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Lifetime Achievement Award Ė 35+ Years of Books

Huge THANK YOU to readers and others who submitted me for an award for distinguished contributions in writing & American Letters. As a past recipient of awards for excellence in writing, merit and distinguished accomplishments, I'm honored to be nominated. Iíve written over 250 full-length works since I completed my first novel in 1986, but it wasnít until 1995 that I had a breakout hit that established me as a bestselling author.

I wrote those early books for Macmillan and have since had books published and/or distributed by Random House, IDG, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Time Warner, Microsoft, OíReilly, McGraw Hill, Pearson and others. My books have sold nearly 20 million copies worldwide and been translated into 57 languages.

That type of success is the stuff of Willy Wonkaís wildest dreams. Still, as I wrote about in ďHow I Made This Crazy Thing Called Writinga CareerĒ, wild success doesnít always mean riches for the writer. Although bookstores, publishers, agents, Uncle Sam and others got the Lionís share of the wealth, I remain tremendously grateful to my publishers and everyone else in the business who made the dream possible.

In my career one of the things Iím most proud of is my work to give back and to support my fellow writers. Giving back to communities across America and the world is something Iíve written about in ďItís GivingTuesday!Ē. It took 20 years but my goal to give away $1 million in books to libraries and schools was finally achieved in 2015.

In the early days, I gave back to writers through Writerís Gallery and other outlets I maintained online, including Internet Daily News (one of the earliest online dailies). In 2007, I launched Go Indie to support independents (writers and bookstores). Other resources include #AmBlogging #FreeToday and the Read Indies blog.

As I look back at my career, Iím also very glad that from the beginning I did something for myself by starting a publishing company. That company began operations in 1995 and I used it to learn about the publishing side of the industry, which is very different from the writing side. By 2004, I knew enough about the industry and was ready to spread my wings and go into self-publishing. I hired a great team and put them to work running my business.
In the beginning, we had quite a large team, that team has whittled down to a few core members, but remains in the business of bringing my works, and the works of a select group of other writers, to the world. They've helped get dozens of translations for my fiction works, which are now available in nearly 100 countries around the globe.
I couldnít even begin to tell you how much my traditional publishers and those I worked with in the industry hated (loathed, really) my self-publishing efforts. But my efforts were wildly successful from the start with Keeper Martin's Tale quickly becoming a bestseller at Amazon.com (2002) and The Kingdoms & the Elves of the Reaches rocketing to #1 in Fiction at Audible.com (2005) where it remained a Top 10 Kids & YA bestseller for over 180 weeks (2005 - 2008). 
Today, the industry has changed so much that without self-publishing I donít know where Iíd be. Strange how things can turn around so dramatically. What was once forbidden fruit has now become one of the best ways for writers to earn a living.
Thanks for reading,
Robert Stanek


Remembering My Long-Time Friend Brian Jacques on His 80th Birthday

As I write this, today June 15, 2019, my friend, Brian Jacques, creator of Redwall, would have been 80. Of all the writers Iíve corresponded with over the years, from Raymond Feist to CJ Cherryh to Mercedes Lackey in the hey days of CompuServe, Brian was the wittiest and most fun. It was the highest of honors to host Brian when his fall 2005 book tour of the Western USA brought him to my adopted home town of Olympia, Washington. At the time, I wrote about Brianís visit on a tribute page to him and his books, which I posted to share with my readers @ http://themagiclands.com/brianjacques.htm. The page is still there, hasnít changed in 15 years.

One of the best things about Brianís visit was that my son, Will, who was 13 at the time, got to meet Brian and get all of his Redwall books signed. Will was, and remains, a Redwall fan, having read all of Brianís books multiple times. My two youngest were also at the signing and they enjoyed getting their pictures taken with my friend Brian. 

As I had promised Brian, I also gave him copies of the children's editions of my books, The Kingdoms & the Elves of the Reaches, which are set in my fantasy world of Ruin Mist. Brian and I enjoyed swapping stories of our created worlds, having bonded over our similar experiences with Catholic school teachers beating us with rulers.  

Brian was a hoot to listen to at author events and book signings. He loved his characters and got into the role of his characters actively in the telling. Brian loved a good feast as well, as any attentive Redwall fan knows.

Brian also challenged me to give back to readers and the writing community, to share my personal skills and experiences with others. Brian always spoke fondly of his days working with blind children and how he got his start. Early conversations with Brian were key in inspiring me to dedicate many hours and years to give away one million books to schools, libraries, community centers and others, though especially to teachers in classrooms who needed books for their students who otherwise would have no books at all as well as to schools for the blind, like the one in rural Scotland where students had access for many years to my entire catalog of books, including many educational and learning titles in the Bugville Critters, at no cost.

To say Brian Jacques loved the written word is an understatement. Brian lived for the written word and I think the only thing he loved more was bringing his stories and ideas to life with spoken word. Brian and I had running conversations about digital audio and in particular Audible, where my books had been runaway bestsellers--#1 Fiction, #1 Fantasy, #1 YA/Childrens for many weeks in spring and summer 2005. Brian was more familiar with traditional audio on tape and hesitant about the digital world--ebooks, kindle, audible, and such. I don't know if my words on the subject swayed his thoughts on the subject, but I'd like to think so, as his books did start to become available for both kindle and audible.

In the fall of 2005, none of us could have known that Brian would be taken from the world just a few years later. I was, in fact, looking forward to his promised next West coast USA tour and another visit with my long-time friend. For me, Brian Jacques will forever remain one of the true few who could paint pictures with words.

We all miss you, Brian, though it is perhaps fitting that the final Redwall book is about rogues. As a rogue scoundrel who worked many odd jobs in his life, this was perhaps Brianís last wink and nod to the world.

Goodnight, Brian. Goodnight, Redwall.

Thanks for reading, Iím William Robert Stanek, Microsoftís #1 author for nearly 20 years, and author of over 250 topselling books.


Close-up With Robert Stanek & RA Salvatore

In Fall 2003, I created this tribute page to support RA Salvatore's work. RA Salvatore was a favorite author of my son and it was thrilling for him to get to meet Bob. This feature, along with extensive discusion in the Robert Stanek forums, introduced tens of thousands of Ruin Mist fans to Bob's work and to Drizzt Do'Urden for the first time. A fact I am proud of, as I am proud to have supported dozens and dozens of authors through the FOUR decades I've been a writer.

When I met RA Salvatore during his book tour, I was an international bestselling author with over 75 books to my credit, having sold many millions of books. Not only was I also a columnist for both PC Magazine and Dr. Dobbs at the time, my work was being featured all over the world on Microsoft websites, Microsoft training courses and elsewhere where it was familiar to tens of millions at that time (and now hundreds of millions).

Thus, it is extremely disconcerting and perplexing to me, that one or several online trolls have latched onto this tribute page to Bob and twisted its meaning into something supposedly nefarious.

Fall 2003

RA Salvatore's Fall 2003 book tour took him across the West, through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California and Washington. The tour was talked about in the Robert Stanek forums as RS and RAS fans discussed their favorite stories and characters. RA Salvatore is a favorite author in the Other Authors section of the boards.

   As Salvatore's tour was winding down the two Roberts, Robert Stanek and RA Salvatore, met at a book event where RAS spoke at length about how he started writing and how his many books and characters were developed. RAS also talked about playing Baldur's Gate and coming upon his own character, Drizzt Do'Urden. Apparently, when RAS tried to get Drizzt Do'Urden's scimitars, Drizzt attacked and killed his entire party. Later a friend told him how to defeat Drizzt (using wands of monster summoning and filling the screen with monsters to use as decoys while you fill poor old Drizzt with arrows. With Drizzt dead, you can take his scimitars and armor and whoop butt. Watch out if you kill Drizzt and try to import a character with his gear into Baldur's Gate 2, Drizzt will hunt your party down and kill you.

     But if you really want to play as Drizzt you need Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance for PS2 or XBOX. Beat the Labyrinth at the end of the game, while playing in extreme mode and you can play as Drizzt Do'Urden, dual scimitars and all.

     Salvatore's latest book is The Lone Drow, Book 2 in the Hunter's Blades Trilogy. In The Lone Drow, featured on the right, Drizzt Do'Urden has become an orc's worst nightmare: a lone drow with nothing to lose and nowhere to run. As the North spirals into chaos and war, one dark elf has decided to take it personally, and it will take an army to stop him.

Drizzt Do'Urden has drawn his swords, drawn blood, and drawn a line in the snow. (Get The Lone Drow at Amazon.)

The final book in Hunters Blades Trilogy is Two Swords, which will be published in October 2004. For those who haven't read the series yet, start with The Thousand Orcs, featured on the left. (Get The Thousand Orcs at Amazon.)


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