July 16, 2012

How to be an Indie Sensation, and also Have a Sensational Life: by Rick Murcer

Filed under: Declaration of Independents,The Writing Life — jenny @ 10:20 am

The Killing Sands

We’ve all heard the stories. John Locke! EL James!

Amazon now features them on their homepage. “Indie author sells one million copies!” “After six years of rejection, self-publishing brings book to wide audience!” I could write a dozen of these without half-trying.

Not that a dozen is a lot. I had the privilege of talking with author MJ Rose at ThrillerFest this past weekend. MJ was arguably  the first pioneer of the indie publishing movement, and now traditionally publishes her novels of suspense and sensuality with great success. At the conference MJ said something very wise, which amounted to this:

Winning the literary lottery is rare no matter how you publish.

How true. Whether published by a major, the smallest micro press, or by yourself, the chances of writing a book that hits and speaks to a very wide audience is small. It’s good to know that going in.

So that when it does happen–as Rick Murcer is about to tell you–you’ll be all the more thrilled and surprised.

Rick’s Made It Moment appears here.

Rick And Carrie Murcer

A lot has happened to me, to us, on this journey since Jenny first asked me to talk about my “made it moment” just about a year ago. But before I get started, I want to thank Jenny for having me back to talk about the last twelve. She’s had quite a year herself. Congrats, Miss Jenny!

Man. Where did that year go? Some things have improved more than others over the last 365 days. We’ve got more books out, and a short story… and I think my picture’s better and I’ve lost weight, so my butt must be smaller!

Firstly, I must say how much God has blessed us this past year. It’s been beyond anything I could have imagined. No one makes it without some help in this business, and no one helps like God. A very close second is my wife, Carrie. She’s amazing, in spite of what she’s got to work with!

It’s been a whirlwind of activity, a lot of highs, and a good bit of nose-to-the-grindstone hard work since my e-books, Caribbean Moon and Deceitful Moon, hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller’s lists. Talk about pinching yourself over and over. It still looks strange to see that in print. But I soon realized that you can’t live in that fairy tale world forever, so I’ve since managed to stick to a writing routine.

I’ve released two more full-length novels, Emerald Moon and Caribbean Rain, one short story/novella, Capital Murder, and something else that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside…a murder/mystery anthology, The Killing Sands. More on that a little later.

We entered this whole publishing realm as naïve as a preacher in a casino, but came out the better for it. A little scarred in a place or two, but exposed to far more positive than negative.

The Indie world had much to teach us. We’ve figured out how to navigate the minefield of “Hollywood” screenplay offers, trad publishing, paperback publishing, book signing agendas, agents, foreign rights, pirating, audio offers too good to be true, marketing, protecting our e-book rights, and that there are almost as many editors out there as ways to edit a manuscript. But through it all, we learned two things were true and consistent; my readers are nothing short of amazing, and there are an absolute plethora of wonderful people in this business. I want to talk about those two segments of folks.

I have the best readers on the planet, I think! I have been humbled, amazed, and even brought to tears by the generosity of readers who take time to send messages about how they interpret my stories or how certain parts of the plots have touched their lives. Their encouragement, honesty, kind words, and interaction were far more than I’d anticipated. There were days that I’d receive 60-70 e-mails. Never asking for anything, but always giving upbeat input that made me want to work harder. I’m still pretty new to this writing revelry, so there’s plenty of room for improvement.

If I got something wrong, they let me know in a gentle, positive way. “Greatly appreciated” became my personal thank you to them all. And, BTW, I answer every e-mail personally. If those wonderful folks take the time to talk to me, you can bet I want to talk to them. They deserve it, and I’m still having a ball doing it. Thank you so much for sharing your “moments” with me, readers. Each one of you is special.

One of the greatest things I’ve discovered about this writing gig is the camaraderie of other authors. They encourage, critique, support, even laugh and cry with you. If you’ve never written a book, it’s hard to understand the euphoria of “the end” or the task of the rewriting and editing process, so meeting all of these fine folks along the way has helped the journey.

In January of this year, I decided to approach a few authors I’d come into contact with and ask if they’d be willing to join me in producing a summer mystery anthology. I was pleasantly surprised when they all accepted. Let me introduce six wonderful writers and tell you what a joy it has been to work with people who understand the “writing” world

Dani Amore, Tim Ellis, Traci Hohenstein, Lawrence Kelter, Gary Ponzo, and Rebecca Stroud each agreed to write a short story with the central theme of “murder on the beach.” Because we hail from different parts of the world, including Great Britain, the settings for the seven stories in The Killing Sands include beaches in California, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, and Wales. Each story has a distinct voice and an exciting plot. The authors have sometimes incorporated characters from their mainstream novels as well. I’d encourage readers to enjoy these stories on the beach this summer…if they dare!

Through this anthology process, I’ve taken on a bit of the publisher role through Murcer Press. It’s time consuming, but I’ve certainly enjoyed it and the opportunity to learn about a different end of the business.

I guess I’m getting windy, again, so I’ll wrap this up. The last 16 months have changed my life, my perspective, and my goals. Interacting with people, good and challenging alike, has added to that and I’m more than grateful.

I’m also excited to see what the next twelve months might bring because, well…one never knows.

Thanks again, Jenny. It’s always a privilege to be heard at the Made it Moment.

Rick Murcer lives in Michigan and has been married longer than his wife likes to admit. They two wonderful children, three amazing grandkids, and a blind black Lab, Max, who serves as his “writing” dog.

Rick lost his real job two years ago, and after sending out 550 resumes with no luck, decided he was going to make it as a writer. Caribbean Moon was a labor of love, and writing it taught him more about himself than he cared to know.


  1. Another great interview. I need to read one of his books one of these days. Best of luck Mr. Rick.

    Comment by Jeff Dawson — July 16, 2012 @ 10:51 am

  2. Rick, I’m so thrilled by the success you’re having. For writers who are struggling to get noticed, it’s like a beacon of light. Your hard work and talent have paid off. The only down-side is that we miss your presence at The Spinning Wheel, but we understand that you’re swamped these days. Just know that we’re all still there and rooting for you.

    Comment by Nancy Morse — July 16, 2012 @ 10:56 am

  3. What a fantastic post. I agree… a million parts hard work to one part lottery… that’s about the lot of it.

    I hope some day I can be writing a post like this for you, Jenny. :)

    Comment by Thomas A. Knight — July 16, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  4. Hi Rick!! We’ve all watched in awe as you’ve risen thru the ranks, cheering wildly to see one of “our own” make it to the top. May the luck hold and the books keep selling! Big hugs from all of us.

    Comment by mountainmama — July 16, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  5. Wonderful read on how an author can keep growing and succeeding along diverse paths – and that the people around him providing support can make all the difference. Bravo!

    Comment by Donna Galanti — July 16, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  6. Rick, it’s great to see you here. Not only do you have a “made it moment,” but you have “made it books.” We do miss you at TSW.

    Good luck with all your future books.

    Comment by "Doctor Barbara" - Barbara Ebel — July 16, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  7. A wonderful story of success – always uplifting to read. Congratulations Rick. I shall now seek your books out. Enjoyable interview, love the way you acknowledge your fans and those who have helped you. There are always people helping to pave the way to success and although one person may be seen to be the recipient of ‘overnight success’ it is a reality that there are many in the background and on that road who are the ‘backroom boys/girls’, without whom it would not be possible. I wish you continued success and also for your co-writers and your future projects. An inspiration to us all. Thanks you Jenny for a really informative interview. Quite a scoop.

    Comment by Jane Risdon — July 16, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

  8. Rick, Congrats on all of your success! I have read Caribbean Moon and loved it and I told my sister’s MIL about it and she read them all. I can’t wait to read The Killing Sands with your story and all of the others. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Comment by Kellie — July 16, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  9. I am one of the authors of “The Killing Sands” and I’m here to say how pleased & proud I was to be invited by Rick to be a part of this project. And, Jenny, this interview captures the essence of the man to the nth degree: He is talented; he is humble; and he is a wonderful down-to-earth & genuinely nice man. Thanks for a great post…both of you.

    Comment by Rebeca Stroud — July 16, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

  10. Another great interview. Good luck Rick.


    Comment by Arthur Levine — July 16, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  11. Very interesting! I love anthologies myself and am delighted when my short stories are accepted for inclusion. Always lovely to read the success stories of other writers!


    Jacqueline Seewald

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — July 16, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  12. I love your ‘moment’, Rick. Thanks for sharing. Jenny too!

    Comment by Pamela DuMond — July 16, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  13. Great story!! Very encouraging to us getting started in the business. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Ruth Douthitt — July 16, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  14. Thank you all for the wonderful comments and even more encouragment thrown our way.

    And as always, if I can help with something, let me know. Carrie and I are still learning, but we’ve gone through a few experiences that we may be able to help with….like how to spoil grand kids, for instance! ;)

    Rick and Carrie

    Comment by Rick Murcer — July 18, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  15. I enjoy beng “grabbed” by a book, and not wanting to pput it down. And also waiting for the next one in a series. Rick has “ticked all the boxes”. Very appreciative of the personal communication touch, and looking forward to more reading pleasure from him.

    Comment by Herb Levin — July 18, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  16. Great interview. I have read all of Rick’s books and can’t wait for Manny and the crew to come out again at the end of this year. Best of luck and keep doing what you do!!! Your books are very good. I love having a book that I cannot put down even if I spend several days tired and yawning because I stayed up too late reading.

    Comment by Mickey Mewshaw — July 18, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  17. Rick, your books have been amazing as I told you last year when I first read Carribean Moon it was the first “serial killer” creepy, horribly gross who dun it book ever. I couldnt put it down, love the characters..theyre funny sad scarey and make you want to keep reading. Ive read them all…keep writing….we’ll always need more. Thanks again…you rock!

    Comment by Denise — July 18, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

  18. I have enjoyed Rick’s books very much. It is always amazing to hear how a writer got started and it is more of an aha moment to hear they have strong faith. I wish Rick continued success and look froward to more good novels. Keep that creative mind going and God bless you and Carrie with health and happiness.


    Comment by Paul Harman — July 18, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  19. I was running out of authors when I stumbled upon you. And, I am glad I did. Have read every one of your books and enjoyed them thoroughly. Just picked up the last one not too long ago. Haven’t started it yet, but will get to it soon. Keep them coming. Thanks.

    Comment by Nancy Constantine — July 18, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  20. Great interview. I have always wanted to write a book and this gives all of us wannabe’s hope that some day we could be another Rick Murcer. Thanks. The best to you and your wife.

    Comment by Jenn W — July 18, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  21. Hey Rick,
    Great to read all this …I am so proud of you, and I don’t even know you, but I feel like I do through your books…you are doing great…and the fact that you praise God for helping you with all this, only endears you more to me..so enjoy your success..don’t ever forget the ones that helped you make it to where you are..and continue to thank God for your success and you will be blessed more than you know.
    Darn proud to be one of your faithful readers.
    Hugs from Texas :)
    Mary Ann Mauldin

    Comment by Mary Ann Mauldin — July 18, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

  22. Rick, It was great to hear from you! And I also loved your “moment”. I think it is so special that you answer all your e-mails, personally. I know of an author that states, in the back of all his books, that he will not answer, so do not even think about e-mailing him.., so crude. Anyway, I am glad you are doing well and can’t wait till the next book is out. SPOIL those grandkids, that is what grandparents are for!!!!!!

    Look to hear from you soon.


    Comment by Geneva — July 18, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  23. Hey Rick,
    So glad you are finding fans all over! I happily devoured each of your books, hungry for the next in line! I love Manny and all his motley “krew.” !! Please, please, please, keep those books coming! You are right up there with Patricia Cornwell, John Grisham and Archer Mayor in my list of favorite authors!!!! I love your books, Rick.

    He really does answer each email!!!!

    A devoted fan in the little country town of Cave City, Ky!

    Barbara Geiger

    Comment by Barbara Geiger — July 18, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  24. Wow, very nice interview Rick . You deserve your “moment”, you are a excellently writer. I wish you continued success and can’t wait for your next book. Keep up the great work! Much luck to you Rick Murcer!

    Comment by grace cifelli — July 18, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  25. I have read every book including The Killing Sands in the last year and am waiting for the next one. They are all well written and a pleasure to read.

    Comment by Rich — July 18, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  26. I have really enjoyed reading all of Rick’s books.
    His books are exceptionally well written, full of exotic locales, intriguing story lines and always pack a punch. Thank you Rick and keep these wonderful books coming.

    Comment by Mia Derbas — July 18, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  27. Rick, I have read ALL your books including the latest Lighthouse in the Killing Sands and I have to say that honestly I cannot get enough! You are a tremendous writer and I cannot wait for the next Manny book to come out. And, I thank you for introducing me to some other authors in The Killing Sands. Rick, I will always be a fan of yours. Great interview and great writing.

    Comment by Sharon Weickert — July 18, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  28. To Rick I enjoy the killing sands very much keep the manny williams mysterys comming and the other stories
    comming by the other authors.


    Manny Rothman

    Comment by Emanuel Rothman — July 18, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

  29. Rick,

    I have been hooked on your books since I read Carribean Moon. I have been enjoyed reading your books. Love the characters. I look forward to reading The Killing Sands. So far, I have all your books and I hope you keep them coming. I tell all my friends about them and how wonderful they are.

    Comment by Kim Moccia — July 18, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

  30. Hi Rick,
    Enjoyed your thoughtful words….you are a gifted writer. Glad you were unemployed long enough to find your new passion!
    I personally stumbled upon your books…what caught my eye was the setting in Puerto Rico! I’ve not been a murder mystery reader until your Caribbean Moon pulled me in!!!!!!! I so love Danny and Sophia.

    Comment by Nora — July 19, 2012 @ 3:24 am

  31. I started reading Rick’s books less than a year ago and have not stopped. I have worked in a detective bureau for over 20 years as an administrative assistant and throughly enjoyed the dialogue between Rick’s characters. I can associate his characters with “my guys.” Can’t wait for the next book to be published. However, your imagination is a bit scary! LOL Enjoy your new career!

    Comment by Yvonne Condo — July 19, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  32. Hey Rick, I wish you continued success. So far I have read all your books except Caribbean Rain and the Killing Sands. They are on my list. You always keep me guessing and I have trouble figuring out what happens next. Your twists and turns keep me tuning the pages till the end and then I think about the story for days. What more can I say. Keep ‘em coming.

    Comment by Abe Glaser — July 19, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

  33. Hi Rick,
    Have read all your books and really enjoyed them. Look forward to reading many many more.
    Best of luck with your writing.


    Comment by Barbara Wilkinson — July 19, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

  34. I rest my case! I DO have the best readers in the world!
    You’re all pretty special.


    Comment by Rick Murcer — July 20, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  35. Hello RICK and JENNY,

    I am a Certified Lifetime Fan of RICK’S, having read several of his books. Can’t wait to read THE KILLING SANDS, especially to read Rick & Rebecca Stroud’s stories.
    GREAT “MADE IT MOMENT”, Rick, YOU deserve it. Thanks for sharing.

    Mike Phelps

    Comment by Michael Phelps — July 30, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

  36. Rick,

    I have read ALL your books including THE KILLING SANDS! Can’t wait for the next Manny Williams book and yes I’ve read the “teaser” chapters from Carribeab Rain!!

    Love your work,
    God bless

    Comment by Carl Manco — August 18, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  37. Rick does a great Elvis immitation too!

    Comment by Joanne Mazzotta — September 19, 2012 @ 2:22 am

  38. Rick does a great Elvis immitation too! DOn’t be shy rick. Put it up over here! Close your eyes folks, you’ll think Elvis is still in the building.

    Comment by Joanne Mazzotta — September 19, 2012 @ 2:23 am

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