Hello! My name is Jason Crutchfield, and I'm a writer. I'm the author of the four part science-fiction series NANO. The first book, NANO Archive 01: The City of Fire, is published on Amazon and available for purchase.

Since I was in middle school I've loved to write. I did everything from roleplaying on America Online to playing Dungeons and Dragons as a Dungeon Master (which I still do!) to writing short stories. I met a mentor, a bizarre English teacher named Ms. Amos, in High School. That's where I first got the dream to make a living as an author.

Unfortunately the odds scared me off; Ms. Amos told me only 2% of writers make it, so when I graduated with my Associate's, I buried my dreams and joined the work force. Unhappy, my weight rose up to 315 pounds.

During a routine Department of Transportation physical, they told me I needed to go to the emergency room because I was in danger of immediate cardiac arrest. I don't think I had ever cried as a man until that day when I was driving myself to the ER. I was so angry, and my sole regret was never even trying to be an author.

So I resolved myself that day. I dropped a lot of the weight and on November 5th, 2012, I picked up my proverbial pen. And I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I finished my first series on April 1st 2014 (took me forever to convince people it wasn't an April Fool's joke.) It will be the first of many series. I never want to put my pen down again.

I'd like to answer any questions you may have. Things related to my diabetes, things related to my journey as an author, things related to my weight loss. Maybe the story's a bit mundane or boring, but I feel that there's something which can be shared here. And if I can help someone else along the way, then all the better.

Proof of my weight loss - https://www.facebook.com/jason.l.crutchfield/media_set?set=a.10153442961845615.1073741827.559855614&type=3

Proof of my status as a Published Author: www.authorjasonlee.com

Edit - Going to head to bed! I haven't had many questions, but that's quite all right! I'll definitely resume this tomorrow in the afternoon sometime! Good night~

Edit - Ok, woke up and I have quite a few questions! I'll be here for a while to answer more, so I'ma get crackin' on the ones here!

Comments: 75 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

Yesak_Yadav12 karma


brolin_on_dubs4 karma

I saw your first question and really wanted to answer it from my own experience, so sorry for intruding on the AMA!

For me, the most important part was thinking of it as a permanent shift in my diet and exercise routine. It wasn't like I just needed to stay motivated through some routine for a few months, lose all the weight, and then resume my former life. Once I determined that I was going to change my diet and exercise for good, and then actually did, the rest just happened on its own. I ran every day, gave up soda, junk food (except on a treat day once a week-- a piece of cake once a month when the occasion arises isn't verboten, but a piece of cake every day might be), cut my lunch and dinner to vegetables-only, etc. I didn't need "motivation" so much as I just needed to be able to adjust. Once I adjusted, the weigh just sort of lost itself.

AuthorJasonLee4 karma

Oh Brolin that is absolutely correct! I can't believe I didn't mention that!

Making sure that you view it as a permanent lifestyle change is key. It will determine whether or not you'll succeed and stay fit, succeed then put back on weight, or fail at a very basic level!

When you look at a candy bar, you shouldn't view it as "that processed sugar is worth too many calories, I need to burn them!" but more "that candy bar is just not good for my body." When you start looking at bad foods as a form of "poison" you're less likely to ingest them!

Thank you brolin, for the post!

AuthorJasonLee3 karma

I am terribly sorry to hear that you have early-onset diabetes as well. It's a horrible disease that not a whole lot of people REALLY understand. I do hope you manage to find the motivation without getting it the way I did.

To answer your first question-- I never encountered that emotion because my weight loss was an immediate reaction to fear (fear which I still have). I was told that I was in immediate danger of cardiac arrest. It's a funny story since it turned out to be a slight exaggeration on the part of the physician, but the fear was real. I'll never forget it.

Second question-- My body reacted the way you'd expect. I remember one time I did an Insanity workout as best I could (which wasn't that great) and then I don't remember what happened after. I blacked out on the floor and woke up an hour later. Prooobably not the healthiest thing, but I kept at it after that and eventually my body adapted. I would DEFINITELY recommend talking to your physician before you attempt something like that, though. I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have kept going when I passed out like that.

Thank you for the well wishes. I hope you remain healthy and find whatever motivation you can to stay that way.

Ganthamus_prime1 karma

Hey man, maybe I can help a little bit. I was once over 400lbs and I'm now 305-10. I'm still off of what I need to be at but I'm slowly getting there.

You need to think of what you need to do as a slow change in your life. My problem was that I didn't know anything else, no one in my family had an exercise routine, or had a proper diet. We basically just are until we were full and that was it, no one truly understood how bad junk food really was when you consume it on a daily basis.

You need to experiment with different healthier foods so you can create a good diet. Also the same thing goes for exercise, you simply can't argue that fact, we all need regular exercise to keep ourselves healthy. Once I told myself "this is what I need to do to keep myself healthier" I was able to push myself into the gym and lift weights (I hate cardio outside of my 15-20 min walk to work).

What I can tell you is that people will simply treat you better if you lose weight, it's strange to admit but people treat fat people differently.

You can do it man

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

Also very good advice. And keep doing what you're doing, Ganthamus! You're absolutely right that it's a slow change. It requires patience and commitment, and the fact that you've lost so much weight already is absolutely amazing!

Also... unfortunate, but true. People whoa re overweight are treated differently. Even many of my friends treated my differently, and when I brought it up they claimed they had no idea what they were talking about.

So either people do it subconsciously, or it could just be that we (as we lose weight) perceive the way we're treated as being different when it's really not? Hmm! I think that might be a good research paper!

drivebyvitafan1 karma

If you are too heavy, I would focus on diet first, then start working out when you are lighter. You can't just jump into P90X, just like you don't become a good driver on a single afternoon.

Here's something I do: read up on the nutrition facts of your favorite fast foods chains. Once I know X item is 800 calories, I can't in good conscience eat it. I feel like I'm throwing my hard work away.

I think ignorance gives us an excuse to slack off. If you just eyeball it, you delude yourself it isn't that bad. But if you see the number in black and white, its harder to justify it.

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

Not only that, but you can't keep bad eating habits and expect to "exercise" the weight away. Exercise and diet are both very important, but you cannot do a workout that's strenuous enough to account for unhealthy eating.

Diet should definitely take precedence, so I agree with driveby.

abyssea9 karma

What diet did you use? I'm currently doing low-carb which is great. Question though is how were you "near-death"? I started this diet at 316.8 (dropped about 20 pounds so far in 9 weeks) and my blood pressure is only slightly elevated. I realize it is different for everyone. I'm just curious, I'm not trying to call you out or accuse you of lying. But that is great progress, you should check out /r/keto if you haven't :)

Being that you're into D&D, have you been following any of the news for Everquest Next?

Also, your privacy filters on facebook have the pictures blocked.

AuthorJasonLee5 karma

That's quite an interesting question because, at first, I avoided diet like the plague! There were several months where I did all kinds of research and conveniently "skipped" that. I did Insanity, lifted weights, cardio, etc. When that didn't succeed I finally buckled down on diet.

As for the details-- it was as simple (and god-awfully hard) as cutting out processed carbs. Sugars, white breads, noodles, rice. And drastically increasing my vegetable intake.

I was close to dying because of early-onset diabetes which is largely genetic, but also a direct result of my lifestyle choices. You're lucky you didn't have such complications, but I think it's awesome that you're losing the weight so you don't have them in the future!

I'll try to find out a way to turn off privacy filters so you can see the pics for proof.

AuthorJasonLee3 karma

Update: There-- I think the photos are viewable by public now.

AuthorJasonLee3 karma

Updatex2: As far as Everquest Next, it looks AMAZING. The fact that you can dive down into the earth and get random content that way might actually be the breath of fresh air the MMO genre needs. I also like the idea of the world-builder Everquest Next that's coming out :)

IOnlyUpvoteSelfPosts1 karma

That sounds like a really weird reason to come to the ER.

AuthorJasonLee3 karma

At the Department of Transportation physical, the doctor told me that I was in immediate danger of cardiac arrest. They even recommended that I let them take me in an ambulance! (I declined... probably so I could cry in peace, haha).

I think the reason the doctor felt that way was because they detected an "irregularity" in my hear beat. They also said my heart rate was in excess of 120 bpm. When I got to the ER their equipment said something COMPLETELY different. My heart rate was only 80 bpm and the EKG revealed no irregularity. I don't know what the deal was with the DOT equipment, but the fear of death is something I will never ever forget.

I used to be one of those "Oh death is just a journey, don't fear it" types. That day changed all that for good. I want to live, ya know?

johnnynoname123 karma

Are you self published?

AuthorJasonLee5 karma

I am self-published. Early on when I first felt that I was approaching my series' first draft completion, I did a lot of research on publishing and marketing. I was REALLY gung ho about submitting my work to Tor, actually.

After a lot of research though, I just reached the conclusion that traditional publishing is on its way out. Aside from their "brand name" which serves as self advertisement, there's really no reason to use a publishing house. And unless you're going with one of the big dogs (like Tor) it actually hurts you more than it helps you since most publishing houses want all your copyrights. (multimedia, ebook, audiobook, etc) for an unknown first-time author.

The other reason I chose to self publish is because it doesn't really hurt your chances to later submit a work for publication. It's a common misconception that if you "Sell" your own copies that publishing houses won't want you because you "cut into their market." That's not the case. So basically, there's no reason to NOT try to be successful as a self-published author before you try to submit your work to a house.

ronniemexico3 karma

I've lost 100lbs since november. I've lost over 75lbs 4 seperate times in my life. Do you have any plans to keep it off? Lifestyle and stress are really hard to eliminate, and once the confidence from the accomplishment fades I have found that it's easy to put on. Do you think you can maintain a healthy life, and not just drop a bunch of weight? Either way, major congrats on everything.

AuthorJasonLee3 karma

Oh wow, 100 lbs! That's more than me! Maybe I should be getting tips from you! I think, for me, the thought of staying around longer to keep writing is going to play a major factor in keeping me motivated. Sometimes I'll gain a pound or two after a week of not eating right and after I step on the scale, I turn pale as a ghost and feel afraid again. I don't know if you'd consider it a good thing, but I guess for me fear is a powerful motivator.

Thank you for the congrats! Congrats to you, and I hope you're able to find out how to keep the weight off! That's something I haven't had to deal with (yet) but I'm sure it might sneak back up on me based on what you're saying! I'll have to stay extra vigilant!

ronniemexico1 karma

Well for me it was more practical why I put it back on: life got in the way. I was responsible for taking care of my grandmother at the end of her life, and I didn't have the time, nor the desire to stay active. Cancer really does effect the family too. It was brutal. Don't take tips from me, its easy. Burn more than you consume. I'm fortunate because I'm tall (6'5") - I play basketball. A lot. 7-10 times a week. Basketball and swimming are about the best exercise you can get. As I get older, however, playing hoops becomes less practical.

AuthorJasonLee3 karma

I hear swimming is one of the most amazing forms of cardio and muscle training you can do. It has all the intensity of running without any of the impact damage to your joints. If only pools were more readily available around here... You'd think they would be, given this is Florida.

seriphin862 karma

Would you mind offering advice on writing a novel? What sort of planning went into it initially? Did you use amazon to publish?

I too want to write a novel but the though of it scares me. Im worried my writing is not up to scratch. Honestly any afvoce would be great.

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

The best general advice I can offer to write a novel is to do it. Do it every day; it's a very daunting task. I love to write, and I've written since middle school, but even I didn't realize just how daunting of a task it was going to be until I sat down to do it. But you do it every day. Little by little, word by word. Don't go a day without at least writing a few sentences in your work. Even if you don't "feel" creative, even if you end up going back later to change it, even if you feel horrible. At least write a sentence or two.

For me, my planning involved a lot of talking things out with my friends and writing ideas down. But at a certain point you have to realize that talking about writing isn't writing. When it comes down to it, you just have to write.

If you want to write a novel, I say write a novel! There's no experience quite like it. You can't be afraid that your writing isn't up to scratch because, and here's a secret-- or rather my personal opinion, a good author's writing will NEVER be up to scratch. Your writing will constantly change and evolve. And you know what? There are many readers who would love to see that. To read your first work, which may be a good story but a bit rough around the edges, and then as you publish more books they can see your skills as an author grow. I think there's beauty and merit in that.

I really hope to see your book out one day! I know you can conquer that fear if you put your mind to it!

br0wnb0y2 karma

Good on you. Setting goals and achieving them has been a tough sell to a lot of people. What is the few little things that helped you the most in achieving your goals?

Have you been able to use your new found body and all to get out on dates and such?

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

One of the little things I did was to start replacing processed carbs with a vegetable at every meal. I did it slowly at first (I HATED vegetables), but now that my taste buds have changed I love just about every kind of vegetable there is, and I couldn't imagine eating a meal without them.

Another small thing I did was to not deprive myself of cravings, but rather to address the craving rather than approach it as hunger. If I got a chocolate craving, I would open up a Hershey bar and eat one small line of the chocolate squares, then I would throw the rest away or give it to someone else. I mentally told myself that I was just satisfying a craving, not trying to eat chocolate to get full. If I was still 'hungry' after that, I would stuff my face with broccoli or leafy spinach.

My new found body still isn't exactly where I want it, so I feel I don't have the confidence I need to tackle dates and stuff yet. Plus I've been really busy writing and trying to make my dream of making a living as an author happen. But I have definitely gotten more "looks" than I used to, that's for sure!

Jakkeline2 karma

What do you eat? Can you give a quick simple breakdown of what you eat in a day?

AuthorJasonLee2 karma


I've never been a breakfast person, so sometimes I still skip it. I've been doing my best not to, though, because I know it's very important to curve cravings later in the day. So I usually start my day with either eggs or a protein bar and water or diet green tea.

Lunch is almost always the same for me. I'm a subway guy. I get their chopped salad, and I vary it between the chicken, the chicken teriyaki, and the sliced turkey. I always tell them "more spinach"-- most of the subways in the 32570 area know that if I ask for spinach to grab a huge handful. I even allow myself a little ranch dressing to make it taste better!

I don't snack much, but if I do it's because I ate an early lunch (like 11) and I'll grab a piece of fruit like an apple.. but I prefer an orange since it takes time to peel so you can think about what you're eating and realize that you only need that one orange... sounds weird, but it helps me.

Dinner I usually just wing it. I always try to keep my food lean. I have this concoction I sometimes eat that's really quick to make; I go to my local grocery store and buy 1 can of cut chicken breast, 2 cans of french cut green beans, and 1 small box of broccoli and cheese. You microwave the broccoli, cook the green beans on the stove, then mix everything together in a big bowl. It's a HUGE meal, but it's actually quite low in calories (like 400-500). It tastes good to me, but most people look at it and think it looks like green sludge. I sometimes squirt mustard on it too; it gives it a nice tangy flavor, but I make sure to eat dinner fairly early no matter what I choose.

Sometimes though I just want to splurge, and I'll go to an all-you-can-eat chinese buffet :) When I go, though, I avoid all the rice and noodles and get only the broccoli-chicken, the pepper steak, the roasted chicken, and salmon (if they have it-- some places do others don't.) That way the worst part of the meal is just the MSG (granted, that is pretty bad for you-- so I wouldn't do it all the time.)

CaniborrowafeeIing1 karma

Hey Jason, my question is did you get to become a diabetic because of the weight or what? Glad to hear you followed your dream :)

AuthorJasonLee2 karma

It's a combination of genes and weight. Diabetes just started in my family gene pool the last generation or two, so I'm getting it from my father who is also a diabetic.

However, to get diagnosed as early as I was diagnosed is because of my weight and my lifestyle. I've currently beaten back the symptoms (high glucose levels, really high blood pressure, constant fatigue and need to urinate) but those things will probably catch up with me as I get older. Right now my goal is to stay as healthy as I can for as long as I can... so I can write as much as I can!

HStakes71 karma

You mentioned you role played on America Online. I also used to RP in America Online chat rooms and groups but lately it seems the chats don't exist anymore. How do you feel about that? It pisses me off!

AuthorJasonLee2 karma

Oh it's been so long. I remember when really good creative writers, writers that probably will never publish or have a novel, made amazing storylines that really excited the imagination and made you want to make a character and play. I loved it.

Before you could find rooms for Zelda, or Final Fantasy (those were everywhere), or any number of animes that you were currently hooked to.

It's been several years since I went back to check it out, but you're right. Even a few years ago when I popped on to see if I could run into any of my old roleplay buddies... the Arts and Entertainment "made by members" chat section was just dead. (That was where I found all my roleplaying back in the day.)

I was heartbroken more than angry.

Fifthwiel1 karma

Congratulations on your writing success - I'm currently writing a science fiction novel that should be finished around Xmas. Any advice on (self?) publishing, publicising your work and so on?

Thanks in advance.

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

Thank you so much!

My advice on (yes, I did self) publishing is to approach it any way but lightly. Make sure you get your work critiqued, make sure you get it edited, and make sure it's exactly the way you want the world to see it from the perspective of your current state as an author.

As for generating awareness, remember that it takes time. Use social medias to your advantage, go to conventions related to your work when you can (if you're writing a space opera, go to star trek conventions). People do like buying books, but many people like buying into a person. They want to meet you and connect with you, the author, in some way. But remember it's not going to happen overnight. Don't give up, and don't stop writing. Even if you're busy doing interviews or your book explodes and you get 10,000 FB "likes" and twitter followers. Keep writing.

If the task is too much you might get some friends to help you through the social media aspects, but just remember patience and perseverance. If you really love to write and you really want to get your work into the hands of readers, you can't afford to let yourself get disheartened if you don't see immediate results.

Fifthwiel1 karma

Thanks for the expansive reply - would you recommend paying for an editor? Did you release as a short story first or just self publish the entire novel?

Previously I've worked on a screenplay(that's now finished) but I love sci-fi and tbh writing prose feels a bit like a break from the scripwriting so I'm committed to finishing this book now.

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

I finished the entire series before going into the publication process, and after having it edited, published the first novel straight away as a novel.

I would definitely recommend having it edited by someone qualified. Whether or not you pay for that will depend on the resources at your disposal. In a worst-case-scenario (You don't have any friends who are English majors and you can't afford a copyeditor) even someone who's just a grammar enthusiast looking over it is better than nothing.

If absolutely necessary, and you can't find anyone even close to qualified, then you can do a self-edit... but I would recommend putting the work away after you finish it and not touch it for at least a month so that when you read it you can more easily spot nits and continuity problems.

And, of course, if you want someone else to do it but you don't know anyone, I would be happy to help you by editing or talking to my copyeditor friend about picking up your work for a reduced price/payment plan. I'm not sure if she'll do it, but it can't hurt to ask.

I've always wanted to do a screenplay or movie script. I think it's awesome that you do those things! If you can write a screenplay and you love sci fi, and you're committed then I know you'll be able to finish your novel! I look forward to reading it one day!

hellowiththepudding1 karma

Wow, congrats! Good start! What will you do next?

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

I intend to continue with my weight loss goals. Now that I'm 235 lbs, I seem to have hit this horrible plateau that I can't quite break. I may also be slacking off a little, but as far as my health goes, I really want to break the plateau and get down to at least 200 lbs.

In terms of writing; I've already written out all 4 books to my NANO series. The first is published, so once I settle into my PR routine, I intend to chop up book 2, put it through beta reading, and start the publishing process all over again. I hope to have book 2 out before the end of the year, and then book 3 the first quarter of next year, etc.

While I'm doing that, I've also already got an idea to a series' sequel set in the same universe called The Dawn Maiden. I intend to pursue that pretty heavily, but maybe not with quite as much vigor as I pursued NANO because I'd like to explore a couple of other niche genres that I really like.

Paranormal/Sci Fi romance for instance. I'm a sucker for a good romance, and I'd love to write one out the way I see it going.

im_on_juice1 karma

Why did you stop at 235?

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

I haven't! 235 is just where I am right now! Although I would say that I have hit quite the pesky plateau that I'm trying very hard to break. I'm not sure what more I can do, but I don't intend to stop trying. I keep altering up my diet, changing my workout routine, etc.

ltjboy031 karma

How did you stay motivated? I'm finding that after after 3 months of solid gym schedule and diet, I've completely fallen back. Eating more shit again, only going 2 days a week instead of 4-5. It's very discouraging.

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

Even I have my set backs. The important thing to remember is to catch yourself when you start slipping. Don't be too hard on yourself, but don't let yourself go wild either. Remember that you're a human, and that there's a balance.

If you really find yourself eating terribly, find out what you're eating and why. Are you just craving carbs? If so, going without them completely for two weeks (at least according to South Beach and other diets like that) to get rid of your body's addiction might help.

If you're just craving a certain type of food, let yourself have it... just in smaller portions. I remember once I was really craving some steak (nothing particularly wrong with steak other than its high fat content, but chicken is leaner and better for you) so I gave myself a small portion of it and put it in a giant salad. It satisfied my craving for the steak and I got tons of leafy spinach in the process!

As for my motivation... I remember how it felt to be 315 pounds. I also remember how frightened I was that I might die at any moment. When I remember those things, I don't ever want to go back to them. I like being able to run more than a mile without stopping. I like being able to bench press more than I weigh. I like being able to look in the mirror and know that I'm staring at someone who is as healthy as he can be at the time and always working to be healthier.

I suppose myself is my motivation, because I've learned to love my life and myself.

-Time-1 karma


AuthorJasonLee2 karma

I only recently became published; I haven't even received my first royalties check yet. So, no, I'm not supporting myself financially as a writer yet. That, however, is my ultimate goal. Not to be able to have "money" per se, but so that I can make my living writing. So that every hour I'm spending doing my day job, I can instead spend writing which is what I love to do more than anything.

That being said, I work as an Armed Service Technician for an armored truck company called Loomis. It's essentially a fancy title for a security guard slash truck driver whose cargo is money.

I originally sat down in 2012 to write a book, but my creativity kind of spun off from there and it turned into a series. I decided about mid way through that I was going to finish the whole story before I worried about publishing. I did. I finished my series on April 1st of 2014, and have only been officially published for a little over a week.

The process was so fulfilling to me, but it was a lot of work and sacrifice. I wanted to do it right, so I used all of my "play" money from every check from Loomis and dumped it into my book's production. I hired a graphic artist to do the cover art. He's an awesome guy from the UK fresh out of school. He's so talented that I think I got him at a steal for what I paid for the full rights to the work, but I'm not going to question it!

Before copyediting, I submitted my book to a few friends, acquaintances, and colleagues for a beta read. It was there I made my first two "fans" I guess you could say. All their ideas were really wonderful. Some I ended up using, others I just couldn't bring myself to do (which I believe is important when regarding your beta readers. Using their voice as a tip more than hanging on their every word, otherwise the work may not really reflect you if you let it get out of hand). But all in all, I was so happy to see the positive feedback and constructive criticism. I was also happy that I was able to view my baby (my novel) objectively! I was worried I might get hurt from constructive criticism, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn't. It actually excited me!

I had my book professionally edited too. I did a search for professionals online and found out that to get my first book (not even my whole series) edited for 120,000 words would cost me in the neighborhood of 2,500 dollars. I almost had a heart attack (again!)

Thankfully I was approached by a friend of mine who went to high school with me. She actually graduated from college with her Masters in English and took an interest in my project. She has edited at least 2 other novels before mine and several college dissertations. She decided to do my editing for a fraction of the cost (1,000 dollars) and told me I could pay her in installments whenever and however much at a time I wanted. She was a huge lifesaver for me. In fact, I only recently finished paying her off with my last paycheck!

Then there's formatting. I'm terrible with that stuff. But I have a friend who works for a company where that's part of his job, and wouldn't you know it? He took an interest in the project! He decided to do all the formatting (the mobi, the pdf, the bleed dimensions, the pdf page numbering, all the stuff that's kind of "Easy" but time consuming and... stuff I'm terrible at) -- he did all that for me.

But wait, there's more! So once I had it all formatted, edited, and the cover art rights... I published on Amazon myself. I decided to take a crack at doing it without a brand name like Tor behind me, and wouldn't you know? Two other friends that I've known for years who recently graduated from college with their degrees in public relations decided to be my PR team and have helped me through social media and advertising A LOT.

When I really look back on it, my experience is full of a lot of fortune. I'm surrounded by people that have been with me since the beginning and supported me all the way through. I firmly believe that they've been instrumental in making this a success with me.

I'll never be able to thank them enough!

-Time-1 karma


AuthorJasonLee2 karma

Thank you for your question! When you get to the point of needing a beta reader, just let me know! (My FB link is in the proof)

When you get to editing, I can talk to my editor about a reduced price and payment plan, I'm sure she wouldn't mind the work. At the very least it doesn't hurt to ask her, so just keep in touch! I've become a huge advocate of people pursuing their dreams, whatever they may be, so I would certainly love to lend a helping hand when the time comes if it's within my power to do so.

Thanks for adding NANO to your wishlist! I hope you enjoy it!

I look forward to seeing your book one day! Thanks for the congratulations. I still have a long way to go, but I know I'll get there in time!

StoicBanana1 karma

How did you get published? What process did you go through?

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

I self-published on Amazon. I've received a lot of criticism for going the self-published route, but it was a decision I made a while back based on my own research, and I took it very seriously.

I extensively had my work read, critiqued, and edited several times by myself, with a professional editor, and with my formatting helper before I published it.

I'm even currently working with a few auditioning narrators for the audiobook release.

Self publishing and knowing that I gave the self-publishing process my all has been a richly rewarding and fulfilling experience.

StoicBanana1 karma

Thanks for the response. What would you recommend to me if I were to self-publish? Why would you choose self-publishing over getting published the old way?

Also, how do I find a professional editor and formatting helper?

Thank you so much for your responses.

AuthorJasonLee2 karma

My research regarding Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing came from a few sources that I can't cite anymore. (I might be able to find some of them if I dug).

They were essentially various surveys and interviews done from both perspectives. It boils down to some of the same stuff that makes indie music so popular nowadays. The Internet just makes everything too available to not do it yourself.

Back when traditional publishing was prominent, it was very expensive to produce a book let alone distribute it. People looked to publishing houses for their every book need, and something like self publishing was considered little more than vanity publishing.

With Amazon, the advent of ebooks, and social media, it just doesn't make much sense (in my opinion) to not give self-publishing a try before you approach a publishing house unless you REALLY have a thing for a particular house or you feel confident enough to get on with one of the big 5 (Penguin/Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, or S and S).

As a first-time, unknown author, even if you're lucky enough to get on with a publisher, they're going to negotiate your contract on their terms. And they're going to want everything. Ebooks, Paperback, Hardback, Audiobook, and multimedia rights (movies, video games, etc). The royalties they give you do not compare to the royalties you get from self-publishing (in terms of the rates). And to make matters worse, once you sign over the rights they have some amount of creative control over the final product. This means if they feel strongly enough about a part of your book being changed or omitted, they can do so. Essentially they have to get your permission, but if you don't agree they don't publish your book.

So what do you get in exchange for the lower royalty rate, potential loss of creative control, and all your medium rights? Their brand name. That's literally it. It used to be that you had no other option-- in order to reach a wide audience and physically produce the book (pages and killing trees), you just couldn't do it as an individual.

That's not the case anymore. We have so many options when it comes to distribution now (print on demand, ebooks, etc) all of which are phasing out traditional publishing slowly. A recent poll put ebook-exclusive readers at 54% of the reader base. Could it have been skewed/misrepresent? As much as any other survey or poll.

What do you stand to lose by self-publishing? Marketing. The main downside of self publishing is that you are solely responsible for your exposure. You can't use a "Tor" brand name to sell your stuff. You have to reach out to your audience. You have to convince them to read your work, and your work has to be good enough to establish a fan base. Personally, I don't even consider that a downside. I love feeling that I'm in complete control of the whole process-- from creation to publication all the way to sales.

I got lucky and have qualified colleagues and friends who were willing to help me with copyediting and formatting for a reduced price. It's expensive, but it's worth it to have both those things done. As horrible as this sounds, I would google it so you can get an idea on price points. There are many copyeditor sites that will quote you a price when you put in the number of words in your manuscript. There are also professionals who will format your book.

If none of that works out, then I'll tell you what I told someone earlier. Put my contact info down somewhere (follow me on facebook or my authorblog or just stash my email address somewhere: [email protected]) and contact me when the time comes for those things. I can ask my copyeditor friend if she's in the way for more work and find out how much she'll charge. She has her Masters in English and, including my book, has copyedited three books and an uncounted number of college dissertations. She also runs a writing lab at our local college, so she's plenty qualified.

My formatting guy did it for me as a favor-- but I don't mind seeing if he'd do it for small monetary compensation. I know he's supposed to start college soon, so I wouldn't be too hopeful. I can ask, though, that never hurts.

Formatting isn't hard, anyway, it's just very time consuming and requires some research for specifications for whoever you're publishing with.

I hope this helps! Again, keep in contact with me. If I can help you in any way then I would be happy to do so.

StoicBanana1 karma

Thank you so much for your advice and for making yourself so available to help us. You're a real mensch. I already saved your contact info! I'll do my research and let you know :)

Also, I have one very important question. How do I get the copyright for my written work? Like if I self-publish or something, how would I ensure no one "steals" my stories or that I actually own the copyright? Do I have to register it somewhere? (I don't live in the Stats so I want to know how to register for copyright and have it apply to other countries?)

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

International Copyright Laws are different for each country. MOST countries, and I stress the word most, have copyright laws that go into effect the minute you create a work that can be reasonably determined to be a completed work. The United States is one such country. Basically, once I wrote my book I emailed it to myself (this is called a layman's copyright document). If your country follows the same copyright laws, you can do the same thing. Do NOT open the email, though, or that defeats the purpose. Just make sure you keep it saved. As an unopened email with a specific date stamp on it, it serves as copyright proof that will protect you.

For other countries that don't follow those general procedures, you'd have to google them or head down to your local patent office and ask around. I'm afraid I wouldn't be familiar with them.

someonecloserthanyou1 karma

My father is over 500 lbs, he is 60 years old. He has heart issues as well as diabetes. He has been partially paralysed since he was about 20. He walks.with a cane and doesn't do too much. I'm 16 and I worry about him. I make him lunch every day before school (always healthy and low calorie, salads and fruit are usually standard) I know he wants to lose weight, and I want to help. What would you have wanted your pretend 16 year old son to do to help you lose weight? Thanks :/

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

I am so sorry, someonecloser. I can't even imagine what you and your family are going through.

I actually don't need to pretend to have a 16 year old son to answer this. For me, personally, I had my step-brother (who I'm closer to than my real brother). The biggest thing that he did to help me was to do everything with me. He didn't EXACTLY keep me motivated (I had to motivate him on more than one occasion to exercise with me) but just having someone who was with me do all the Insanity workouts at my side, and eat the same things I did really helped me.

Again, that's just my personal experience, but if I was in your Dad's shoes... if you went running/power walking with me, and ate the same healthy things I ate all the time, it would really help me to stay on track.

I hope everything turns out okay for you and your family. My heart and well wishes go out to you. If I can do anything else, don't hesitate to let me know/ask.

br0wnb0y1 karma

If you were to have your life story made for a film who would play you?

Have you ever thought of writing an autobiography?

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

Clearly the only person who can play me is Chris Hemsworth. In his Thor outfit. With Mjollnir, but instead it's a pen.

Seriously though, I'm not sure. I can't really imagine my life story made into a film. So we'll go with Chris Hemsworth for now. I might get back to you on the rest later.

I actually have considered writing an autobiography. Probably a lot more so now than before, but it's something I'm still juggling around in my head. I'm not really sure my life is entertaining to read about/watch in a movie, but I do feel I have enough experiences with trauma (not just my early-onset diabetes) that I could convey a message to others who have had similar experiences and let them know that they're not alone, and that there is hope to be found.

NerdENerd1 karma

"I was 315 lbs., diabetic" does this imply you are no longer diabetic?

AuthorJasonLee4 karma

Not exactly; it would be more accurate to say that I've "beaten" the situation for now. When I was first diagnosed, my specialist told me that while Diabetes is largely genetic, a lot of my having it (especially at my age) was a result of my weight and lifestyle. She said if I dropped my weight I might be able to reverse the diagnosis... at least until I got older.

So perhaps it's better to say I'm not currently experiencing the symptoms (although my blood pressure does still elevate from time to time,) but according to my doctor I still just have bad genes and can expect them to eventually catch up with me as I age. :(

FusionGel1 karma

How do you overcome Writer's Block? Also, do you stay in touch with your writing mentor?

AuthorJasonLee2 karma

When I get hit with writer's block I stop writing and go relax a bit. Sometimes the best cure for it is some exercise, so I might go for a run or go to lift some weights. When I come back, I usually pull up a new word pad and start writing something completely different than the story I'm working on. I'll just start thinking up and writing down all these fantastical medieval places or modern scenes. I basically try to stop overthinking my story by thinking of another one. That usually frees it up.

It's kind of like when you know this word, or the name of a person-- and it's right on the tip of your tongue, right? But you just can't think of it... until you stop trying. Then it comes right to you. This is actually a real phenomenon; I saw a youtube video about it from a guy named Vsauce.

I've always treated my writer's block the same way, and it's worked out for me so far.

AuthorJasonLee2 karma

Update: Sorry I missed the second part of that question. I don't visit my mentor as much as I used to, but I still go to her for advice and to critique my work. She's one of the two women I dedicated my first book to, after all. The other was my grandmother :)

In fact, once my initial paperback copies come in (the ones I plan to sign and give to people who were instrumental in making it all happen) I intend to march right up to the college and hand her one!

shakeygoat0 karma

Do you speak Latin?

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

I wish I did. And Japanese. And French...

Latin may be a dead language, but it's quite beautiful. Alas, I do not :(

yyc_guy-1 karma

There is a whole movement dedicated to fat acceptance, claiming that it is all genetic and not the result of personal choices. These people say that losing weight and keeping it off it impossible. What do you think of this movement?

AuthorJasonLee7 karma

I believe body image acceptance is good. I think that people ridiculed for how they look isn't the same (or acceptable) like making sure people are aware of the health ramifications of lifestyle choices. If you're going to the doctor and your blood chemistry is good, then I think practicing that kind of "fat acceptance" is okay.

tl;dr - it's about the health, not about the way you look

Hellscreamgold2-5 karma

You're aware that anyone can become a published author nowadays, right? I mean, I could poop on a piece of paper, scan it in, and put it up on Amazon as a Kindle book, and be considered "published"

AuthorJasonLee1 karma

I am quite aware, good person. If you were to poop on said piece of paper, scan it in, and put it on amazon as a kindle... Would that mean you are not, in fact, published?

Does that change the definition of "published"? Or are you simply saying that, intrinsically, being "published" doesn't matter much to you? If so, should everyone else adhere to your intrinsic value of the term?

Being published to me means more than poop on paper because I know what I put into it. The worth of something is wrapped up in far more than its definition. I can certainly understand your skepticism, though.

ibroughtyouchange1 karma

You know man, I think for all of us who understand how much work goes into a serious self-published novel, we know how much of an accomplishment something like that is.

Not only that, a lot of people do it for the love alone and never make much money at all. So not only is it a fantastic achievement, it's a testament to the passion and dedication of all serious authors.

Keep going buddy! You'll get there :)



AuthorJasonLee1 karma

Thank you so much, ibyc! I agree; the field of self-anything these days is a very misunderstood market.

I am also one who does it for the love. While it is my ultimate goal and dream to be able to live doing nothing but writing, even if I must maintain a day job for the rest of my life, I'll keep writing series and books and keep spending all my free time and money in their production.

I appreciate your well wishes more than you know! Thank you again, ibyc!