I started working in corporate America in 1995, making 27k a year in IT. By 2001 (my best year), I made 146k as a software dev manager.

After being unceremoniously booted out by an evil Senior VP, I worked for DHL and IBM until I got fed up and decided to forge out on my own.

After many embarrassing failures and a few modest successes, I hit my stride writing and publishing books.

Not sure what you'd like to know, whether how I failed or how I succeeded, but ask away.

EDIT: Here's a bit more about me and why my name might be familiar to you --

This is the comment that gained me some small Reddit notoriety -- http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/bo5pe/what_is_the_stupidest_thing_youve_ever_had_an/c0qtp3d?context=9

This is the AMA I did after that: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/c91hx/by_request_i_am_warlizard_ama/

My Jeep: http://i.imgur.com/MIXJn.jpg

My rifle: http://i.imgur.com/Hq3fA.jpg

My highest karma comment: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/r8gjg/do_all_men_watch_porn/c43r4hk?context=5#c43r4hk

I have a subreddit (/r/warlizard) and a twitter (@War_Lizard) if anyone cares.

EDIT 2: If anyone wants a PDF copy of anything I've written, send an email to [email protected] and I'll send you one.

EDIT 3: This is the book that I wrote because of Reddit: http://www.amazon.com/The-Warlizard-Chronicles-Adventures-ebook/dp/B004RJ7W74

EDIT 4: It's nearly 1 and I've got to go to bed. If there are more questions tomorrow, I'll continue to answer them until there are no more left.

Comments: 317 • Responses: 109  • Date: 

pocket_kings35 karma

I felt compelled to login and pay you a compliment on what you've accomplished. As someone with kids and two mortgages, i'd love to break out and do my own thing like you did, but I can see that ending in tragedy. Kudos for making it work man.

Warlizard34 karma

Thanks, but don't be discouraged. Try little things and do them on the cheap.

I fucked up early on and gold-plated everything. Utter waste of money. Get free business cards, not the embossed ones. No one gives a shit about how nice your cards are. They just want your contact info.

That said, you try things in your spare time, on weekends, after work, whatever. When something you're doing makes more than your job, quit your job.

But don't wait. The longer you grind away, the more set you become in a way of thinking that only leads to following orders.

Spending the time with my kids and wife is vastly more entertaining that presenting to a group of VPs.

yourotherusername6 karma

I run a print shop. I recommend the least expensive cards. Black on white gets the job done. Ain't nobody gonna frame your business cards.

But does anyone listen to me? Fuck no. Most money so far someone spent with me was about $200 for 500 cards. Stupid.

Warlizard10 karma

That's because people are still going off of the old impression that an expensive business card shows they are prosperous.

Now, it just shows they're foolish.

SheridanWhiteside6 karma

This. I'm certainly not where you are, but I'm doing well so far outside of the standard corporate world. I spent the $7.95 or so to get blank backs on my business cards, so I was advertising myself and not Shmistaprint, I spend 20 bucks a month on accounting software that serves the purpose but definitely isn't That Accounting Package Everyone Uses, and because I work out of my home I splurge on business-class internet. You can't realistically use IP phones without it. Total business expenditures, maybe $250 a month.

TL;dr whether you're as successful as /u/WarLizzard or just a guy getting by working for himself, you don't need to spend an insane amount of money just to exist.

Warlizard2 karma

Yep. Completely agree, with the exception of the business-class internet. At home, mine is rock solid. If you're in a place where it isn't then you need to pay extra for the reliability.

Drunken_Economist11 karma

Between all your ventures and successes, which are you most proud of? Which would you want on your headstone?

Warlizard25 karma

I think I'm proudest of my failures.

Back in 2004/5, we had an idea that we thought would work. It was pretty simple, we'd take people's digital pictures, print them out nicely and arrange them into a photo album they could have on their coffee tables.

I was a bit iffy on the idea, but at the time, real estate was going well and everyone had extra money.

We had a gorgeous website built, had logos, cards, etc., and took out advertising in one of those coupon packs you get.

270,000 of those packs went out and we didn't get a single response. Not ONE.

It was heartbreaking. We'd spent a decent amount of money putting it all together and it simply failed -- no one wanted the product.

The reason I'm proud of it was that instead of saying, "Well, fuck, I guess this is just something I'm not good at," we just kept pushing and continued on until we found something that worked.

That lesson cost me about 25k.

If you spend your life worried about failing, you can't ever succeed because it takes the ability to risk your own view of yourself.

I've always thought that I'd succeed at something, even though I didn't know what it was.

I started an export firm, sending computers down to Latin America.

That was mildly successful, but honestly, it was so difficult to keep things from fucking up that the money I made was largely offset by the problems I had.

Still, I'm proud I started that company too. You make the best decisions you can with the information you have at the time.

EDIT: On my headstone -- "He never missed the ponies."

seekandknow3 karma

Your idea wasn't bad, there is a company in my area that makes photo albums, similar to the type you were going to make, and they must be doing quite well as they employ quite a few people. They were operating back in 2004/2005 too.

Warlizard13 karma

The important thing was that we dumped the idea immediately.

I know some would disagree, but my wife and I decided long ago that if something wasn't working, we would punt and go a new direction. I was never married to any specific idea -- I just liked making money.

Anonymous0ne6 karma

I just liked making money.

85% of reddit hates you for this.

Expect to hear "I bet you like Ayn Rand and you hate poor people!"

Personally, I'd like to congratulate you on doing what you love.

Warlizard14 karma

Thanks. Making money, for me, was not about a bank account -- it was about freedom. I wanted to do what I wanted, when I wanted, where I wanted, and with whom I wanted.

Now I can. It saddens me to hear so many people say that they can't make it in this economy. There are so many opportunities...

Anonymous0ne3 karma

I guess I'm just not as creative as you are.

Well ... I do have a concept for stabilizing large portions of West Africa, but I doubt I can crowd source that as a "for profit" venture. Colonialism has fallen by the wayside.

Warlizard2 karma

You don't actually need to be creative. Go on Craigslist under services and see what people are doing that you can do too.

Then, determine how much you can do the same job for. Be conservative.

Keep doing that until you find a niche where you can provide the same service at a better price.


Anonymous0ne3 karma

As an econ major I should be able to do something like this.

You've also inspired me to take another look and perhaps shot at the Sci-fi/Fantasy series I was working on a while back. I hit 80K words and realized I needed to start editing. Kinda hit a wall when that happened.

Warlizard4 karma

I've started and stopped more books than I can count.

It's better to break it up into 40k word chunks. Don't go nuts, write a nice novella and then, when you've found a good stopping point, put it out and move on to the next one.

That way you're not stressing over a giant 400 page tome.

GMTao11 karma

Are you self-publishing or publishing for other people?

Edit: What books are you writing/publishing?

Warlizard20 karma

Both. Long answer made longer:

My mom wrote a book that did very well, back in the 70's. She sold 600k copies when self-help books had just come out.

Since I grew up without a TV, all I ever did was read and I figured some day I'd write a book too.

After the real-estate crash in 2007, we had real trouble keeping our computer stores open but through some creative re-branding, managed to turn things around.

I suggested to my wife that we should write a book, simply because I wanted to be a published author.

I bought "The Writers' Guide", did exactly what they said to do, wrote a book on how we turned our stores around, and we sent out 4 query letters.

Two publishers said no, one didn't reply, and one published us.

The company that chose to put us out had a publicist for us who was good, but overwhelmed. We decided to put our own money into a publicist and did TV, radio, and print interviews.

Colossal failure. The book barely sold and we lost more than we ever made.

Not too long after, we were traveling around the country and our dog was attacked at the home of the person we'd been paying to watch him.

It cost me about 5k to get him fixed up, especially irksome since I didn't even like the dog, but it made my wife happy.

She vowed that she'd find a way to make the money back and started self-publishing kids' books to make it back.

About that time, I got the attention of Reddit from the story about my ex-fiancée, whose first orgasm came from a dog.

I started telling more stories and was encouraged by multiple Redditors to put out a book.

My wife took the things I'd written for Reddit, pasted them into a word doc and told me that she'd be publishing it on Amazon in 1 week's time, so if I wanted to change or improve anything, to do it.

I did. I spend a week with a giant bottle of vodka, writing up as much as I could, then she put it out.

I gave it away to Redditors, who responded with helpful criticism, then re-wrote it.

It has sold about 5k copies since I first put it out, but that success led us to do more of our own books. I think we have about 270 self-published books out now.

Because we did so well, we got the attention of a pretty big-named author who hired me to put out HIS books in e-format.

We did and we get a chunk of the sales off of that.

Since then, I've started working with more people to help them put out their books.

Currently, I'm working with several comics, a former porn star, and another current one.

Frankly, it's just fun. I like getting books out, even if my real name isn't on them.

pingvinus9 karma

270 books? That's a crazy big number, about what they were?

Warlizard12 karma

Well, the longest is about 300 pages, but many of the kids' books are only 10-15 pages. So not real books, but publications.

As I mentioned earlier, everything from kids' books to mysteries.

pingvinus6 karma

Thanks, how much work/research is going into each book? Do you hire illustrators or storywriters or someone else to assit you?

Warlizard8 karma

None. I just write them.

With that said, when I get a dumb idea, I'll look some pieces up just to make sure that I'm not crazy or to get a picture to describe. But that's about it.

We found early on that if you hire all the people you'd think are necessary to put out a book and it fails, you just lose money.

I'd rather be consistently good than occasionally great. Just do it, get it out, let the chips fall where they may.

To that end, "The Warlizard Chronicles" is currently ranked #75 on Amazon's Humorous Essay's list. It's imperfect, has some spelling and grammar errors, and I should really go back and fix it, but it keeps selling because it's funny and honest.

Steve Jobs said, "Real artists ship." I believe that and live according to that.

dreadpiratefrankie3 karma

What do you do to promote your ebooks? It doesn't seem like you do the standard blog tour or anything like that.

I'm a freelance writer and I'd really like to get some products out there to smooth out the income, but I'm afraid my niche (financial services) is too narrow. I took your advice and checked out some of the books in the financial marketing niche and the top one is #30 in its category. Would you recommend going broader?

Thanks for the AMA!

Warlizard2 karma

  1. Nothing. It's all keywords, subject matter, and description.

  2. Which book in particular?

  3. Yes. Broadest possible audience, always, if your goal is to make money.

okcrazypants2 karma

how has no one commented on this... first orgasm was from a dog? wtf!!! Is this a joke or analogy or real?

Warlizard2 karma

Real. I linked the story in the post description.

Killorcure5 karma

I've been gunning full-tilt toward becoming a published novelist for the past five years and I've got to ask. What publishers out there still look at unsolicited submissions? I thought literary agents had it sewn up tight.

Warlizard6 karma

It depends on the publisher. The Writers' Market has that list. I think it's about 70 bucks but it was worth every penny.

That said, I wouldn't go with a publisher now. It's too easy to get your work out and sell it quickly.

The best thing to do is to break up your book into 40k word chunks and release them that way, then put them together as a collection.

Killorcure5 karma

Thanks, but I think we'll have to disagree on a few things and leave it at that.

Warlizard12 karma

No disrespect, but I've gone both routes. I've put out two books through a publishing house and the money was crap.

It's fun seeing my books in book stores, but the money I make otherwise dwarfs that small sense of satisfaction. In addition, many many more people have read my work than would have if I'd just been another in a long list of new authors.

So while I understand that you might disagree, I am speaking from the vantage of someone who makes real money at writing, and that's not a very common thing for authors.

Killorcure7 karma

No disrespect to you as well, as you are clearly a very skilled businessman (I cannot comment on your skills as a writer since I'm not familiar with your work).

I too have gotten my work published in both electronic and paper mediums. Not as many as you have, of course, but my experience was quite the opposite. My e-books were lost in a gigantic slushpile through which people didn't seem to have the wherewithal to look; in many cases books I was competing against had not been professionally proofread, or were even complete, let alone entertaining.

My minor successes in print have amounted to about half a dozen short story publications. The money and readership from them has been far and away better.

It amounts, I think, to wanting my work to maintain a certain peerage about the company it keeps. And doing that requires the vetting of a renowned publisher.

Now, you may or may not know this, but of the six major publishing companies in the US (and the several dozen subsidiaries they own) not one of them has been open to unsolicited submissions since the mid-90s. You've got to go through a literary agent to even get your query letter on the right desk. Publishers have closed ranks over the course of the last ten years or so, so that in the most recent copy of Writer's Market, despite the fact that there are in excess of 2,700 publishers in the US, only about five-hundred will look at a writer's book without the intervention of a literary agent. These publishers are open to submissions because they do not have the luxury of expecting people to jump through hoops for them. Consequently, though I cannot be certain, I would posit that your experiences with paper publishing would be much more positive had you gone the literary agent route and gotten your work onto the desk of a more well known publisher. That is, of course, my opinion since a lack of evidence cannot be in itself evidence, and was why I chose to disagree.

Warlizard9 karma

Thanks for explaining.

When we did our first book, we only wrote query letters to publishers who accepted unsolicited works.

As far as getting your ebooks noticed, well, there are tricks for that and it's all about leveraging volume.

There is so much crap out there -- you have to differentiate yourself.

Still, my business books weren't good enough to warrant an agent taking the time to get me into a Big Six firm. It's easier to write what I want and sell it myself than to go crazy and broke trying to get someone to accept my writing.

As far as peerage, well, that's not important to me.

Staying home with my family and living well is what matters.

Killorcure3 karma

I commend you on your grasp of business and sales. That's the one part of writing where I fall through. :)

Warlizard9 karma

Then let me help you. No charge.

I'm glad to tell you exactly what we did and why it worked. I help people all over the world.

Don't let the system screw you up. Work with it.

loki77142 karma

Do you reccomend "The Writers' Guide" for an aspiring author?

Warlizard5 karma

Never read it.

My thing was that I didn't want to be like everyone else. I'm sure it would help me tremendously, but I like having my own unique voice, if that's even something I have.

People slam me for my sentence fragments, but honestly, I don't give a fuck. When I'm done with a story, I'm proud of it and it makes me happy.

Reading a book about how to write is like reading a book about how to fuck. If you just keep doing it and get good feedback, you'll probably be okay.

loki77143 karma

I'm gonna be completely honest / candid I've read a lot about how to fuck and it's helped me tremendously. On that same note, what's some good advice you've gotten that helped you write better?

Warlizard8 karma

Don't be boring. If you're bored, the reader has already put the book down.

Dialogue is more important than description.

Expose your characters by what they do or don't do, not by what they say or don't say.

Start as late into the story as you can. Just because you're fascinated by the back-story doesn't mean anyone else will be.

My model is Lethal Weapon 2. They start with a car chase. Nothing else was necessary.

loki77143 karma

That sounds like some Damn good advice! Thanks man!

Warlizard9 karma

Glad to help.

By the way, I must have irritated someone. They're going into my history to downvote me.

loki77144 karma

Noticed that just now, counter upvote initiated!

Warlizard4 karma

Hah, thanks!

People are funny here sometimes.

Magnum2563 karma

Hi do you recommend "The Writers' Guide" !?

Never read it.

But wait, you said:

I bought "The Writers' Guide", did exactly what they said to do

which implies you read it, or am I missing something?

Warlizard2 karma

I fucked up. Meant "Writers Market".

tamryae9 karma

I know you've repeated numerous times that you give away your books for free if one emails you, but I want you to know I bought both the chronicles and how to steal your boss's job.

You've said you give them to redditors because you're practicing gratitude. I gratefully paid the money to support you because of how you've (your Warlizard Chronicles specifically) changed my life perspective.

I recently landed an amazing internship, and I consider some of the credit goes to the chronicles for showing me what your kind of mindset can do.

So thanks War. You're an inspiration. Keep being fucking awesome.

Warlizard5 karma

Thanks man, that's awesome. I really appreciate it. Good luck in your new internship.

boetbra16 karma

I know you're tired of it, but I never caught where the gaming forum thing came from. Could you explain?

Transcendent-Pants5 karma

You seem cool enough to be worthy of a better RES tag than: "Roofied by his Dad". Nahhh, already set in stone.

Warlizard2 karma


lulzcakes5 karma

Who's your favorite dude in a turban, and why is it me?

On a more serious note, are you planning on writing anymore books? What's your next book going to be about?

Warlizard8 karma

Obviously you're my favorite.

On the other end, I'm working on a mystery novel now.

I may revisit "The Warlizard Chronicles" and finish up the section on being in the Persian Gulf, but I don't want to write another clone of what I already did.

I have a few good stories that aren't in my book but I'm not sure I have enough to support an entire one.

Schroedingers_gif5 karma

Can you expand on some of these embarrassing failures?

Other than not naming your books after me.

Warlizard10 karma

This is the fun and embarrassing part.

  1. Horrible idea to put digital pictures into photo albums. Lost 25k.

  2. Bought houses in slums, working with a local Preacher who fucked me over. Lost 100k.

  3. Bought a store right at the crest of the Real Estate bubble. Expanded to two stores, lost a bunch of money, fixed it, made the money back -- Made a bit of money, but considering the time spent, probably lost money.

  4. Tried to start another business to crowd-source publishing. Fell apart through bad partnerships.

  5. Export company, sending computers to Latin America -- made about 10k, sucked away about a year of my life. Not worth the time.

Need I go on? There are probably another dozen ideas that didn't really work out.

good003 karma

Regarding your first idea, places like Shutterfly currently offer that service but I'm not sure how much money they make off of it.
How did the preacher screw you over?

Warlizard2 karma

He was a friend of my Dad's, so naturally I trusted him.

He selected the properties and got the contractors.

Then, he used people in his church, promising them that the ones who did the best job at the end of our project would get a free house.

He kept the money for himself. Fucker.

jokes_on_you2 karma

Did you ever use legal measures to try to get the money?

Warlizard2 karma

Yes. I went to the cops, who told me it was a civil matter, not a criminal one. I got statements from the people involved, went to a lawyer, and found out that even if I got a judgment, there was very little chance I'd ever see a penny.

So I dusted myself off, walked away a wiser man, and vowed never to let myself get in that situation again.

Slevo4 karma

what would you say is a good amount of money to save to be able to go out and try forging your own path in the world for a single dude? Obviously it would vary depending on what a person would want to try to do, but do you have any kind of estimate?

Warlizard7 karma

I would say that waiting is a terrible idea.

There are so many ways to get things for free. You can get business cards and websites for next to nothing, but the longer you wait to try, the longer it will take.

sevenONEfive3 karma

Can you give any advices on making websites?

Warlizard2 karma

Nope. I'm terrible at it. My own website is something my wife threw together. www.warlizard.com

I know some people say you need a very professional website to get anyone to take notice, but in my experience, as long as it doesn't totally suck, it works pretty well.

qumqam3 karma

Can you give some details?

Are you writing fiction or non-fiction? How many books do you have out and do you sell direct, via Amazon digital or have print version?

I understand you might want to keep some details private, but I'd appreciate a high level view of what works for you.

Thanks for the AMA!

Warlizard6 karma

I write both fiction and non-fiction. "The Warlizard Chronicles" is just about my life and it's mostly true. I had to change minor details in places, but all the stories happened.

"How to Steal Your Boss's Job" is non-fiction, but again, I had to change minor details about the people involved. No one wants to get sued.

I've also written a shit-load of fiction. It's easy to just put out a story and throw it up. If it works, fantastic. If it doesn't, well, it's still out there as advertisement for other books.

The kids' books do pretty well. My kids have books out and they use the income to pay for their toys -- I don't provide an allowance.

We sell through Amazon, in digital and print, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, etc. Anyplace that will let me publish on, I do.

We use Sigil and Calibre to put out the books.

ccatlr2 karma


Warlizard2 karma

I do, but the only thing I needed a lawyer for was when I needed a contract to put out other people's stuff.

It was pretty simple but I wanted to make sure I didn't screw myself over by forgetting something important.

AmmoJackson2 karma

How does a poorly-selling story work as advertisement for your other books? I have a few stories I think are alright but wouldn't sell much, and I'd like to take advantage of them to advertise a 'tentpole' book that I spent more time on and think will sell better. I see people talk about 'linking' your books on Amazon but what does that mean? Is it referring to actual hyperlinks? Where do you put those? Or is it just a putting your name out there kinda general thing?

Warlizard3 karma

Because it's in a different category.

So, for example, if you have Book X in category Y, as long as you can get someone to look at it, they often check out what else you've written. You'll get a whole different audience from that than you would have when Book D is in category G.

You link your books in the actual text of the book on the kindle. It's a hyperlink, so when people download your preview, they also see other books you've written and can click on them to buy them.

Just make things easy on people -- they'll buy if your copy is solid.

deemeetree3 karma

Are you sure you're not from the Warlizard gaming forums?

Warlizard5 karma


tfish10653 karma

There are so many things I'd like to pick your brain about in self publishing. How did you handle your ISBN? What's the pro/con's of Kindle v. other ebook formats? What about just a PDF? And, thank you so much for saying that one of your books has typos etc. I've got so many unfinished pieces because I though it had to be perfect. A light bulb went off because I think you're proof that it doesn't have to be perfect, just put it out there. And, one last ebook question, how do you pick a selling price of 9.99, 4.99 etc.

Warlizard2 karma

  1. We bought a block.

  2. Kindles have the most readers, therefore start there. We have a kindle, a kindle fire, and emulators for the rest.

  3. PDFs suck. You can't increase text size and you also can't have the Kindle read them out loud.

  4. I hate the typos but it's just stupid to spend all of my time trying to get it 100% perfect. Get it close, make sure there aren't any in the description, but readers will forgive a typo or two if the book is good.

bamfsEnnui3 karma

I'm working on self-publishing both my own work and that of a friend. After reviewing publishing contracts to the point where my brain felt like it was oozing out of my nose, it seems that the best route for his debut novel will be going through the Amazon, KDP/CreateSpace/ACX route. He is also a voice actor and has a small studio in his home where he records his own stuff.

His main goal is to get the book put out as an Audiobook as it is semi-autobiographical and full of himself doing the impressions that he does when he talks to himself. Since ACX requires that you have the book already on Amazon with an ISBN either in eBook format or print (or both) we're definitely going with the KDP and most of the other self-published I know have used CreateSpace, so I'm looking in to that.

Based on what I've read from others, their Amazon sales far outweigh the sales they see from anywhere else. Is it worth just going the KDP Select route for the 70% royalty rather than trying to market your book to other places?

I actually have a lot of questions and I'm putting out a wall of text here, sorry about that. Would you mind if I were to simply message you about some of this stuff?

Warlizard2 karma

  1. I just put The Warlizard Chronicles up on ACX, so I'll let you know how that goes.

  2. Absolutely go through Amazon. 100%. But also go through everyone else.

  3. Write something else, put it out as a KDP select, only publish it on Amazon, use that as a feeder for the main book. Make it something that directly ties into the full book.

  4. Feel free to PM me about anything else.

AlreadyTakenWTF3 karma

You sir are the man.

Warlizard2 karma

Thanks. I'm not special though and I didn't do anything remarkable.

themillionizer2 karma

I have a ton of children's books written and in idea stages but no illustrations. I am not an artist. I'd love to get them out but don't know how to go about dealing with illustrations or making them attractive to kids. How do you deal with this in your children's books? Also, how do you promote your kids books? All the research I've done says kids books don't do well online. I'd love any direction you can give on this. Thanks!!

Warlizard2 karma

No problem.

You use and modify stock images to fit what you want. The big issue that people have is they think the books have to be another version of "Where the Wild Things Are" or something.

They don't. Make the story light and fun, use cute images from any one of a billion sites, then put the book out. Educational sell best.

GeneralWarts2 karma

I started working in corporate America in 1995, making 27k a year in IT. By 2001 (my best year), I made 146k as a software dev manager.

I know you probably want to focus on everything after this part, but this relates most to me currently. Actually, I just realized that was during the dot-com bubble.. so it may not be relevant.

Was the dotcom bubble like winning the lottery for everyone in IT, or do you have advice for young corporate drones who are working their way up the ladder?

Warlizard6 karma

I was in school getting a useless degree, working in a small computer store when a friend of a friend told me he might have a job for me. I was in D.C. visiting, and the interview was in the morning. I drove down to NC where my parents were, got a suit drove back late at night and managed to make the interview the next morning.

The company was a very prestigious consulting firm and I didn't even have my degree, but they were so impressed that I'd driven 10 hours for the interview that they hired me.

I had no idea what I was doing, but I picked things up as OTJ training.

Specifically, I was tasked with negotiating pricing with vendors all around the country.

Turned out I was pretty good at it and that's where I learned that sometimes the best thing to do is to just DO something and not be afraid of failing.

My new boss called me in one day and asked me to find out what percentage of US Air's budget was spent on IT.

This was prior to the internet and most companies didn't have a web site, so I called up 411 and got the number for US Air's corporate headquarters.

I called them up and asked who would have that information and they told me the CIO would.

I asked to speak to him and they put me through.

After introducing myself, I asked what % of their budget was spent on IT, he told me, so I went back to my boss's office and told him

It took me about 45 minutes to get the information.

He looked at me, stunned, and asked for the source of the info.

I told him I'd just talked to their CIO. He wanted to know how I got through to him. I said I had just asked.

All of a sudden, he started laughing. "War, you don't know what a CIO is, do you?"

I did not. But that didn't stop me from making it happen anyway.

I spent the next couple years on the road, but finally left because I wanted to settle in one place for a while.

I bounced around companies, chasing money, until I landed the gig as a software dev manager.

The important thing to take out of this is not that I was fortunate during the dotcom bubble but that I was always looking for a way to impress my bosses, whether through hard work, creative solutions, or simply not taking "No" for an answer.

That experience has been incredibly valuable to me since then.

kunomchu4 karma

I enjoy reading your posts. I'm 28 and I believe my managers think i'm overly ambitious. Even though I worked hard and put in extra time, I get ignored all the time. I'm thinking about jumping ship and starting fresh somewhere else. Office politics totally suck.

spicymelons3 karma

Are you shitting me?

Literally the same boat buddy. 28, fucking can't stand office politics.

I figured out that i'm not going to make the money I want working for other people. I am going to have to take it into my own hands. Been trying to think of some idea's to start a business.

After reading what OP did, I need to just start doing something. Can't think of ideas forever.

Warlizard4 karma

Well, like they say, find what people say can't be done and do it.

Or, as Mark Cuban says, find what someone has done and been successful at then copy it with your twist.

Warlizard2 karma

Fuck 'em.

I despise that kind of manager, the one who exists to line their nest and secure their own future and doesn't give a fuck about their people.

Jump ship and go somewhere that you make more money, gain more experience, or have more fun. Preferably all together.

Warlizard4 karma

Oh, and if you want advice on the corporate world, send me your email and I'll send you "How to Steal Your Boss's Job". It's everything I learned during that time.

Tech58583 karma

Oh man 28 here also. I need that info too I have a boss that pretty similar. Also he is very good at Pointing out the negative, that's all he does place runs smoother when is off ( he is the lead on my group/team , he also Tells me I over shoot with the goals that I set. I do my own thing on the side and I make more money that way. Only reason I am at this job is insurance just married a year ago and have a little one on the way. So health insurance is a priority right now. Sorry for my English ( English is my 2nd language)

Warlizard4 karma

Congrats on the new one. Send me your email and I'll send you the book.

hoosyourdaddyo2 karma

My friend has a concept for a cooking show, and he wants my help putting the concept down in paper, and possibly publishing a companion blog. Do you have any advice for us? Would you be interested in the project?

Warlizard1 karma

Sure. I have contacts in reality TV. PM me your info and let's talk.

Oh, and fuck the blog.

Marsthebringer2 karma

Did you go to college? (I assume you did) If yes, what was your major? A lot of my high school teachers have talked about taking finance and economics classes to make sure you have money and are doing well with it. Were either of those classes must haves for your business portion of your writing, or did you get advisers that would help you out along the way? Also, where is the best place to start looking for a real job? Just get whatever you can at a company, or hit up McDonald's for a job?

Warlizard3 karma

Yep. A few. I majored in everything from Bible Theology to German. Never graduated.

I took economics, like everyone, but the thing that really helped was marrying a girl who was a financial goddess.

Get the job that takes you where you want to go. Instead of getting a job that pays your bills, get a job that teaches you the skills that will lead you forward.

heiroglyphix2 karma

In your worst moments of failure where you were unsure if things would work out, did you ever say "fuck it all" and if so, what made you press ahead still not knowing if you're doing the right thing? Thanks for the AMA

Warlizard2 karma

In my worst moments, I was pretty sure that things wouldn't work out.

So I stopped worrying, did what needed to be done, made the hard choices, and moved on.

Specific example: I was looking at the books at the stores. I'd just lost 12k that month and there was simply no way it was going to get better.

I agonized over a thousand different options that I knew wouldn't work, realized I was going to lose everything if I didn't act, then fired all but 2 people.

It was the only way out and it worked.

My wife, a brilliant person, pointed out that if everyone had been doing what they were supposed to, I wouldn't have had to fire them.

Still, it sucked.

But my life isn't the story of a guy who believed in the gold in them thar hills and kept searching. It's the guy who got tired of searching and moved to a new place.

PeterCHayward2 karma

Your advice is slightly outdated: taking into account Rapunzel, which Disney Princess would you date?

Also: what pen-name are your children's books etc under? I can't find them anywhere. (if that's deliberate, fair enough)

Warlizard2 karma

Never saw Rapunzel and hey, give a brother a break -- that was a 3-year-old post.

Just looked at her, meh. She's blond.

dag18932 karma

Thank you for this AMA. Very inspiring, as I'm hoping to follow a path very similar to yours.

I'm currently working corporate IT by day and writing my first book at night and on the weekends (have about 13K words written). It's in the self-help, happiness-and-success genre.

Here's my question. I'll be 24 when I self-publish and start marketing and selling my book. How do you think the world will perceive a self-help book written by a 24 year old?

Warlizard3 karma

Well, you don't have to tell them, do you?

Alternately, target a high-school audience. To them, you'll seem old.

dag18932 karma

Haha, my thoughts exactly! Glad to know we're on the same page.

My plan is to couple the book with a speaking tour at local high schools. If that goes well, undergrads are next.

I know that my message can benefit people of all ages, and I want to get the word out. I feel that initial sales from the younger crowd will give me much more credibility.

Warlizard2 karma

Sales always give credibility, even if people don't understand them.

Imbris2 karma

Question about your own writing history: did you ever have to get over a hurdle of self-consciousness with your writing? I've attempted to write before, but I always end up frustrated at my perceived lack of talent and promptly give up.

Warlizard2 karma

Yep. I read this: http://www.amazon.com/The-Amazing-Adventures-Kavalier-Clay/dp/1455840238

It was so good and I realized I'd never be able to write like that.

Years later I started up again and figured, "Meh, fuck it. I write well enough that people enjoy my stories. I don't need to win a Pulitzer to have fun and make money."

Imbris2 karma

Thank you for answering! I guess one should just suck it up and write.

Warlizard2 karma

Hard to put out books if you don't.

TeaGuru2 karma

I sent you a PM but ill put it here if its easier or benefit to others. I have written a number of short childrens stories to be illustrated into picture books. What advice can you give on where and how to self publish....how to get exposure and sales...what is ideal size ...what is a good cost that will sell? Thanks

Warlizard3 karma

Don't give more than one away, and then only on a 5-day promotion. You want people to believe your work has value, not that it's so crappy it's free.

E-book not over 2.99, better to stick to .99 if under 20 pages. If print, make sure you earn a couple bucks on the deal.

Amazon, Barnes, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. Sell everywhere.

Ilovebobbysinger2 karma

How would you find out if a big enough market exists for your book? I have something I would like to write, but it's very niche.

Warlizard4 karma

  1. Go to amazon and look for books that are like what you want to publish.

  2. Look at the category they're in. Check to see how well the top ten books are selling. A good rule of thumb is that 3-4 book sales per day will put you in the top 20,000 kindle sales.

  3. Decide the relative cost / effort involved vs. profit. If it takes you 6 months to write something and you'll sell 100 books, at 2.99, you'll only make 70% of that. If it's worth it, write it.

kalamitykity2 karma

Jeep friend!

Warlizard2 karma


Mastuh2 karma

What advice do you give to a young entrepreneur?

Warlizard4 karma

Don't worry about failing. It's going to happen. It doesn't make you a loser, it doesn't make you suck, you aren't less of a person because of it.

It's NECESSARY to succeed. The people who strike it rich on their first projects are also the ones who rarely know why they did it.

Mastuh2 karma

Thanks man, big fan

Warlizard2 karma

My pleasure.

splattypus2 karma

What have been some of your personal inspirations in life?

Warlizard4 karma

Mark Cuban, Richard Feynman, and Robert Kiyosaki.

I met Cuban at the ABC Premiere weekend at Disneyland years ago and he blew me away as a guy who started with nothing and worked his way up from there.

Feynman was just cool as shit and any time he wanted to learn something, he just went and did it.

Kiyosaki wrote "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", and while his philosophy is simple, it started me on the path to understanding that relying on someone else to pay you was never going to provide true happiness for me.

jbellis2 karma

FYI, Kiyosaki is a fraud.


Warlizard2 karma

Oh, I've read all the negative reviews out there, but for me, it didn't matter. I'm not buying from him and the value I took from his books was that relying on a corporation to take care of me the rest of my life was crap.

Everyone was doing real-estate back then and he capitalized on the trend, but that doesn't change the new perspective his books gave me.

I remember reading that for someone to be successful, they should have real estate, businesses, books, etc. I thought it was silly until I had real estate, businesses, and books.

Hey, it worked for me, but it's no gospel.

The_Royal_Dutchess2 karma

What kind of books are you writing?

Warlizard5 karma

Everything from simple picture books to complex mysteries.

It really doesn't matter, to be honest. As long as you clearly state what you're selling, SOMEONE will buy it. It's about volume, not writing a single bestseller.

geekgirlpartier2 karma

I know you've traveled quite a bit, but is there a place that you haven't been yet that you'd like to visit?

Warlizard2 karma


I've never been to China, Japan, or Australia. Those three places are on my bucket list.

I loved living in Europe but since I was mostly broke and drunk the entire time I was there, I never made it to England.

I'll probably go there this year.

PawnShop8042 karma

If you could go back in time, would you have ventured out on your own before, or do you think working for the other companies was a learning experience?

Warlizard4 karma

I had to learn that working for a company wasn't the best way for me.

I always thought, like most people, that busting ass in the corporate world, getting promoted, getting that big office, having signing authority and getting a fat 401k was the answer.

It wasn't, but it took me getting fired to teach me that.

Well, I wasn't actually "fired". I was told that I had resigned. I'm still mad about that.

tweakingforjesus2 karma

Not only did they fire you, but they also screwed you out of unemployment? Nice.

Warlizard2 karma

Unemployment is crap in AZ. You can't go from making 10k a month to 245 bucks a week. I moped around for a long time though -- truly, I acted like a bitch.

tweakingforjesus2 karma

The owner of the company my wife runs tried to screw an employee he laid off out of unemployment. She refused to to say he quit to the unemployment office. He is truly a prick among pricks.

Warlizard2 karma

Wow. What a fucker.

Warlizard1 karma

Heh, yeah, that's the one that got me famous. Well, minor Reddit celebrity status.

four20_JDM2 karma

What is the most ridiculous item purchased, by you after making that 300k?

elcheecho3 karma

they lost $125k at least, not counting losses from real estate and another unrelated businesses falling apart.

Add in at least two kids, i'm not sure having a single year of 300k (before taxes) is gonna let him buy too many ridiculous items.

Warlizard2 karma

Those losses were over about 6 years and were made up by the successes in other areas.

I have 3 (I think) houses that I own outright that are rented out, so that's all profit, plus I have mad write-offs from property in Ohio that I own.

While I make have lost a ton up there, I wrote it all off which saved me in the end.

Oh, and I have four kids. :)

four20_JDM2 karma

Yes, but there's always a time too splurge, and he did so with the rifle and the Jeep

elcheecho2 karma

mkay, my bad, we clearly have differing opinions on the definition of "splurge"

Warlizard2 karma

Exactly. I'll give you an example of what, for me, splurging would be.

Ever hear of Martin Logan speakers? They're awesome, but they're crazy expensive.

To get a full kit of them would cost somewhere between 10-15k. I got them off of Craigslist and by buying and selling them until I had what I wanted, it cost me about 1k.

If I'd just gone to the store and bought them, that would be splurging.

Warlizard1 karma

The Jeep I've had since 2001. I love that thing. Pic up top in the post description. As is the rifle.

Warlizard2 karma

I don't buy stupid stuff.

I have a Ford Expedition, an awesome lifted Jeep, but that's about it. I'm trying to think, but we live pretty simply.

I'm wracking my brain, but nothing comes to mind.

Well, to be fair, my computer is pretty badass, but I don't think that's a stupid purchase. Raided SSDs, SLI GTX680, 3 x 27" monitor is fair, doncha think?

Ilovebobbysinger2 karma

You do not like dogs?

Warlizard1 karma

I love MY dog. This one sucks. Mine is a black lab / retriever mix and he rocks.

Ilovebobbysinger2 karma

I see. Why does he suck?

Warlizard2 karma

Because if we don't watch him 24x7, he pees everywhere. I've spent thousands on trainers but it makes no difference. I guess terriers just like to pee.

He's smart as hell too, that's the worst part. I can put a bark collar on him that doesn't even have a battery in it and he won't bark, but take it off and he's annoying as hell.

Ilovebobbysinger2 karma

Thanks for elaborating. :)

Warlizard2 karma

Np. I'm sure it's my fault. If I did nothing but pay attention to him and cater to his every whim, he'd probably be a decent dog. Since I have 4 kids, it's not feasible. He's really a dog for an old couple that can dote on him.

vuhn19912 karma

Were you always so good at writing/storytelling? That's the one desired ability I've never been able to develop. I think I just spent the last 3 1/2 hours reading through several of your very lively and entertaining threads. I can't imagine what a boost it must have been throughout your life, even before you began to publish. Also, how were you able to jump around different industry jobs without having a degree- was your reputation enough to jump through hoops that much easier? Do you think your business success would have been the similar if you lived in another state/location?
I very much look forward to reading through some of your work. I could really use the motivation!

Warlizard2 karma

I never really thought about it -- I just wrote the stories down. It's probably fair to say I was always pretty decent at that though, perhaps because all I ever did growing up was read.

I jumped jobs because I chased money. When opportunities presented themselves, I took them, plus, since I was single, moving around the country was no big deal. No one cared whether or not I had a degree. They already wanted me, so that was that.

States don't matter. People. do. :)

doppelspiel2 karma

Hi. I didn't read the book yet but I am planning to do so, just now I read the story in one of the comments. Sounds amusing and I enjoyed your writing.

How many of those chronicles did you sell?

I would encourage you to pair with a film maker.

Warlizard2 karma

I think we're up to about 5500 sold so far.

I'd love to get it optioned as a film, but I'm not sure what the story arc would be.

Antiros2 karma


Antiros2 karma


Warlizard2 karma

It's really pretty easy. You have to set up an account through whichever digital medium you want to use, i.e., Amazon, then upload your book.

There's a bit more to getting the book ready to publish, but there are many resources available for that.

You get your keywords right, select the best category for your book, and then tell people about it.

Obviously the devil's in the details, but that's a broad overview.

yourtehdiction2 karma

Would you mind sending Betty my way?

Warlizard2 karma

You wouldn't believe how many people have asked me for her info.

She's happily with someone now who I guess appreciates her. I doubt he has any idea of her past.

PeterCHayward2 karma

Is the sister still with the lesbian? I've just started your book (loving it, btw) so let me know if it's covered in a later chapter.

Warlizard2 karma

She is, and it isn't. I'm still blown away by that.

She's always posting these hyper-religious things on Facebook too. Oh the irony.

bigkoiguy1 karma

I've read articles that Amazon is growing concerned about the clutter of lower-quality books that e-publishing is allowing. Are you concerned that the public might confuse your publications with some of the poorly written or outright plagiarized works that are appearing there? Or, are users reviews sufficient to weed this problem out over time?

Warlizard3 karma

Fortunately, I think we're past that hump.

Since we sold 240k books last year, Amazon is pretty fond of us, to the point that we're allowed to do audio books with them directly, instead of going through someone else like CD Baby or whatever.

That's something I haven't done yet, btw.

I still need to find someone who can read the books and put together the audio.

To your point, reviews are important. They make or break a book.

deemeetree2 karma

Warlizard2 karma

Is that your alt?

The_Bystander_Effect1 karma

But you did fake out Clive Owen.

Warlizard4 karma

Well, there is that.



Warlizard9 karma

I am not. Let's put that to rest, once and for all.