Romance author Rich Amooi is making a full-time living bucking trends with his quirky romantic comedies from the guy’s perspective. This week, I talk to Rich about the advice he didn’t follow, the joy of speaking Spanish, his low-stress approach to indie publishing…and we geek out a little over our love of radio.
Rich first fell in love with radio when he was a kid. He was amazed by the deejays, the on-air personalities, who were like “superheroes” to him, entertaining the audience and playing cool music. At some point, he says, he would listen to the radio 24/7, even when he was sleeping and watching TV. Rich soon started calling in on contests and winning prizes, eventually winning over 100 contests.
It was only natural that he would follow his passion into a career in radio, working as an on-air personality for some of the top radio stations in Silicon Valley. Eventually, he started his own business as a wedding deejay after an ardent radio fan convinced him to entertain at her wedding. It went so well that her bridesmaid booked him, and he went on to entertain at more than 1,500 wedding receptions.
In 2010, his wife encouraged him to take some creative writing courses, which he enjoyed so much, he ended up take four classes over a two-year period. Two of his short stories from those classes eventually became novels.
Rich’s first published title Wedding Receptions That Rock: Creative Ideas for Music and a Fun, High-Energy Celebration was a bit of an experiment. He knew he wanted to make a career writing romantic comedies, but he thought writing a nonfiction title that drew upon his experience as a wedding deejay would be a great way for him to learn the publishing process and hopefully bring in a little income as he developed his fiction-writing career.
Since then, he has released two of his “quirky romantic comedies from a guy’s perspective,” and has segued successfully into a career as a full-time author.
Wedding Receptions That Rock: Creative Ideas for Music and a Fun, High-Energy Celebration – 139 pages – published April 2013
Five Minutes Late: A Romantic Comedy – 346 pages – published August 2014
Dog Day Wedding – 291 pages – published January 2015
When Rich started out, he discovered that there was a universe of advice, guidelines, tips, and must-dos awaiting him as a new author…everything from, “Don’t even think about approaching an agent until you’ve got 10,000 Twitter followers,” to “You have to use a pen name; romance readers won’t buy from a man,” to “If you want any kind of success, you must write series.”
Rich is still working on those 10,000 Twitter followers, but you won’t see him querying agents anytime soon. He likes doing it himself. In fact, aside from possibly an Amazon imprint, he really has no interest in traditional publishers.
As for his decision not to use a feminine pen name, Rich just decided, “Well, I’m me, and I’m proud of what I write. And I love romantic comedies and it’s a part of me, and I want people to see that.” He also felt he had a unique perspective as a male romance writer, one that would appeal to readers. He was right. His first book now has 148 reviews, and his second, 186 reviews. His average rating is 4.5 stars — definite signs that he’s hitting a sweet spot with readers…not to mention he makes a full-time living from his books.
In terms of writing stand-alone novels instead of series featuring recurring characters, Rich decided to simply write what he enjoys reading. He likes stand-alone novels akin to the conventions of romantic comedies on the silver screen. He enjoys meeting new characters in a new situation and having it wrapped up with a Happily Ever After.
It seems to be working out all right for him.
When Rich decided to pursue a second career in writing fiction, he asked himself, “What’s the easiest way for me to do this where I can have a lot of fun and I can have low stress?”
For Rich, “low stress” means doing something fun, something creative, being his own boss, and making the decisions that shape and grow the business. He’s always lived a low-stress life, he says, and so he makes business decisions that take stress level into consideration.
For instance, while it would seem to make sense for him to narrate his own audiobooks with his background in radio and broadcast, he points out that it is a very long and tedious process. Ultimately, it was simpler and easier to hire a professional to handle it and focus his energies on writing new books.
The same goes for foreign language translations. Even though Rich speaks fluent Spanish, he says he would not attempt to translate his own work. His focus is on making fun, entertaining stories.
The Next Big Thing
More fun and quirky romantic comedies! Rich has three new books coming out this year. He’s also got his eye on maybe getting into an anthology with other rom com writers and possibly teaming up with a UK author or two. There are also plans to ramp up his YouTube channel this year with more videos and comedy sketches with his wife. Sounds like fun.
On taking his work too seriously: “I look at my writing as fast, fun, and fluffy.”
On the decision NOT to use a pen name: “Well, I’m me, and I’m proud of what I write. And I love romantic comedies and it’s a part of me, and I want people to see that.”
- Analyze your various tasks you conduct as an indie author and decide which ones you don’t want to do, don’t like to do, or aren’t that great at it. Then either eliminate those tasks, or hire someone to handle them for you. Remember, your most important role as an indie author is the authoring bit. So get writing!
- Write what you enjoy. If you’re not having fun at this, you’re probably not doing it right. (This should always go without saying, but I’m saying it again. )
- Continue your education in craft. There are countless online courses available to help writers hone their skills. Your readers will thank you.
- Trust your gut. Despite all the standard advice Rich got, he stuck to his guns and made it his own way.
What is the best and worst advice you’ve gotten as an indie author?
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