I could have never prepared my mind or body for what crossing that finish line yesterday at The Columbus Marathon would feel like, but I will never forget this sign I saw that sums up both journeys:
“Run the mile you’re in.”
Writing and running share so many of the same life lessens, from pacing and progress to patience and perseverance. Here are just a few other things I will always remember from my 4-hour and 8-minute race:
- The sound of random strangers rooting for me and thousands of other runners on the course
- The taste of doughnuts passed out by hundreds of volunteers
- The smell of woodsmoke from neighborhood fire pits in each community we ran through
- The feel of fist bumping patient champions at every mile marker
- And the sight of my family cheering for me at the end of my race
This unique podcast about human trafficking hosts a variety of guests, including survivors, law enforcement officers, mental health professionals, and other experts in the field. The goal is to “take the conversation deeper, elevate survivors and their stories, educate the community, and advocate for an important cause.”
Here’s a brief summary of my specific episode and interview:
“Reducing the demand for sex starts with understanding why people solicit sex in the first place. Chris Stollar, author + educator, joins us on this week’s episode to share an inside look at what he has learned from participants who go through She Has A Name’s Solicitor Education Program. Chris also shares a story from Ryan, a Solicitor Education Program graduate, and tells how the program helped Ryan find a new desire to help fight human trafficking. We hope this episode leaves you thinking about demand reduction in a different light.”
Writer’s Digest just published my fifth article in their magazine about my personal journey transitioning from indie to traditional publishing. Special thanks to my agent and the authors who let me interview them for this story. I hope it encourages every writer or artist who struggles along the way!
My new article appeared in the March/April 2023 issue within the regular IndieLab column that follows trends in the self-publishing business. This piece focuses on several tips I’ve learned while transitioning from self-publishing The Black Lens to traditionally publishing my new novel with senior agent Paula Munier from Talcott Notch Literary. Here’s a brief summary:
Every single author is stuck in that agonizing transition between writing and publishing we all experience. Each day that goes by without an update from our agent we feel like giving up, wondering if our words are worth anything to the publishers they’re pitching. And yet each day we could get “the call” from our agent saying they landed a deal for us.
As an independent author who successfully self-published a crime thriller in 2016, I too am stuck in that same transition. I made the decision about three years ago to move out of the indie world to traditional publishing because I wanted to take my writing career to the next level.
Maybe you’re considering that same transition. Maybe you’ve already embarked on that journey but heard nothing back from the agents you’ve queried or editors they’ve pitched. Or maybe you’re just struggling to move from one word to the next so you can cross that finish line of a first draft. Regardless of where you’re at in your own path to publishing, this column will help you keep hope alive along the journey—no matter how long it takes.
Writer’s Digest reaches about 70,000 subscribers across the country. The magazine published my first article in 2019 about how to craft the perfect media pitch, my second article in 2020 about how to create successful book media kits, my third article in the 100th anniversary edition of their magazine about how to research like a reporter, and my fourth article in 2022 about three simple strategies for marketing your book.
Take the next step
Writer’s Digest University just invited me back to teach my second writing webinar. Titled How to Research Your Novel like a Reporter, this class will provide writers with best practices from the three years of research I conducted for my award-winning debut novel The Black Lens. Here’s a brief overview of the webinar, which Writer’s Digest Magazine also published a related article in their 100th anniversary issue.
ABOUT THE WEBINAR
Too many fiction writers start their stories without any research. And those who do some research barely scratch the surface, sticking to what they can find on Google or watch on TV. This unique live webinar will teach you how to interview actual sources and research primary documents that can enrich your stories, whether you’re working on a crime thriller, a cozy mystery, or even science fiction that involves new technologies.
As a former reporter with a master’s degree in journalism, Christopher will share with you best practices from the three years of research he conducted for his award-winning debut novel. He’ll also show you how that research helped convince more than a dozen media outlets to publish stories about his book—and how you can do the same.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
- What research is—and is not
- Why you should research
- How to research, especially through interviews, exposure, and travel
- Common pitfalls to avoid when researching
- How to incorporate research into your story
- Key resources for research
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
- Writers who want to understand more of the value behind research
- Writers who want to learn how to research
- Writers who want to get techniques for conducting interviews
- Writers who want to incorporate travel into their research
- Writers who want to see how they can weave research into their novel
- Writers who need additional resources for conducting research
- Writers who want to avoid common research mistakes
More than a dozen other news media outlets have also reported on The Black Lens. Here are just a few excerpts:
“The grim reality of modern-day slavery in America.”
“The Black Lens is clearly the work of a journalist. It exists to inform and disrupt, and it succeeds.”
“A work of fiction. A world of truths.”
“Will go a long way in giving a voice to victims and helping raise awareness of sex trafficking in rural America.”
“Christopher Stollar, a former Oregon journalist, won the grand prize in the 2016 Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards, beating out more than 600 other entries, for his debut novel, ‘The Black Lens,’ about a teenage girl and her sister fighting sex trafficking in Oregon.”
“Stollar is a former reporter who conducted more than three years of research including interviewing survivors, social workers and police officers to write the book.”
“A fictional horror told through a ‘Black Lens.’ Christopher Stollar weaves a despairing tale of sex trafficking.”
“A work of fiction … based on the disturbing reality that human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes worldwide.”
“The Black Lens reminds us that human trafficking, sex slavery and exploitation are real. For many young people in Central Oregon, the world of sex trafficking is non-fiction.”
“Former newspaper reporter turned author, Christopher Stollar of Columbus, spent a decade researching trafficking — three years of which was done in Ohio.”
“Christopher Stollar, author … and anti-trafficking advocate”
Writer’s Digest just agreed to publish my fifth article in their magazine, which reaches about 70,000 subscribers across the country.
My new article will appear in the March/April 2023 issue within the regular IndieLab column that follows trends in the self-publishing business. This piece focuses on 10 tips I’ve learned while transitioning from self-publishing The Black Lens to traditionally publishing my new novel with senior agent Paula Munier from Talcott Notch Literary. Here’s a brief summary:
Some self-published authors assume that if they ever sign with a literary agent, they’ll secure a traditional book deal a few weeks later. While that happens to some lucky writers, it can take months—or even years—for an agent to find that perfect publisher and home for your book. This article will follow one author’s journey transitioning from the world of self-publishing to traditional publishing and everything he has learned along the way. Based on both his own experience and surprising insights from other agented authors on submission with their debut novels, the column will cover best practices for those undergoing (or considering) that same transition. It will help you learn how to focus all energy on the next book, how to stop refreshing that inbox for updates, and how to keep hope alive along the journey—no matter how long it takes.
Writer’s Digest published my first article in 2019 about how to craft the perfect media pitch, my second article in 2020 about how to create successful book media kits, my third article in the 100th anniversary edition of their magazine about how to research like a reporter, and my fourth article in 2022 about three simple strategies for marketing your book.
Take the next step