PARIS - Larry Ivkovich of Robinson Township estimates that he's been writing genre fiction for at least 30 years, and it's beginning to pay off as his debut novel, "The Sixth Precept" was published by IFWG Publishing.
IFWG Publishing also will be publishing Ivkovich's science fiction novel "Magus Star Rising," and Ascent Publishing will publish his fantasy novel, "Blood of the Daxas." Ivkovich also is working on two to three possible sequels to "The Sixth Precept."
Ivkovich spoke about his work - including his novelas, "Reunion at Olan" and "Final Lesson" - writing and the publishing industry.
SIGNS COPIES OF BOOKS — Following a presentation on his writing career, local author Larry Ivkovich signed copies of his books. Ivkovich will be releasing two more books, “Magus Star Rising” and “Blood of the Daxas,” with two different publishing houses. -- Summer Wallace-Minger
The key to successful writing is persistence, to write something every day and to find support in other writers.
"Perseverance," he said. "It's through perseverance I've made it 30 years. You have to write every day. It's a process. I'm inspired by lots of things - a dream, a song."
He added there was no one right way to go about writing, observing that some authors are planners and others are "pantsers," or fly by the seat of their pants, writing as it comes to them.
"Some people say you should wait until it's complete to edit," he said. "I have to edit as I go. It's whichever works for you. Sometimes, if feels like I'm not writing it at all, it's just being channeled through me."
Ivkovich recommended beginning writers find a writing group for critique, encouragement and support.
"I'm a member of three writers' groups," he said, recommending writers look for a group where the members are honest and helpful, but not cruel.
He encouraged writers to attend conventions and conferences whenever possible, both for the advice gleaned through panels and the networking opportunities. Writing groups also often host writers' retreats, where writers can focus on their work and receive feedback.
He also spoke about the burgeoning self-publishing industry, which allows writers greater access and control over their work. He noted two popular self-publishing sites are Amazon and Smashwords.
"One of the things that is very big right now is social media and having an online presence," he said, noting one of his publishers has a training course on writers presenting themselves on social media. "I've got 500 followers, but I only know about five of them."
Ivkovich grew up in Weirton and described "haunting" the Mary H. Weir Library, where he read books by Edgar Rice Burrows and Ray Bradbury and devoured the adventures of the Hardy Boys, Dr. Doolittle and the Black Stallion.
"I lived in my own imagination," he said. "I read a lot of comic books, too, and 'Batman' was my favorite."
Ivkovich's love of comic books and reading led him to create his own comic books detailing the adventures of his friends in the neighborhood - ranging from becoming stranded on desert islands to being attacked by aliens.
"I had a white tablet, and I marked off the panels," he said.
His childhood passion for storytelling was pushed aside for many years, until he read a book and thought, "you know, I could do that," he said.
Returning to his childhood loves of science fiction and fantasy, he tried his hand at writing again.
"It was five or six years before I got the nerve to send (a short story) to a magazine," he said. "I thought they would accept it and it would be my path to stardom. Instead, they rejected it. It was 17 years before I sold a story."
Since then, he has published more than 20 short stories and was a L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest finalist and received the Rannu Fund Award for fiction.
Like Ivkovich's Facebook page at Facebook.com/larry.ivkovichauthor, follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/LarryIvkovich, visit his blog at larryivkovichauthor.wordpress.com or his website at inkfish1.wix.com/larryivkovichauthor. Contact him at email@example.com.
(Wallace-Minger can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)