About Robin Van Auken
Welcome! I’m Robin Van Auken, and I’m a professional writer, as well as an adjunct professor at a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania.
I’m married to Lance Van Auken, also a writer, and a Vice President at Little League® Baseball (the international headquarters, not our local league).
I’ve been a writer for 35 years, working as a journalist and editor for daily and weekly newspapers in Florida and Pennsylvania, and writing freelance for print and web. I’m also the author and co-author of 10 books on regional history, including “Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball.”
After dabbling in fiction and creative writing most of my life, I decided to make a leap of faith and in 2011, I self-published my first novel. It was six years in the making, and nobody knew it existed. In fact, few people knew it existed even after I published it.
I had created a body of work in the historical, non-fiction genre, and I didn’t want people to know about my novels, which combine elements of several genres, including suspense, thriller and romance. I wrote under the pen name of Madeline Sloane.
On one hand, I loved the personal freedom a nome de plume offered, but maintaining two personas, two author platforms, and two websites became exhausting. Both of my author platforms suffered, and I developed the dreaded “Writer’s Block.”
Before and during my transition from Madeline Sloane to Robin Van Auken, I couldn’t relax and write. Tension creeped in, and I was faced with two conflicting goals: I wanted my new novel to be the best possible story, but I wanted it finished and out of the way. These feelings tugged me into different directions and the result was a frustration at my frozen state. I couldn’t move forward. I lost interest in my novel, and it suffered.
But that is a story of a different time and place.
Today, I want you to know more about me and my interests and why I created Wholehearted Author.
The Other Robin Van Auken
But, before I jump into that, I have one more confession. I’m also a Professional Archaeologist. After pursuing a writing degree for years, I switched in my last year to anthropology, archaeology track. This heaped on several more years of university, but it was an exhilarating choice, and one I’ve enjoyed tremendously.
As an archaeologist, I’ve directed multi-year dig projects, and worked with hundreds of volunteers and educated thousands of visitors. In 2015, I added underwater archaeology and PADI scuba training to my research toolkit, enabling me to investigate maritime archaeology sites.
And yes, I teach both Communications and Archaeology at the college level. Throughout my varied career, I’ve developed many skills and these are what I bring to the table.
Want to know more? Visit www.RobinVanAuken.com
Why I Became a Wholehearted Author
As I said, I’ve been a writer for decades. It began after I absconded with my Mum’s portable typewriter at the age of 12. I set up an “office” in my bedroom, and began writing short stories and poetry. This hobby segued into a journalism career after attending university.
In 2001, I co-authored “Play Ball! The Story of Little League” with my husband, Lance Van Auken, and launched my freelance writing career. Although we published “Play Ball!” with a traditional, small press (Penn State University Press), I acted as my own agent, negotiating the contract. We received a $10,000 advance, and that was the end of the royalties. The book never earned the advance we received.
We believed the book would soar to the bestseller list, but the publisher was small (academic) and it did not have the capital to sustain a massive promotional campaign.
Our editor was honest with me when he said, “Robin, the average book has the shelf-life of a tomato.”
I was floored! The publisher was already moving on to its next big book launch, and our book was already out of sight, out of mind. We enjoyed the experience of working with a stellar team and brilliant people, but we learned an important lesson: We needed control of our books.
I’ve authored (and co-authored) 10 books of regional history, and five novels (the sixth novel is a work in progress, but it is close). I’ve published with traditional presses, as well as local presses, yet I choose to be an indie author.
My books are going to live forever, now that the digital press has come of age. My books will continue to be promoted and sold, and if they succeed or fail, it’s not because my hands are tied, but because I didn’t try hard enough.
I embrace the challenge of learning how to market with today’s Internet marketing challenges. The rules change quickly, new opportunities arise, and what worked yesterday may not work today. It can be frustrating, but it also keeps me on my toes and in a state of active learning.
My passion is to learn new things and share what works, and that’s what Wholehearted Author is about — the things that work for indie authors marketing today.