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Most writers start on the MOON, way out there in space. Then, with experience, they gradually work their way back down to earth. I did the same thing. But, the best way is to start where you are, on the seat of your pants and work your way up gradually to the stratosphere.

Step One is to do your homework. Concentrate on your product. Research your craft. Know as much about the writing/publishing business as you can. Read everything in sight.

Step Two is to develop a methodological process which forces you to face the necessary elements of success in this business. Here’s the process I force myself to go through.

1.What are my real objectives? (short term, long term)

2.What programs will help me reach these objectives?

3.Who will I need to help me? (editors, coaches, designers, etc)

4.What tools and space will I need? (computer, software, sources)

5.How will I move the above forward? (motivate, launch, promote)

6.How will I organize all of the above?

7.What will all of the above cost?

8.How do the above look on a calendar?

9.What indices will I use to evaluate all of the above?

10. Is my book worth doing all this work?

For ten years I did nothing but write. I wrote stories, essays, poems, etc. I did not submit, consequently I received no rejection slips. Some say that this was a real mistake, however my ego is so fragile, I might never have continued if I had had to face a mountain of rejection at the beginning. I decided to start right where I was.

I went to the editor/owner of my local paper and offered to write a weekly column of stories, essays, and poems. No cost to him. He agreed to try it. I took 13 of my best stories and essays and submitted them to him in WORD, as an attachment to an email. This gave him 13 articles which he could use without the hassle of receiving them weekly. Before those 13 articles were published, I sent him 13 more. He always had an accessible reservoir of articles. Each of the articles contained my picture and byline. Each had a tagline at the end giving my URL. I believe a good web site is a necessity. Mine is www.ArmstrongBooks.com.

After nearly a year, I asked to see the editor. I asked him what he would think about my putting some of these articles into a book and offering them to his readership. He said that he thought it would be fine. I then asked him to write the foreword to the chapbook, and immediately I handed him a foreword that I had already written for him. (I knew that he would never take the time to write one for me.) He looked at it and changed one word and said, “Go for it.”

I assembled 20 of my best articles and sent them to a printer. I did my own cover and used black and white to keep the costs down. The book was entitled BEST STORIES. It has 86 pages. I had 250 copies printed and my per copy cost was $2.04 including shipping.

When I get another 20 articles published I think I will do this again.

Neil Armstrong was the first man on the MOON. Kenneth Shelby Armstrong will be another Armstrong on the moon. But, I started in my study on Lake Raymond Gary in the small town of Fort Towson, Oklahoma, with my seat on a chair, and my eyes on the MOON.

Kenneth  Shelby Armstrong M.A, Th.D., Ed.D.