Wayne Stinnett, Author

Wayne Stinnett, Author

Thursday, May 14, 2015

One Year Anniversary: I Quit My Job

From the time I was 15 years old, I had a job. Almost all of them were working for someone else. My wife has had a job working for someone else since about the same age. Most of the work I've done has been in construction or transportation, with a few short lived occupations scattered between those as a fisherman, divemaster, and deckhand. From 2002 until one year ago today, I was a long haul trucker, hauling mostly over-sized loads all over the country.

All that changed when I started telling stories and found a way to get them published. One year ago, I'd just returned to the yard in Greenville, SC, where my terminal was located fifteen miles from my home. It was a Wednesday morning, drizzling rain. I'd requested transfer to the local division of the company I worked, two weeks prior. But was sent out on two long hauls during that time and dispatch said I'd have a run to Michigan the next day. I put my foot down.

"No, I'm a local only driver from now on," I told the dispatcher. "No more than 300 miles from home." The local drivers worked harder and made less, but they're home more nights than not.

When I shut the truck down that day a year ago, I was told that I'd be moving out of the new truck I'd just received two months prior, and into one of the older (read that crappier) trucks, since I'd be driving only local runs. Long story short, the GM didn't like me and was flexing his muscle. Rather than move all my gear from one truck to another and have to do it all again in a month when I was planning to quit, I told the guy to tell the GM I'd have my stuff out of the truck in an hour. This pleased the GM, until word got up to the office that I was giving away nearly $2000 worth of personal gear. After loading what I wanted to keep in my pickup, I waved goodbye with a big grin on my face and never looked back.

Here's what happened to precipitate that move. I'd only published my first book just over eight months earlier in October, 2013. I published a second one in December and a third in April. I was two weeks from two big milestones. I knew that my fourth book, a prequel to the first three would be published in just two weeks and my first royalty check that would be greater than my trucking income would be paid the same day. I also knew what June's income would be and sales already in May looked like it would make my  July income even more. The largest of my royalties are paid two months after the month of sales.

I put everything in God's hands and let Him decide. It was a leap of pure faith. I knew I could tell a good story and I knew there were people who would want to read them. Only a month before taking this leap, I'd discovered a discussion forum for Indie authors and had soaked up a ton of information, especially about marketing and networking. If you're a writer, you need to visit the Writers' Cafe on KBoards.com

When I got home and told my wife I'd just quit the job that once provided 75% of our income, she wasn't surprised. "You can do this," she told me. I have a great wife.

I worked harder and got that fourth book published on schedule. It took off from the start and June was my first five digit income month. So, I started writing a fifth book and used the hours I once spent driving a 40 ton rig to market my books and connect with more people.

That summer, when the new prequel had enough reviews to submit it for advertising, I earned over $23,000 in the month of August, led by the sales of the new prequel to the series. 

My fifth book was published on the one year anniversary of the first book, on 10/8/14. It sold over 2500 copies that month and when the August royalties were paid at the end of October, I went out and bought a new(er) pickup. I chewed the used car salesman down to within my budget and paid cash for the truck. I even sold him a book. I've had the upper hand in every negotiation since that day a year ago.

My sixth book did almost as well, when it was published this past Valentine's Day, selling over 2000 in thirty days and debuting in the Amazon charts in the top 1000. It's never ranked worse than #5000.

Today, one year after quitting my day job and taking that huge leap of faith, my income is three times what it was as a trucker. I pay myself only slightly more than I used to make and am hard at work on the seventh and eighth books. More importantly, I take my daughter to school and pick her up every day. Instead of praying with her at night over the phone from a truck stop 2000 miles away, I kneel by her bed. Instead of the confines of a tiny truck sleeper at night, I sleep in my own bed with my wife.

Do I miss it? I've seen every state in the country, but no, I don't miss it at all. I just wanted to post this for any of you who think a career in writing isn't attainable. It is. You will have to work hard, think outside the box and learn more than you've ever learned in your life. But, trust me, if a worn out old truck driver can do it, you can too.

Now get to writing.

Semper Fi,
Wayne


20 comments:

  1. Happy Anniversary, Wayne. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this, Wayne. S/F.

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  3. So glad that your anniversary is on my birthday. Gladder that I found your books and love them,

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  4. What a wonderful post. Happy Anniversary and congratulations!

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  5. Next time you take along haul trip it will be to somewhere you actually want to go, on your own schedule and it will be in one of those obscenely large and luxurious RV's. I remember your earlier posts where you dwelled over quitting the day job and writing full time and I've loved every update and milestone you've shared. Congrats on everything and all the best.

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  6. You're my inspiration. I hope to one day make a living from writing so I don't have to find employment outside my house and I can be home when my kids get off the bus.

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    1. Of all the benefits that come with it, picking up my daughter from school is the best. She was only a year old, when I started my truck driving career. I missed so much.

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  7. Tricia O'MalleyMay 14, 2015 at 11:01 PM

    Congrats, Wayne. I've enjoyed following your progress this year and have been in your cheering section all the while!

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  8. Happy Anniversary, Wayne. You have a great story. So glad you now get more time with your family. Those years go so fast.

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  9. Wayne, thanks SO much for sharing your wonderful story! What an inspiration. I am so pleased for you.

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  10. This is so awesome. I actually have tears in my eyes - congratulations on your hard work, the payoff and being able to inspire people, including myself. Would love nothing more to be able to pick my daughter up from school when it's out instead of leaving her in aftercare.

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  11. Thank you for sharing your success story, Wayne. I am so happy for you! You're living your dream, and nothing is better than that, except to make good money at it, too. :) You've inspired me to work harder, and enjoy every minute of what I'm doing, trusting that one day it will pay off for me, as well. Keep up the good work, tell the good tale, and share the good news. We're behind you, 100% of the way!

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  12. Thanks for sharing with us aspiring writers. So inspirational. Congratulations!

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  13. Like the others, thanks for sharing and for the encouragement.

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  14. You’ve been to many jobs before, so it’s good that you found a job you love. People should consider what they like doing the most, and find a way to capitalize on that idea. That way, they continue doing what they love, and earn money while doing so. Thanks for sharing!

    Mariano Flanders @ Andiamo-Group

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  15. Very cool. I'm currently a trucker going on my 17th year. I have lots of story ideas but you've given me new inspiration. I live in Florida with my dog Kelly. If I can't pass the physical next summer due to some medical issues, then I'll be working at home and my trucking career over. Thanks for the good books. I listen on audio.

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  16. I wrote a similar post a year after I quit my job. It was an emotional year for me. I had worked my whole life and I just did not know what to do with myself when I quit. I took up a few hobbies and enjoyed it but then I just decided to do a little bit of traveling.

    Kourtney Heard @ Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport

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  17. I needed to read this post today, Wayne. I'm feeling a little down, honestly. I'm struggling with my first book while working full-time. I used to drive a truck too, but have been working a desk job for the last few years. Still, I'd like to travel on my own terms. I turn 50 tomorrow and I'm starting to feel it. I want to get this thing to work for me, Lord willing. Good, bad or ugly, my first book will be published by the end of the year and I have the goal of going FT by my next birthday. Then I can spend time with my family and see things that you can't see from a interstate. It's nice to see that someone has actually managed to do that.

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