Taking the Self-Publishing Plunge is Swim or Sink / Russ Snyder

Self-publishing is a mixture of years of dedication towards your particular craft and perseverance to have your voice heard. Russ Snyder’s success is a testament that self-publishing can be worth the uphill battle. Snyder emphasizes the fact that research and editing are two key components in the life of a self-publisher. Snyder’s testimony reminds us what it takes to find ourselves as writers and to believe in the essence of your work.

Happy reading!
Clay Stafford
Clay Stafford
Founder Killer Nashville
Publisher / Editorial Director Killer Nashville Magazine


knphoto-russTaking the Self-Publishing Plunge is Swim or Sink
By Russ Snyder

I don’t believe there is a single manner in which one decides to become a writer. With me, it was a culmination of many years of wondering, ‘Can I do this?’ I started reading the Hardy Boys as a child, and just kept reading. Looking back, I would say Robert B. Parker and his ‘Spenser’ series was probably the largest single influence on me. I absolutely loved the dialogue between Spenser and his longtime cohort, Hawk. It is my personal favorite repartee between any characters I’ve had the pleasure to read. Many books stand out as particular favorites; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy is a strong favorite, and of course, Vince Flynn, Lee Child, and Brad Thor.

Like most of you, I went through the ‘Rejection Stage’ for over four years. My way of coping was to continue writing. I was not about to give up as I knew I offered a good story; actually two good stories as I write two separate series; The Sgt. Marvin Styles Assignments and the Jonathan Steele Adventures. I finally decided that I had to get my work out in front of the reading public, as that would be the true test of my efforts. My answer was to self-publish.

As we all know the road to self-publishing is bumpy, to say the least. You must do your due diligence deciding exactly how you want to self-publish, and more importantly, what do you realistically expect to get out of it? Are you writing a book for personal reasons to show your friends and family, or are you writing to become a commercial success? If you choose the latter, I will tell you now, you are in for a long haul and there are no shortcuts. You pay the piper; but it can be worth it. It was for me.

My first work, The President’s Weapon, published Jan. 24, 2015, introduces us to Sgt. Marvin Styles. Ultimately, Styles heads up a civilian black ops team put together by the President of the United States. That work broke the Kindle Download record book in the Thriller Genre by a first-time/self-published author.

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In late July of 2015, it hit #441 on the overall available Kindle list. No other newbie had ever cracked the top 2,500. How did I do it? I never gave up. I never got discouraged. I admit at times I got frustrated, but never discouraged. Besides having a good story of course, the two most important aspects in offering a quality product is research and editing, editing, and more editing. Don’t make the mistake I did and feel that you can edit your own work. You can’t. Plain and simple, you can’t. There are two types of writers; the creative artistic ones who can conceive a story. Then there are the analytical writers, who can spot mistakes seemingly by natural ability, but oddly, have great difficulty in creating a story. My experience has taught me the hard way that the two don’t mix, much like oil and water. In order to provide a professional quality product, you are going to have to spend money on a professional editor. There is just no way around that.

In order to create your own series, and make it unique, you must research other authors and see what they write. No one likes a copycat. I have incorporated a unique approach in my own writing style; it is different from anyone else out there. In my reviews I have constantly been equally compared to Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and Lee Child, as well as a host of others. Please don’t misunderstand that statement, I’m not saying I am as good as them, because I let my readers do the talking; what I am saying, is research the authors who write in the same genre, and change your style up a bit so as, again, not to copy others. I’ve read novels in which four or five names could be listed as the author and I would not have known the difference. If that’s the case in which we find ourselves, we’ve failed. Put your story away for a month, take a break. Come back to it, keep your main storyline, but study and find how you can make it different; make it come alive in your own voice, and that my friends, is possibly the main key.

kncover-russ-sMy second work, Dead Water, and sequel to my first, was released on May 4. In this offering, I can see for myself where I have grown as a writer, and to give credit where credit is due, my editors have much to do with this. Remember; edit, edit, and edit some more. You can’t go wrong. Good luck.


After thirty years in the construction and property management businesses in Florida, Russ Snyder decided it was time to pursue his lifelong writing dream. Now living in Tennessee, Russ has written two series — the Jonathan Steele Adventures (Black Kayak and Relentless Pursuit) and the Sgt. Marvin Styles series (The President’s Weapon and Dead Water). Reach him at www.russellsnyderjr.com


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Thanks to Tom Wood, Arthur Jackson, and publisher/editorial director Clay Stafford for their assistance in putting together this week’s blog.

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