors … they’re some of the biggest names in the industry today:
  • Brandon Mull | NY Times Bestselling Author, Fablehaven
  • Aprilynne Pike | NY Times Bestselling Author, Wings
  • Frank Beddor | NY Times Bestselling Author, Looking Glass Wars
  • Michael Spradlin | NY Times Bestselling Author, Youngest Templar
  • Dean Lorey | Co-Executive Producer, Arrested Development
  • Shannon Messenger | Let the Sky Fall, Keeper of the Lost Cities
  • Tom Leveen | Party, manicpixiedreamgirl, Sick
  • Joseph Nassise | International Bestselling Author, Templar Chronicles
  • Matt Forbeck | Leverage: The Con Job based on the TNT television series
  • Janette Rallison | My Fair Godmother, Slayers
The One Drawback with Self-Publishing
Each short story in the Grey Griffins anthology will be professionally edited. It will also have its own professional cover painted by Scott Altmann (, which means that the final product will look every bit as good as what the major publishing houses produce. But the one drawback with publishing your own book is managing the upfront costs.

Crowdsourcing with Kickstarter
It’s why I’m running a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for the artwork and the editorial for the anthology as well as Grey Griffins: Night of Dragons.

Crowdsourcing a book is basically a way for readers to pre-order it so we can invest the money into making the product. And pledge levels for the campaign start at only $1. There are some fun rewards like custom Grey Griffins short stories, collectible character trading cards and sketches from the cover artist.

For the writers out there, we’re offering the chance for a query letter review, a partial manuscript review, and even a Skype brainstorm session where I’ll help you come up with ideas for your story.

You Can Even Get Your Story Published in the Grey Griffins Anthology
I have a passion for helping new writers break into the industry, and I thought the best way to do that with this project was to give someone a chance to get a short story published in the anthology. Your story will end up in the same book with all those New York Times bestselling authors. If it sounds like something you’re interested in, you can find the submission guidelines here:

Thank you
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your consideration to back the Kickstarter campaign. I’m going to need your help to make this project a reality, and I know that together we can do something incredible! 

Photo by Scott Mitchell

Bio: Jon Samuel Lewis is an American writer best known for the acclaimed Grey Griffins series published by Scholastic’s Orchard Books. After selling nearly a million copies in the original trilogy, Lewis and his writing partner, Derek Benz teamed with Little Brown to publish the Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles. He is also the author of CHAOS Novels, a young adult urban science fiction series published by Thomas Nelson and has written for DC Comics. Lewis is also a marketing executive and content strategist who works with Fortune 500 companies on their digital marketing strategies.


No comments:

Post a Comment