Greg GildersleeveGreg Gildersleeve’s career aspirations were bold as a child. If he’d had his choice, he would be playing hard rock guitar for a band. His sources of inspiration as a kid included Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship, The Beatles, Deep Purple and The Guess Who. Sadly, a musical career was not in the cards for Gildersleeve.

Luckily, he had another passion, which he was able to translate into a more stable and lucrative career path. Gildersleeve began using his extensive imagination to create characters and storylines from an early age and from there, he launched a career in writing and education.

Gildersleeve described how he got his start in creative writing: “I started creating characters and writing stories when I was about 12. They were bad. Really bad. But the idea of writing stories, and inventing worlds and characters took hold. It was more appealing than anything else I could imagine myself doing.1

Starting Along the Path to Self-Publication

Gildersleeve pursued an education that would further his craft. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts – both in English. With these degrees, he set out on a path toward educating other budding writers while also pursuing his own writing career.

Gildersleeve’s personal motto is to “take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously.”

He still enjoys ‘60s and ‘70s rock and comic books. When asked what he would do if he suddenly found himself with millions of dollars, Gidlersleeve stated that after tithing to his church and donating to other charities, he would take the other Grantham University faculty members on a lengthy trip to the Bahamas.

Despite not taking himself too seriously, he has managed to have a career in education while also self-publishing “The Power Club,” “False Alarm: A Power Club Novella” and a comic book, “Gold Dust.”

When asked about self-publishing, Gildersleeve said, “Self-publishing has been liberating. Instead of going through the lengthy process of looking for an agent or a publisher, I get to decide when my book is ready to be published, to write it the way I want to write it, and to hire a cover artist and editor. I get to reap the rewards, but also take on all the risks. It’s been an invaluable experience.”

Making Your Own Voice Heard

Self-publication is “the publication of any book or other media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher.2” Though many authors seek the prestige of having their work published by a traditional publishing company, there are many benefits to self-publishing3:

  • It is faster. With traditional publishing, it can take years to find an agent and obtain a publishing deal. After a writer has a deal to publish their work, it can take up to two and a half years for a book to hit the shelf. With self-publishing, you can have your work for sale on major retailers like Amazon in just a matter of hours.
  • More creative control. With self-publishing, the author gets to choose the title, design the book cover and control the marketing strategies.
  • Keeping more of the profits. When an author publishes with a traditional publishing company they only receive 7 to 25 percent of the royalties from the sale of their own book. Cutting out the middle-man allows self-publishers to keep more of the profits.

For a writer like Gildersleeve, having a way to get his voice out there without the confines of a traditional publishing relationship was important to him.

Preparing the Next Generation of Self-Publishers

Self-publishing also allows Gildersleeve time for other important matters, like imagining his perfect dinner party, which would include J. Michael Stracynski, the writer/creator of Babylon 5, Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln and Mother Theresa.

It also lets him help the next generation of writers hone their craft. Gildersleeve teaches English Composition I and II, Survey of American Literature I, Technical Writing and the General Education Capstone as a full-time faculty member for Grantham. Gildersleeve knows not all of his students will go on to write novels or comic books, but he sees the value of good writing in any career field.

Whether you are applying to college for the first time or continuing your education after time in the workforce, Grantham agrees with Gildersleeve’s views on the importance of writing. Grantham understands that many students have anxiety about taking writing courses, but it is considered a vital part of an education for the following reasons:

  • Having strong writing skills makes it easier to communicate your ideas.
  • Four out of five employers in the field of science and technology want graduates coming out of colleges and universities to have learned writing skills.
  • Employers have reported that there is a current need for applicants with writing skills that is not being met by the current workforce.
  • Taking a writing course can allow you to gain confidence in an area where you might feel weak.
  • If you are feeling nervous about a writing course, remember Gildersleeve’s favorite quote by Garrison Keillor, “Nothing bad ever happens to writers. Everything is material.”

So, whether you are a budding writer out to self-publish your first novel, like Greg Gildersleeve, or you are simply hoping to improve your writing skills to make yourself more marketable in the workforce, an education at Grantham University can be the first step toward making your goals a reality. Apply today!

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