Author Highlight- Meet Bob Okowitz

Author of Dug IN: An Irish Family Searches For Justice

Joyana is excited to begin her new Author Highlight series to build a true Book Community between Authors and Readers.Today’s Author Highlight features Bob Okowitz, an Irish Historical Fiction Writer.

Author Highlight-Meet Bob Okowitz

Author Highlight-Meet Bob Okowitz:

Bob majored in English and History and worked in Social Work and Mental Health before finally returning to his roots and writing fiction. His novel was inspired by a trip to Ireland for a family reunion for his mother’s side of the family, the Duggans and McGraths. (He is 75% Irish.)

His book, Dug In, begins during the 1916 Irish Rebellion.

Ninety miles from Dublin, Joe Duggin and two friends are arrested to prevent them from getting involved in the fight for Independence. After being released when the rebellion is over, Joe and his wife, Mary, decide to move to New York to get away from the conflict and raise their children in peace. However, they find their share of persecution and injustice in America as well. What follows is their family’s struggle to find their place in what is supposed to be the Land of the Free.

Bob’s Writing Process:

The Moment He Knew He Wanted To Be an Author: After my family’s trip to Ireland.

Pen/Paper or Computer: Computer… I NEED SPELL CHECK!!!

His Favorite Place to Write: MY desk.

His Signature Writing Drink: Water

Bob’s Relationship with Books:

His Favorite Place to Read: Easy Chair in Living room.

Book Character He’d Love to Ride in an Elevator With: Robert Jordan from For Whom the Bell Tolls

Book Character He Thinks He’d be Best Friends With:Huckberry Finn

The Last Book He Read: Luis Rodriquez’s The Concrete River.

Bob’s Other Inspirations and Theories on Writing:

Favorite Period in History: 1776

Favorite Place to Travel: Ireland

“Writing is an amazing experience. Creating something. new, is wonderful.”

Thanks so much for joining us for this Author Highlight today! For more information about Bob Okowitz and his novel Dug IN: An Irish Family Searches for Justice, you can check out his Author Page on Amazon or find him at Twitter @DugIn.


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Is Self Publishing Worth It?

Is Self Publishing Worth It?

Why Self Publishing was Worth It for Me-

In December of 2020, I officially submitted my completed manuscript to an editor. One MFA, ten years, two kids and I finally turned my manuscript baby into my first published novel! I knew the next six months would be rough, going through rounds of edits, formatting, publishing, marketing, learning the ropes of everything myself as I went. All while still balancing real life with a day job and family and in the midst of a pandemic. But I knew it was going to happen, I was getting published! This knowledge and certainty is why self publishing is worth it. I have autonomy.

Understanding you HAVE a Choice-

As I begin my author blog, I’ve been thinking about what I want that to look like. One of the things I want is for this to be a place where I’m transparent about the indie author journey and what goes on behind the scenes. The reason for that is I’m publishing this way as a conscious choice and I want others to understand that choice. Both as readers and also as other writers contemplating self publishing for themselves. I’m aware there is still a stigma attached to self publishing. But, I’m hoping by lifting this curtain, I can help alleviate some of those negative associations and help others understand why self publishing is worth it.

Like most other English majors and MFA grads, I always assumed traditional publishing was the only route worthy of considering. Self published authors were sell outs who couldn’t hack it with the publishing industry, right? So, I put in my dues. I joined the Writer’s Guilds and attended conferences. I listened to the agent/editor panels and furiously took notes about what they were looking for, what it would take to get past the gatekeepers. I even paid to have my manuscript reviewed by agents and editors. But after awhile, I started to question why.

I knew plenty of writers. Extremely talented writers, sitting on amazing manuscripts, waiting for their chance to come. They sent out endless pitch letters just praying to be accepted. I even knew writers who HAD been picked up by agents only to have the process take years till publication. And then they were still responsible for all the marketing themselves and only claiming about 30% of each sale. I heard repeated over and over that writers don’t go in it for the money, it’s for the love of the art, right? But in this digital age where anyone with a voice and an internet connection can build a following should that really still be the case?

Making the Choice to Self Publish-

Yes, there are still self published authors who give credence to the hack stigmas. But there are also extremely talented, big name authors out there who either began their careers by self publishing or who are now leaving their traditional publishing houses to voluntarily self publish moving forward. Some examples include Andy Weir, Margaret Atwood, Kwame Alexander and even Stephen King. Why? Because it makes more financial sense! And gives an author complete independence and authority over their work.

As a society we applaud entrepreneurs and small business owners. So, I think it’s time that we encourage and support authorpreneurs as well. I look forward to sharing this journey with you and I hope I encourage others to share their own work as well!