The Protectors® Podcast

#458 | Eric Bishop | Writing, Parenting, and Publishing: An Intimate Chat

October 08, 2023 Dr. Jason Piccolo Episode 458
The Protectors® Podcast
#458 | Eric Bishop | Writing, Parenting, and Publishing: An Intimate Chat
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Are you ready to take a thrilling journey into the literary world of Eric Bishop? On our latest episode, this talented author takes center stage, sharing the secrets behind his new book, Ransom Daughter. His unconventional guerrilla marketing strategies, his unique fatherly lens in writing, and his profound thoughts on dialogue creation make for an episode you wouldn't want to miss.

Eric doesn't hold back as he shares his expedition through the self-publishing process – a daunting yet rewarding venture, ranging from setting up a legal entity to outsourcing cover design, logos, and editing tasks. But the jewel in the crown of our conversation? Eric's compelling narrative about his struggle to balance writing with his full-time job and family responsibilities. 

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Make sure to check out Jason on IG @drjasonpiccolo


Speaker 1:

As we do every time. We just hit record today with Eric Bishop Eric's a good friend. Geez, eric, you've been on the show a million times, not necessarily as the primary guest, but you've co-hosted. I'm going to have it back on as co-host too, and my dare has been kind of like stealing the spot when I've had all the authors on, but definitely want to have you back on. We got to get our good buddy John on here. John Gornart, how do you pronounce his last name?

Speaker 2:

Glenn Neary. Yeah, I think that's how I say it.

Speaker 1:

He hasn't hit me yet. John Silver Spear. We're going to have John Silver Spear on here. But yeah, man, I'm glad to have you on here talking about your new book, the Nevella Ransom Daughter, because, as I am finally venturing into the fiction world, I really want to get your input because you've done a lot. You're an indie author, small publishing house in the beginning, but it's a different experience going from nonfiction to fiction and I really want to pick your brain because your guerrilla marketing is top notch, man, I love it.

Speaker 2:

Glenn Neary. I think it's paid off. The body man sold pretty well. Especially, part of my research process was to look into what does a self-published book sell versus what does a traditionally book sell. The average those numbers are extremely, pathetically low. So I was extremely humbled and grateful when I saw what my sales were doing. I was glad I exceeded all those numbers. But it's crazy. It's so different from my normal nine to five job and when I started this journey in 2014 and wrote my first book, I thought you know, piece of cake. I write a book, someone buys it, you know, or an agent publisher gets it. They give me a bunch of money. I quit my day job. I write from Fiji. No, no, it doesn't work that way, not for 99.9% of us.

Speaker 1:

Glenn Neary, when you're looking at you know you mentioned writing from Fiji, but you know we follow the same type of people on social media doing the treks around and do the research for their books. Now, ransom door is a little bit different than the body man. I mean a lot different, mark McClellan. Yeah, glenn Neary, so let's talk about you know, and there's a lot of dialogue. That's one thing I really want to key in our conversation in a little while. But when you came up with the idea of a novella, what was in it back in your mind?

Speaker 2:

Mark McClellan. So I'll take a step back and say that it was actually ransom daughter was actually written before the body man. So the 22nd version of what happened was I wrote my first book in 2014 called Vengeance. I then wrote a follow-up, which was actually a book that took place prior to that. It was the backstory on how Troy Evans became Troy Evans, because Troy was my character in Vengeance, the Omega group was in Vengeance, and then I ended up writing a third book in that series called Vigilance the vigilante.

Speaker 2:

And in the meantime, while I was trying to sell those first couple of books get an agent, get a publisher I had downtime because you hear months from putting out query letters before you even get responses. So I started dialing with writing some short stories in novellas and ransom daughters, one of those ones I had written back. I don't even know what year I had that asked recently and I'm like I never looked at the file name. I couldn't tell you when I wrote the early draft of this, but it was years ago. So fast forward to now and the body man is out. I had a parting ways with my publisher and I got the rights back for Breach of Trust end of last year, early this year.

Speaker 2:

But I decided to kind of put Breach of Trust aside for a little while and just kind of figure out what I wanted to do going forward In the meantime. I didn't want to lose my audience. So I started going back through some of the things I had written and probably written poorly back in the day because I wasn't as strong of a writer, I didn't know what I was doing as well, and Ransom Daughter was one that kind of popped out at me because it was a good size for a novella. The characters were really strong, the story was strong, it just needed some work and I knew I could fix it within a few months versus doing a rewrite and spending six months writing a new book or whatever. So that's what gravitated me to grab Ransom Daughter and say, well, if I'm going to venture out of my own start, my own publishing imprint, maybe put a novella out there and throw the kitchen sink at it and see if I can make this thing, see if I can make it work. And I think so far it's been a success.

Speaker 1:

When you talk about putting a book together too, it's even though you may have had the concept, you may have written a lot of it before, but having that fresh perspective in it, it's training, it's training. You're not like when you write and you don't write for a long time, it's not atrophy, it's kind of like, hey, you know what? I better get my butt out there and start writing, because it's your passion too. Something that really makes a success in this business is not passionate about it. You can't be, or you're just going to put out a generic product.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely, yes, absolutely. And I like the novella format because it's much shorter. So for attention span, I can give someone this book or they can pick up a copy. E-book paperback hardcover will be out October 10th depending on when people are watching this show, and you can read it in like an hour and a half, two hours. So it's a real fast read.

Speaker 2:

So it's a self-contained story, but it has to pop, it has to jump, because I don't have extra pages available to me. I've got to get it. I've got to hook the reader in and give them a complete story in a very short period of time, which to me was a fun challenge, even just going back earlier this year and kind of fixing what I had done years ago. I read through it this weekend and I kind of tried to read through it for an enjoyment factor instead of a let's fix this factor or find any last second problems. It's already been fixed, it's already been professionally edited, but is there something there? I don't want to be there. And the thing that struck me, which always makes you happy as a writer, is I really liked the story.

Speaker 1:

I'm like man.

Speaker 2:

this was really. It came together really cool, so I'm proud of it. I'm proud to put it out there and I hope I get the. So far, the reception that I've gotten from beta readers and other authors has been really fantastic and I'm hoping that the average reader out there that gets a copy shares in that sentiment. I love it man, one girl.

Speaker 1:

A father will do anything to protect his daughter One girl. They warned him, go to the local authorities and your daughter dies. Report the abduction to anyone in the government and we'll kill her. One ransom Faced with his worst nightmare, a wealthy father must decide how to respond. All the ransom demands and pay the abductors are uses connections to get his daughter back another way. I love it, man. One solution in this desperation, father turns to a group that operates outside the purview of the U S government the Omega group. I love it, man. When Troy Evans and his elite team discover their latest mission is far more complex than rescuing an abducted girl, it's clear the consequences of the fair will have much broader implications. There's always something behind it. It's not just ransom. We know it, brother, we know it, I know you. It's going to be something beyond just ransom. It's not just going to be clear cut hey, pay, or she dies, or anything. So where did this?

Speaker 2:

There's a little more going on.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, what's going on with this? How did you do your research for this? Where is this based? Come on, I want the details.

Speaker 2:

So when I wrote this, I was a father. I had a daughter, and not to say that if you have a son it's different. You view your children the same light. Of course, as a dad, I think you might be more protective of your daughter than your son in a way, just because I think from a fatherly standpoint, you think of your son as someone that's also going to be a protector. But you look at a female and you think, well, I need to protect her, especially for a daughter.

Speaker 2:

What's the worst thing you could think of as a dad? Someone takes one of your kids. Throw the caveat on that of not only do they take his daughter, but they ask for money. Now, he's got the money to pay the ransom. That's not the question. But what if it's not so straightforward? That's Glenn's concern when he's originally told this pay the money. Of course he's going to pay the money. No question is mine is going to pay the money. But what if they don't give her back? What if they're really asking for something else and the money is a front? He doesn't know that. But he's also told you can't go to the government. He's well connected in the government through his oil industry connections. He's well connected.

Speaker 2:

In Houston there's law enforcement. The abductors know this and they say you go to anybody, we're monitoring your phone, your email, everything. You pick up the phone and warn someone, you'll see the consequences of that. So he has to find a way to either pay the ransom and say well, hopefully they live up to their end of the bargain, or is there another way. And for him, he happens to know someone that he actually was in the military with and he reaches out to this person very discreetly and says I've got this issue, can you help? And the person says you bet I will help and I've got the team to do it for you. And then it all kind of goes from there.

Speaker 2:

So it's, it was fun. It was the cool thing about writing anything is you get to live a life that's not your normal life. You get to put yourself in characters, situations, and you got to get to figure out what it is you believe at your core, what do you stand for. And sometimes you write characters, obviously, that are completely opposite of what you are. And that's fun Because you can kind of think in someone else's head of what would a really bad person or really confused person, what would they do in this situation? So I think writing is the greatest therapy there is. Don't need to go pay a therapist $100 or $200 an hour. Just write a book, and even if you're the only one that ever reads it, you can probably get your demons out on a WordPad or on a laptop computer.

Speaker 1:

So the dialogue. You know when you're talking about the antagonists and a protagonist now, but you're talking about teams and people and keeping it all clear. Yeah, what's your, what's your process for putting dialogue on paper?

Speaker 2:

I think in those terms, my brain naturally, like if I know I'm coming out to talk with you, my brain will all of a sudden start saying, well, jason's probably going to say this and you might say that, and what questions is going to have. And I think of it in a dialogue format. So when I'm writing, the biggest problem I have is not having all dialogue. I almost want to have everything I say be a dialogue and that doesn't work for fiction and I walk that fine line of how much dialogue is too much, and there's a lot of opinions on that. With anything, it's all highly subjective. Some agents and some publishers will say, man, minimal dialogue. We want the narrative to not be in the form of a dialogue. Other people want to have more.

Speaker 2:

I gravitate towards it because to me, I think I can express the characteristics of each protagonist or antagonist easier if it's their words, because I think your words are more powerful than anything else and I love just having a character be able to talk and then you have to try to obviously differentiate. Not every character can use the same terminology or have the same phrases. So the dialogue's fun. I'm concerned when I write them, especially this, because it has a lot more military stuff in it because I didn't serve. I've been around a lot of military One of my closest friends, who you know the flags I have around me are all from him during his deployments. But I'm always concerned am I getting the military jargon right? Is it too over the top? Is it not enough? The first couple books I wrote I tried to have the language be very, no cursing. Put it that way.

Speaker 2:

And because I wanted my kids to read it, those first drafts, and I'm like, man, when these guys, you know, do this, they're not saying, well, gosh, gee, you will agree. So then, I didn't want to walk the fine line of going well, I also don't want the F word to be the. You know, I joked about it, but in my acknowledgments I actually mentioned in there that all the F bombs were dedicated to our mutual friend JT Patton, and I also saved a few bombs for Josh should, because you know, those guys are known to use the F word once or twice in their narratives. So, yeah, it's fun. It's fun doing dialogue, it's fun telling stories. I so what I meant to do. The dilemma for years has been of can I actually do it full time? And that's what I'm working towards. And you know, I think the only way that doesn't happen is if I give up.

Speaker 1:

So I'm not going to do with your support network too. You've. You're really great in engagement and being genuine. I really appreciate that about you. When you're reaching out to people, you're not, hey, do this for me, or you're going to get this. No, it's, it's cool man. It's like it's very natural and organic. And that's one thing I want to talk to is about this indie publishing. This is almost like gorilla publishing, where you have incredible stories and you want to get them out there and they may just be as top classes as everybody else on the on the best list, but it's like going from you know, typing, to developing the story and trying to be original. What's your, what's your process from? Let's say, you're going to go for your, your writing, your, then it'll breach your trust. What's your process?

Speaker 2:

Well, the ones that are been in the pipeline for the next year are all in some form done. They might not be completed, they're not professionally edited, so my process will probably change in 2025 or 2024 versus now. Part of part of why the process conversation is difficult is because I didn't just started this at legal entity and started everything this year, so it was very foreign to me. I knew enough to feel like I could start going down the self publishing route, but there was a lot of things I didn't know and and speaking of the contacts and stuff, that's where having a network of fellow authors that are just incredible helpful people makes it an easier process. Because, you know, the first thing I did was I've had multiple calls now with Joe Goldberg Joe, what do I do". And Joe's not like well, I'll tell you, but first you're going to have to do this for me. No, what you find in the writing community is the people that have walked down that path before you are more than willing to share the steps and what they had to do to get to that spot. And, whether it's Joe Goldberg, whether it's Aima Adair, david Darling a list of other authors that have been more than open and helpful with me on, hey, this is what you need to do or this is what you need to be careful about. So this year it's just been a lot of learning the steps. And the other thing I'll say, too, is what I wanted to do with this process is I didn't want to be someone that's going to publish and then do everything on their own. That's an extremely difficult thing to do. Well, I know people can do it, but that's the exception to the rule. I think, on average, if you actually want to put out a good product and you want it to have any level of success, you have to stay in your lane and you have to bring people in to help on certain parts. So from the get go I said, well, what can I do? I can do the business side of it because I'm a finance guy. I do business and I've been in the budgets and all this stuff for years. Finance is easy stuff, the numbers, all that stuff, all the set up legal entities not hard. You go to Google and you can get most of that set up pretty easily through various sources. But so what can't I do? Didn't feel comfortable doing what this is. Todd Wilkins did this. My cover design, one that needs a cover. Reach out to Todd Wilkins. I will give you his contact information and he will make you a kick ass cover virtually guaranteed he should do it. So I had Todd do my cover.

Speaker 2:

Talk to David Darling hey, david, and other people as well, but David gave me an editor. So I ended up using an editor that David knew, john Guarnieri. I talk to John all the time and we've got other stuff we're working on together. I said, john, you got a guy that can do logos. Yeah, I do. He gave me Nando's information, who's down in South America. I got Nando hired on to do my logos and stuff. So I outsource those things that weren't in my lane, that I didn't need to be involved with anyways. Just pay for essentially and give the final okay of yeah, you've got my vision in your head and focus on what I'm good at I'm good at writing stories. I think I'm good at marketing at least to some degree, although I need help with that as well and just focus on those things I can do. Outsource the things I can't do.

Speaker 1:

You do the marketing great, brother. I love it and you know I've noticed you are staying in your lane and if you need help with anything you're reaching out to the right people. That's like me, like trying to put this book together. I'm so used to nonfiction. Nonfiction's easy. You can do the research, you can find what you need. Well, when you're trying to look at all the different aspects of going into a good, solid story because the end of the day, it's entertainment, it's true entertainment, so you want it to be you have people like me who are like. You know, whenever I talk about guns and stuff, if someone puts the wrong thing in our back, ugh, but then trying to get it all on there and being entertained and to sell a product. It's a different world, man, and just yeah, it is being like a pet thing. You really need to dedicate yourself to it.

Speaker 2:

Well, it becomes for me at least, it becomes your side, something you're passionate about. I think it has to be. I don't know how you're successful, I don't how you even not even success. How do you stick with writing if you hate doing it? That would be, that would be the definition of insanity. I think so.

Speaker 2:

If you, like me and like other, like plenty of other authors out there, you have a full-time job, then you just have to prioritize the writing. So for me, I had years ago, even when I did the first novel, I was actually married, had two little kids when I wrote my first novel it's like, well, I wasn't gonna let interfere with my family. So when could I write? Well, I could write when everybody wants to bed, so like 9, 30, 10 o'clock up till Whenever I got done, that's when I would write. And my situation changed several years ago. But that also then changed my writing process because then I didn't have my kids half the time, still had a full-time job. So when I wasn't working, didn't have my kids, that would be my writing time. But that time I had custody and have my kids. Even to this day, that's my time with my kids. That's that's. That's the holy of holies, that's precious. Writing is important to me. It means nothing compared to my kids. So I'll spend the time with the kids now when they go to bed while I work on stuff, sure, absolutely they're gonna sleep. But I've said this to other people half the time I'm going in that other room in the house here and I'm cleaning dishes, I'm folding laundry because my son's in karate so I have to watch his D Every time he's here. Dad, I need that geek clean in the morning. I start a load of laundry at 11 o'clock at night and I got to stay up until it's dry or get it in the dryer before I go To sleep. And you know you just life, you have to live life, and so you prioritize the writing.

Speaker 2:

Would I like to be in a position where Brad Taylor or Brad Thor or Jack Carr, or you know, writing is, for most of them, their full-time gig, absolutely. And I would love to be in a position where I where I know at least Brad Taylor does hey, the next book I want to be. You know he just returned from India, him in Elaine. We're in India. I Bet you his next book is gonna be set in India because he just went on a research trip. That, to me, is making it, when you can actually figure a book out. Go travel the world, go to different locations, get all the information you need and then be able to come home and write that book. That tells me I really achieved something.

Speaker 2:

I worked hard at getting to that spot, and a real quick. I'll say this I have a I started with. Troy is my protagonist in the first three books and several of stuff which people might Get to see now that I'm doing this on my own, but before the body man. Well, one of the ideas I had for Troy Was a story that took place on an island In the middle of nowhere. It's a real place and I started thinking of the idea and it was a really cool idea.

Speaker 2:

And then I stopped myself and I said you know what?

Speaker 2:

I need a reason to do this long term. Well, I'm gonna put this idea aside and one day I'm gonna go to that island and I might not write the whole book, but I'm going to start the book on that island and do my research and I will not write a word of that story until I am at that island and that's my motivation to bust my freaking rear end and get to that spot into this day. I can't get there. So I got a lot of work still so I can sit on that island, write that story and then I will feel like, yes, that's why I work hard to get to the spot, to achieve this level.

Speaker 2:

It takes for anyone out there. It takes a lot of work. You're gonna have to give something up to get something in life and for me most of it was easy because it was get rid of television and I fall mice, find myself falling back now, even where I'll get hooked on a series. But then I normally, as I start an episode, be like dude, shouldn't you be writing? Should you really be sitting there at 11 o'clock at night? Can't you get one more chapter written, or do you really need to watch?

Speaker 1:

You know 1923. You know what I think you you've succeeded. I think you're gonna hit that, that macro level. You're at the mid-range now. The thing is, your book is being read. Your books are being books plural yes are being read. You have so many, you have fans. Now you have people that know who you are. It's a really cool experience. I'm excited for you with this next one. I'm excited for the novella, because novellas are, I think they're perfect man, yeah, I think short, you know short stories captivate. It's almost like you know, instead of reading the whole series, you're getting a one-stop shop, you're getting a movie. So, yeah, that's really cool, brother.

Speaker 2:

Speaking of movies, of Hollywood, you know I got a couple things. A couple things over on this side. You know, call me I might. I'm my own agent when it comes to that stuff. Give me a dollar.

Speaker 1:

I love it, brother. Everybody pick up ransom. Daughter, we're looking forward to breach your trust, but, man, it's. It's a great journey. I'm glad I'm I'm kind of on the sidelines of it here. I love it, man.

Speaker 2:

No, I'm glad you're there. And the other thing, the other question that I have gotten I'm trying to put out there for people is they because ransom daughter is in a different world from the body man? The question I've gotten is well, where you're going is ransom daughter or one-off? No, it's not so. The master plan would be that ransom daughter is out on October 10th in ebook, paperback and hardcover and then probably either late spring, early summer, breach of trust will come out, so we'll be back in the body man world and then end of fall, winter next year, 2024 is where it's not a sequel to this. It's about 80% done, but it's the next story for Troy and the Omega group. I have a really cool mission. They go on that everybody will want them to succeed at and it's a fun story. And then I'm just I don't know that I'll bounce back and forth and do body man's book Anna Troy Evans rent. We'll make a group story every year To do that.

Speaker 2:

I need people to really catch this on, like you know, like a wildfire so I can quit my day job which my boss actually encourages me one day to sell enough books that I don't have to work for them, which is pretty amazing boss to have. But it'd have to take that to be able to maintain that level of to me. I couldn't do it with a full time job, but again, it keeps me hungry, it keeps me, just keeps me excited. I'm blessed. To have one person by your book is seriously an honor. You obviously would love to have thousands and tens of thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands one day, but just to have people want to, you know, clamor for and read your book. That's why I started doing this and, yeah, I think, I think the the rise is starting and it's a slow rise for most people and, and that's okay you appreciate it too when you get something very quickly or you get something and doesn't cost you very much. I think your appreciation level is a lot different versus you're like, and I had to struggle and you know just real quick for like the body man.

Speaker 2:

That was my fourth completed novel. I wrote a lot before 2014, but 2014 is when I wrote my first novel. Well, I had to write three before anyone took interest and wanted to buy one, which is the body man, when a publisher was interested in it. So you know it took me seven, eight years of toiling, of struggling, of hustling, and it's it's just getting started in many ways. But for people that want to get involved in it, you know that's what it takes and if you want to succeed you have to put in the work.

Speaker 1:

Work, Absolutely, brother. Work. It's not believe me, it's fun, but it's also work.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's fun work. It's fun Just the fun stuff that comes with it. You know the people I get to meet yourself. So many amazing people that I would have never met if I just did a nine to five job. Maybe it'd be cool to write a story one day, but that sounds like a lot of work, or I? Just I don't have that in me. Well, guess what You're missing out because and that's one thing I try to encourage people hey, if you have an interest to write a story, write it. Start. Well, I don't know how to start it. There's a million resources online you can do. That will give you a blueprint of how to start.

Speaker 2:

The bottom line is start writing something and then, if you start writing something, finish it. Whether it's a novella, that's, you know, 150 pages, or it's a full length novel, that's four 450 pages. Finish your first draft, because if you finish that first draft, you might actually have something there worth pursuing. But if you never finish what you started, guess what? You're left with Nothing. Yeah, so have something, have something, because, worst case scenario, I have now another book in my hand that I will first two hard copies I get in October. That don't say not for resale, first ones that are the final version. Those will go to my kids and this book that's actually one's dedicated to kids.

Speaker 2:

My first book was dedicated to my mom the body man this one's that and they were like what, what am I? But that's mom. Mom gets the first one and this one's for them and they'll get a copy of this and with the same lesson I've told them with the body man, you put your mind to something, you can accomplish it. You have to work for it. But and this is something that will outlast my nine to five job or a lot of other things I do with my free time is I have something tangible that my kids and friends, family and perfect strangers can have. That's. It's a little piece of me. It's not me, but there's a piece of me in all these stories. There's stuff in there that's part of who I am as a person, which is humbling to know. That's out there, but it's also a blessing that's out there as well. I love it, brother. Well, eric, you're always welcome. Back on the show.

Speaker 1:

You're also always welcome to co-host brother Eric, make sure you pick up ransom to order and be prepared for breach of trust and if you haven't picked up the body man, pick it up. Start off with the start, the journey, absolutely.

Author Discusses Novella Ransom Daughter
Writing, Research, and Dialogue in Fiction
Navigating the Self-Publishing Process and Outsourcing
Encouragement in Writing a Story