About the Episode
MichStoryteller Michael Duty shares how his personal experiences shaped self-publishing his novels. We also chat about harnessing the power of your circle of influence to market your book.
Topics covered in this episode:
- Self-publishing Novels
- Utilizing the Power of Your Circle of Influence
- Life as a Storyteller and How Life Experiences Influence Your Writing
- Learning to Pivot
- Hybrid Publishing, Traditional Publishing, and Self Publishing
- Marketing Your Book with Your Circle of Influence
GET MICHAEL’S BOOK ✅CLICK HERE👉 https://amzn.to/3Rbm5Nf
About My Guest
Grab Michael’s book
Click for Transcript
Michael: [00:00:00] I got to visiting with a man and he was quite engaging and we talked about things, and I had written this manuscript and I mentioned that I had been writing and he said, oh, my son’s a publisher. You talk about how doors are open. I said I’ll call him. So I called him up and I gave him a little information and sent him a manuscript and he said, we’d love to publish it. So it was painless. It was a one stop shopping and two months later it was published.
Rachel: Welcome back to The Business of Christian Fiction Podcast. I’m Rachel Fehrenbach and I’m joined today by Michael Duty. Michael is the author of Canaan found, which is his first novel. And so I am excited to have him join me here on the podcast to share a little bit about his journey, things that he has found helpful as a writer to get his books into the hands of a reader. So Michael, thank you so much for joining me.
Michael: I’m glad to be here.
Rachel: So let’s start off by just you sharing a little bit about who you are, the [00:01:00] types of books you write, and a little bit about your writing and publishing journey so far.
Michael: I started life as a I guess I could go to the beginning, but I’ll just start with college. I graduated as an architect and I entered the practice of architecture. I went to Boston, Massachusetts and lived there and started practicing architecture, and then years later I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I’ve resided in Santa Fe, New Mexico for about 40 years with my own firm and practicing architecture. And then about six years ago, we decided to relocate to the South for various reasons. All positive, thought we’d be a nice adventure. And I came here and continued to work a bit until I closed down my firm and then I retired.
And after I retired, I’ve been taking all the time that I had to do other pursuits, one of which the most important to me of which is writing. I started writing when I was still practicing architecture. ’cause I’ve [00:02:00] always been a, I’ve always been a bit of a storyteller. In my days of architecture, I could regale my clients with stories that were apropos to the issues at hand.
And I also had a advocation of being a wilderness guide. I took people into the wilderness backpacking and horse packing and taking them up to the high mountain regions and letting ’em feed big horn sheep out of their hand and just acquainting them with what it’s like to live in the wilderness.
And that was very important to me. And of course, I got a chance to share some stories and respond to their concerns. Talk to them about what was going on, or if I was going into the wilderness with friends. I frequently went with other friends where I wasn’t so much a guide as just a participant and all those were great times.
And then after that, I spent, oh, about 23 years of the, that time I spent riding on the ranches and working cattle and learning the western lore of cowboying. While I [00:03:00] never, I don’t call myself a cowboy, ’cause as a cowboy you’ve gotta earn your living as a cowboy.
Rachel: Oh, definitely. Yes, you do.
Michael: I never really earned my living, but I certainly earned some fun and learned a lot.
And so when I moved to South Carolina and started writing, I brought my storytelling penant and my history in the west, in the wilderness. And I was beginning to pin some stories, but. To me, the storytelling was just sort of a fun thing to do, and when I started writing it needed an extra platform, and that platform for me was my relationship with the Lord.
Which I considered simple and personal and had been with me all my life. And so I wanted to incorporate into my writing my storytelling a respect, for the presence of the Lord in our life and what it might look like. I don’t write [00:04:00] theologically. I’m not a theologian. I’m a simple person, but I experienced quite a lot of events in my life in which the Lord played an important role. At least I thought so, and he opened doors for me as I went through. And so I like my novels to reflect that. I also like to incorporate a good amount of unbridled humor and understanding of human nature. Try to acquaint the reader with different places and locales and different situations and focus on creating a story that’s engaging and informative and fun and at the same time, sort of slightly continuously exposes the reader to the presence of the Lord in the lives of my character or characters.
And so that’s what I do now. My first book was my story of, from a child growing up and how I was influenced. And then my second book was fiction. So I created characters, and I let them [00:05:00] inhabit places where I’d been and seen and done, and for a level of all authenticity and understanding.
And it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve, I’m starting to enjoy some good success.
Rachel: I have so many questions for you all of a sudden you’re sharing and I’m like, man, what an interesting life you have lived. And I just love that you just kind of kept pivoting every so often and just going where the Lord led you. And I just think it’s really interesting how you, you weren’t afraid to start a new venture.
Michael: That’s really interesting. Everyone’s always said, you know, I’ve always been the kind of person if it looks like it’s fun, if it’s not illegal, immoral, or fattening, let’s try it.
Rachel: I love that.
Michael: And so, my wife and I have been married 54 years, but we do everything together. So we fly fish, we mountain climb, we backpack, we horse pack, and we also down here in the south, we dress up and go to fancy balls. And she can enjoy her Southern [00:06:00] Bell side and she can enjoy her, I like to call her Buffalo Walla woman side. So we have two sides there. She follows me where I go and I follow her where she leads. And it’s been a lot of fun and we don’t hold back. If it’s looks like it’s an adventure, we try to embark upon it.
Rachel: I just love that so much. And I can tell that you are infusing that into the books that you write and that sharing that sense of adventure in the books that you write, just from what little you’ve told us in the the premise of the book and what I’m wondering, you made this pivot from owning a practice and then retirement, and now you’re entering into this creative writing industry, this publishing industry through selling books.
Has that been an easy transition to go into the business side of it? Like this storytelling obviously has always been kind of there for you. You seem to be a very natural storyteller, but when it comes to all that you have to do to get a book [00:07:00] into print and out to people, that business side, has that come naturally for you or is it something you’ve had to learn?
Michael: I think I’m still learning. I didn’t think a lot about that. First off there, it was easy to transition into writing because to me it was just another aspect of creativity and when I was in Boston, I taught college sometimes. I practiced full-time, but I also taught, and I taught creative thinking and it was and the reason one teaches is in order to learn.
And so it was a great opportunity to explore the subject and get into where I was coming from. And I’ve always done things that I considered I never held back. For instance, I’ve produced quite a few oil paintings and I’m continuing to paint. I also, when I retired, took up the violin, I decided it was time to learn to play the violin.
I’ve never had any music training. And it was a, it was an absence in my life that I wanted to fill. I’ve always loved singing and [00:08:00] loved music, but my dad was an old retired ex Marine, and he and I were together ’cause I lost my mother when I was very young. So, he never said to me, why don’t you pursue music?
And so I didn’t, and then later on I discovered my joy of it, and so I decided to I don’t know why, but I decided to tackle one of the most difficult instruments there is to play. And two and a half years into my violin career. So between painting and playing the violin and writing and doing all the chores that it takes to get through life, I stay pretty busy.
So I know you used a hybrid publisher. We were talking about that before we hit record. How did you find that publisher? Did you just Google it or did somebody refer you to them? How did you find?
Michael: Oh, it was kind of goofy. I was out here and in South Carolina actually, before we moved here, I was visiting ’cause my daughter and grandchildren live here.
And I went to a school, I went to the school with my grandchild when he had a show and tell. I hadn’t approached any publisher [00:09:00] and I went to the show and tell, and his advisor was this gentleman that had been a former Air Force pilot. And so he had a lot of Air Force paraphernalia on display as they would have at school.
And I got to visiting with a man and he was quite engaging and we talked about things, and I had written this manuscript and I mentioned that I had been writing and he said, oh, my son’s a publisher. And I said, you know, you talk about how doors are open. He said, oh yeah. And I said fine.
I’ll call him. So I called him up and I gave him a little information and sent him a manuscript and he said, we’d love to publish it. And so it was painless. I mean, we all see stories about, somebody writes a book and then they flail around forever trying to get somebody to publish it. For me, it was just the opposite.
It was a one stop shopping and you know, two months later it was published.
Rachel: That was your memoir, right?
Michael: That was my memoir and it was, it’s, the title of it is Egg Crate Beginnings. Because as a young boy, I left Arkansas and [00:10:00] went west and all alone on the train when I was eight years old.
And everything I owned was in an egg crate, which was a just a big box that we used to put eggs in. And it’s a great box because they’re oiled and they don’t, they’re really strong. But that was my entire belongings and I went to New Mexico and met my dad or rejoined my dad and then grew up there and stayed in New Mexico most of my life until college was over. And so, that’s how I got in with my publisher. And when I did my second book, I figured if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. So I called him up and sent him another manuscript and he said, yeah, we’d love to publish it. And this time I said let’s market it a little bit.
‘Cause I hadn’t done any marketing on the first book even though it did go into a second printing, it was a success as far as I was concerned because it was a message that was shared and I got a lot of responses from people around the country to the first one wanting to talk about their faith.
And that was rewarding enough. And then on the second book, [00:11:00] similar things are beginning to happen, but I wanted to market it and see if I think it’s got a much wider appeal since it’s fiction. Since it’s a story that is engaging and the people that have read it so far have really enjoyed it.
So it’s, I’ve had great feedback.
Rachel: So what kind of marketing things are you guys doing this time around that you didn’t do the first time?
Michael: I didn’t do anything the first time, so I mean, I didn’t do anything. This time I prepared my mailing list of friends and associates and clients and chums and such, and sent an email out notifying a launch team.
Then I sent another email out when it came to time to publish. Then there’s I continued to do some correspondence in personal marketing. I’ve got it in some bookstores. I’ve talked to bookstores and they’ve surprised me. I said, would you like to have my book in your bookstore?
They said, yeah and they do. They order it and there it is. Then I can tell people you don’t have to go online.
Rachel: I think it’s fun to go into the bookstores and, I don’t know, there’s just something [00:12:00] about being surrounded by the books and the possibilities.
I think it’s just, there’s something special about that, that we kinda lose when we’re online.
Michael: I love bookstores. I always think about alternative things I can do, and I have a list of things I would love to do and probably won’t, one of which would be to own a bookstore.
I think that would be a hoot. On the other hand, I like the freedom I have now of just setting my own schedule. At any rate, I do love bookstores and I like to go to the big ones too, but they’re sort of corporate. They’re a little different. But I like to approach small bookstores and they’re anxious to get my, they seem anxious to get the book.
One’s local and one’s in Arkansas., They kind of follow where I guess I’m a, a little bit known. I hope to expand that out a bit. And then of course things like interviews like this to get on the media and let people know about the book.
Rachel: So do you do any kind of social media marketing?
Michael: No, I mean, I don’t belong to Facebook or Twitter, anything like that. [00:13:00] I am online. I’m not sure what the definition of social media is. Generally, I like to stay away from it. I mean, I’m on LinkedIn, and I can look at YouTube. Mostly I try to stay away from the screen. Maybe you catch the news every now and then, but it didn’t take long to get depressed in that area. So…
Rachel: True that.
Michael: And so I and I have had a bit of interest in marketing doesn’t seem to be the right word, but sharing the book with my church and other people.
There’s several church groups that have gotten into the group and into the book and have decided to get that. And I’ve always been a little bit conflicted because it’s clearly a Christian book in the sense that it’s, but it’s so quietly Christian. It’s not a theology book.
I don’t quote chapter and verse of the Bible. I don’t lecture people on how they should live their life. I just like to portray characters in my stories that, that are experientially[00:14:00] are with or going to the Lord.
Rachel: Honestly, I think we need more fiction like that.
I think that fiction does just as much pointing people heaven words as fiction that’s a little bit more overtly Christian. And I think that as writers writing from a Christian worldview can’t help but reflect God, right?
You’re not gonna write something that contradicts your Christian worldview and you’re not going to write something that draws people away from the Lord, right? You’re going to write something that points them towards him, and I think that there’s a place for that kind of fiction because there’s people who won’t pick up a book that’s overtly Christian, right?
They would be so turned off by that. But you know the story about a guy who inherits a ranch. Now that’s an interesting story and they might be picking that up, right? And so, I think that there’s a place for fiction like that you write, and I think that it’s important for those of us in the Christian community to recognize that and to support authors like [00:15:00] you who are doing this work and celebrating the obedience that you are walking in and following the Lord’s prompting and his call on your life to use your talents. Whether that’s in a painting or violin or architecture, whatever it is that, you know, using your talents to glorify him. I think it’s the process of using the talent that’s glorifying. Right.
Michael: I was gonna say yes. It’s certainly a lot of fun and no a person strolling into a bookstore and picking up my book, would not look at it and say, oh, this is a Christian book. They might read some of the excerpts and get a hint that there’s a bit of that, but it’s not a, it’s not a how to book or a works book or a behaviors book, or it’s not even a testimony.
It is simply a story that I consider most people consider extremely humorous. The humor is tied to human [00:16:00] nature. And how some characters don’t know the Lord at all, and they’re not portrayed in a hateful way, but , it’s nice to be able to show to illustrate how the things they might experience as a result of making the choices they make.
But without being judgmental. I think it’s very important because one of the things in creativity is when you’re involved in creative thinking and creative doing, you can’t be judgemental even of yourself. So many people would like to paint, but they say, oh, I can’t paint. If I do, it’s gonna be horrible.
And so they’ve stopped before they’ve ever started ’cause they’re judging themselves. And the best thing to do is to wait in if you succeed with your first attempt. Sometimes it actually turns out to be a great attempt and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s a first step and then you wet your appetite and you continue along that path.
And that’s true of so many things. Try it and you’ll like it. I’ve tried many things and I won’t say they’re all [00:17:00] a great success. I remember one time we used to have a singing group and when we was, when I was riding horses a lot, some of the cowboys had recorded their own music and they were established music singers and they liked to go on tour.
So they said it’d be great to have a tour. And I said, okay, let’s do it. And they said, really? And I said, yeah. I said, I’ll do it. And so I became a promoter of the tour of the Cowboy Rendezvous and we went to Santa Fe, Las Vegas and Clovis, New Mexico and rented theaters and set up lighting and did everything.
We had a lot of fun. I think we only broke even, but we had a lot of fun. I said, I don’t think I’ll do that again. But I could, ’cause it was a lot of fun. I like to bring some light to people’s life and there’s hundreds of ways to do that.
You can paint something, you can get some music together, you can share and be open, and just have shared experiences. And that was even true in the wilderness. That was a wonderful time to take people into the [00:18:00] wilderness and say, here’s what it’s like. What do you think? And you know, there were a few that wanted to be evacuated by helicopter but most of them made it.
And even the ones that wanted to be evacuated, persevered. And when it was all over, they said, I think I want to do that again.
Rachel: Oh, that’s fun.
Michael: So you get in touch with yourself, you get in touch with yourself.
Rachel: I think there’s so much wisdom in what you just shared there. And I hope those who are listening take it to heart . It’s okay to try something and it may or may not work.
That’s not the point. The point is the discovery process along the way and just the sheer enjoyment of it. And so I love that you life with that mentality. I think it just opens you up to a lot of different opportunities. So I wanna circle back to what you’re talking about as far as how you’re getting the book to people. You don’t have a social media, meaning you’re not on Facebook and Instagram and all of that. You do have a website and it’s a very nice website. Do you sell your books through your website?
Michael: Yes, they’re for sale through the [00:19:00] website and of course they’re for sale through Amazon. I think Amazon sells everything, whether you ask ’em to or not.
Some people come to me for the book. I stockpiled a few, and I’m gonna have a book signing in Arkansas, which is actually, it’s chosen there because that’s the setting of the book. It’s a little town in Arkansas, which I was familiar with.
Rachel: Oh, that’s so cool.
Michael: So there was clearly some readers that got interested because of the setting, but it’s really blossomed there. Their church groups are ordering it by the bundle on occasion. Others, and I don’t know what they’re doing, I think they’re selling ’em to others or handing ’em out as gifts.
And then there’s people in New Mexico that I’ve known that have ordered multiple books and are talking it up. So it is a little bit word of mouth.
Rachel: You got like a grassroots movement happening over there.
Michael: You know, maybe. The most rewarding thing about it is when I get a call from somebody that I don’t know from some state that I haven’t been in and they say, I read your book and it [00:20:00] really, I’m really having a crisis of faith and I wanted to talk to you. And that’s happened a few times.
Rachel: That’s amazing.
Michael: Then I get a follow up and then they say something like, when are you gonna do your next book? And I say I don’t know. Don’t pressure me now.
Rachel: How long has the book been out? It’s only been out for a little bit, right?
Michael: Oh yeah, I think its publishing day was officially March 30.
Rachel: You’re like, come on, it’s been out for a few months. I gotta have time to write the next one., right?
Michael: Yeah. But I’ve got three other books in mind and but that doesn’t mean I start writing because I may start at some point, but the way I work is I kind of figure out the story I want to tell and get it all kind of formulated.
And then when I start writing, it goes quickly, but it also changes, so I have to follow where it’s going with my written dialogue. And it takes me a few places, opens a few doors as I go, and sometimes I open ’em up and go down an alley and say, no, that’s not right. And I back up. But generally it flows out pretty quickly because I have the story in mind .
There’s been some requests for me to do a [00:21:00] sequel to this book and continue on with these same characters. I had mixed emotions about that. To me, a sequel is something that someone does because the first one was successful and usually the sequel is not that great. There are exceptions. So, but there is still some story to be told and so I’ll, I look for new mediums all the time.
There’s a story on every corner. I don’t, if I go drive to the grocery store, I’ll see something and I’ll see a story around that. It usually doesn’t go anywhere, but it’s fun to think about it. And sometimes it does stick and fits in.
Rachel: Yeah. I love all of that you just said, and I love the fact that you approach things so relationally.
Even with writing your story, you’re thinking about bringing humor to people. You’re thinking about bringing light and joy to them. You’re thinking about pointing them towards God, and you’re bringing all of that into the story you’re telling. But then you think about relationally, how can you reach out to people you know?
How can you [00:22:00] network with them to get your book out there? You’re thinking about the fact that people are coming to you and they’re saying, this is my reaction to the book. I think that’s a testament to how much relational effort you’re putting into it to be go begin with. Like you’re putting all this effort into the writing of it for it to really impact the reader on that humorous level and on that moment where it’s moving them.
But then you’re also really putting the effort into the relationships, the networking the word of mouth marketing. I think that all you know, is summed up with the, that person coming to you and saying, this has made such an impact on me. When’s your next book? And I think sometimes, especially in our day and age with the whole online marketing, social media marketing, we can get caught up in having to run ads, having to have a social media platform, having to have all these things.
And I think your story is reminding me, and I hope the listener too, that we first need to start with the person and the relationships in our immediate social [00:23:00] circles. You’re talking about that list you compiled and you’re like, my friends, my family, my colleagues, my acquaintances, the person I met down the road. You really have networked and really leaned into those relationships. I think that’s a really good reminder to those of us who are writers to not forsake that. We can benefit from both types of marketing, but there’s something really powerful in marketing that relies on relationship.
Michael: Yeah. As an architect, I did a lot of marketing. As the owner of the firm, and as the director of a large firm, I spent a lot of time, if you will, marketing and that’s a different thing. You’re marketing a service. I found that on the one hand, I enjoyed it because I met a lot of people and I got to tell ’em about the things we do.
I had some success in marketing because the firm lasted for, until I closed it, it had a good 30 year run. But then on the other hand there’s a, there’s an aspect of marketing, which is about money, which doesn’t particularly appeal to me.
Now, [00:24:00] as the marketing of a firm, you kind of have to pay attention ’cause you have to pay the employees and you have to pay the rent. That’s a responsibility that beckons to you, and you’re required to do it. And I have no problem with that. But from the marketing standpoint of a book, I’m much more inclined to say, I’ll create it, I’ll print it, put it in between the cover and then it’s up to, it’s up to the book.
If it does, fine. If it doesn’t do well, fine. I’m still gonna write the next one. And so, sometimes we have to do a body of work before it starts to be recognized and I think if things work out, I may have another book or two or in, in me and or who knows, but I like to write, so I’ll probably continue to do it.
I’ve always written shorts. I mean, I’ve written a lot of one and two page quips and stories and shorts and observations, and I’ve never published those, but there’s a whole body of shorts that I sometimes send out to friends to read. And mostly they’re humorous. Sometimes they’re, occasionally they’re political, but mostly they’re humorous, human nature [00:25:00] kinds of stories things that happen to me or things that happen to others, but they’re not fictional.
They’re real. And the other thing is, the unrelenting search for truth, which is a big subject. But when I was a little boy and it was just my father and I he told me there’s three rules, son. It was just the two of us. So I had very little supervision.
‘Cause he was the chief of police at the time and he was actually a lawyer by training. But he said, you got three rules. You have to always tell the truth no matter what. And number two, you have to be home on school nights. And number three, you can’t ride a motorcycle. And he says, those are the three rules.
If you follow those three rules, we’ll get along. I followed them. The greatest of those rules was to tell the truth. And that’s quite a responsibility because, sometimes we just have opinions and what is truth? So that effort is ongoing and fun.
Rachel: So good.
So as we begin to wrap up our time together, I [00:26:00] wanna ask you just a couple more questions as far as what you’ve found helpful and not helpful when it comes to sharing your book with people. Let’s first start with what’s been helpful for you to share about your book with others.
Michael: You have to realize that to a certain extent this whole marketing thing is new to me.
So, I’m thinking that these these interviews and things like that are going to be immensely helpful. And I know they’re fun because I’m not shy about speaking up. So in that regard and exchanges, any kind of exchange that comes about because of the book is helpful because frequently we talk, the book causes us to talk about something that’s not in the book, but it’s something that came out of the book and it leads us into other areas which are fascinating and fun.
Just having your thoughts out there and watching people laugh and ask questions is what it’s all about. And there’s really not any downside because I don’t recognize a downside.[00:27:00] If nobody reads the book, that’s okay. I had fun writing it. But I think they’re gonna. So far so good.
Rachel: Do you have somebody helping you with booking podcast interviews? I know you said you go and talk to the bookstores about getting your book in there. Is there somebody helping you with getting onto podcast or maybe getting a book signing or anything like that? Or is that all you, are you doing all of that?
Michael: The book signing is all me and going to bookstores is all me. The podcasts I get information and hookups on the podcast from the publisher highbridge books. Highbridge books have really been great to work with.
Rachel: It sounds like it, that would be helpful.
I know not every publisher offers any assistance in that kind of marketing side of things, so that’s great that they’re willing to do at least send you some potential places you can get on and share about your book. So that’s good.
Michael: I can only imagine, I suppose, if I was with a great big New York publisher they had paid a lot of money for the book, they’d be marketing and they’d be flying me somewhere to talk about it and all [00:28:00] that. And that seems to be an onerous chore. And not one that I necessarily relish it’s, it, I wouldn’t mind it if that had to happen. But that’s not my focus.
I’d rather enjoy the way Highbridge books has set this up. ‘Cause they’ve led the way in a few areas, but mostly they’re just very supportive of the initiative that I want to take. I expect as time goes on, they’ll be more and more initiatives revealed to me that I might avail myself of.
But the podcasts have come from links that they’ve set up for me and it’s fun.
Rachel: Yeah. So I just wanna reiterate a couple things that I’m hearing you say throughout this time together. One, have fun in the process. Be open to opportunities, follow it, see where it leads. You know why you’re writing a book. You are very clear on that. You know what your end goal is. And I think that’s really important for those of us who are writing. We need to know what our expectations are for the books that we’re writing, what we want the reader to experience, what we are hoping they will [00:29:00] gain from reading our story.
And then I also am hearing you say look for those open doors, but also do the work. Like you, you have put some time and effort. You go and talk to those bookstores, you contact those people, you didn’t just say okay, I have the book done now if it succeeds or fails, whatever.
You are trying to help it succeed. You’re not just putting it out there and praying it does well. You are putting the effort into it and so I think that what you’ve been sharing as far as your journey and what you’re doing, I think that’s really valuable for us to remember to enjoy the process, lean into those relationships and do the work to try to make it successful, but also be okay with the maybe the not so successful moments because they’re all learning experience and they’re all opportunities for us to enjoy and gain from in different ways.
Michael: I mean, life is made up of expectations and results, and sometimes [00:30:00] we have expectations that are unrealistic.
So I think there’s a certain amount of maturity to creating expectations that are achievable. And then maybe the next time around, you can shoot a little higher. That sort of thing, but to have realistic expectations. And number two as you create something, whether it’s a book or anything else, don’t be hard on yourself.
Just let it happen. As a professor I had in college used to yell at is, just do it. He even had a t-shirt, he’d come into class with his, do it on it and it was kind of his motto, just do it. There was a lot of maturity in that.
So do it with reasonable expectations and mostly do it for fun. And in order to have fun if you’re just telling jokes or telling stories that are entertaining or that are simple, you can have a little bit of fun, but it doesn’t last. I actually started four books before I finished one.
Each time I started one, it was a [00:31:00] story. They were stories that I wanted to tell. They were sort of unit dimensional. I didn’t have the sense of what would sustain it. And it wasn’t until I finally said, and actually I was praying one time and I was saying, what can I do to help, so to speak?
And it was like the Lord said to me, just write your story stupid. And it was like, oh. I thought to myself, my story’s no big deal. And it was like, I know. But that’s what you should tell. And so when I finally finished my first book, it was as a result of having this underlying foundation of telling a story and in the context of how the Lord works in our life.
And that has carried me through. And I suppose I’ll stick to that formula. I may branch out and create another one, but that’s the one that works for me. So I think for a new writer, have a story, but have a message, have a feeling, have a notion, have a big [00:32:00] notion, and somehow make it the foundation.
So that worked for me.
Rachel: So Good. Is there any last words of advice that you would like to share with our listeners before we go?
Michael: I don’t know whether I’m in a position to give advice, but it’s never held me back. I mostly I’ve shared with you, I think what’s important and that is to you know, work towards the joy.
And do it diligently.
Rachel: Oh, I love that. Work towards the joy and do it diligently. That is such a piece of gold right there. I love it. I think that is a perfect place for us to end on. Michael, I have so appreciated this conversation. I can tell you’re a gifted storyteller just in the way that we have had this conversation, the way that you’ve been sharing with me.
And I’m excited for others to get to meet you and get to know more about your book and hopefully go buy a copy and read it for themselves. Can you just tell us where they can find [00:33:00] what your website is, where they can find your books and and how they can support you?
Michael: Yeah. The site is michael duty books.com. On that website, there’s a link to books and you can buy either one of the books. You can go to Amazon and it comes in a Kindle version and in a hard copy. And of course you can go to any bookstore, and people need to know this, you can go to any bookstore and just walk up and say, I wanna order such and such a book. They can all order it and have it for you in the next few days. So any bookstore can do that.
Rachel: Can you tell us the titles of both books?
Michael: The first book is Egg Crate Beginnings and the second book is Canaan Found. My sister came up with a name for that ’cause she was, I was reading the book to her as I went and she was enjoying it ’cause she lives in Arkansas. She suggested the name Canaan found and I thought it was perfect because we found the land of Canaan and he came back and my character came back to his roots and found his own Canaan.
And all the things that [00:34:00] awaited for him there, and the responsibilities as well as the joys.
Rachel: So good. Thank you so much, Michael, for being here with us today. I so appreciate it. And for those of who you who are listening, if you enjoyed today’s podcast episode and the reminder to chase the joy and do it diligently, would you share this episode with a writer friend who you know needs that same sort of encouragement?
I’m sure it would bless them. So make sure you share this episode with them, and we will see you back here next week to continue the conversation on the business of Christian Fiction. Bye
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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!
I help Christian fiction writers figure out how they can make an impact and an income from their storytelling while keeping rest a priority.
You can learn more about how I’m in your corner here.
And you can learn more about my personal journey here.
One last thing, if you’re looking for a bit more rest in your life, be sure to check out the Rest & Reflect guided journal.