From the Author’s Chair

March 4, 2009

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #48

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 12:28 pm

Friends,

From the Author’s Chair - here is newsletter #48 describing my latest humorous ups and downs as I struggle to become a bestselling fiction/thriller author.

>>Highlights: New e-mail address, Vampires, and Agents

After nine years I’m changing my e-mail address to: edm@booksbymitchell.com (notice the added m). Please update your address books so we can stay in touch.

29 Nov (Up)
Now days to be selected by a big publisher an author must have the persistence of a vampire. Agents, editors, and publisher selection committees stomp on many authors, throw their work out the window of 50-story office buildings, and suggest maybe writing is something they should forget. But it doesn’t matter. Vampire authors keep coming back because the only silver bullet that will stop them can only be fired by themselves when they decide to quit. I’m not there yet. The moon is full, and I’m baaaaaack!

Today I express mailed a query package to the agent at Goodman Literary Agency who asked to see the first three chapters of GOLD FIRE. To show a market exists for thrillers about terrorists I named three New York publishing houses that have released such books in the last two years, along with the title of the thrillers. To substantiate the quality of GOLD FIRE I included brief quotes from four book reviews including one from Midwest Book Review. For added substantiation I supply nine quotes from satisfied readers.

All the above, combined with the improvements I added to the chapter text based on feedback from bestselling author Grant Blackwood, ought to do the trick. If not, I’m going to bite somebody in the neck.

24 Dec (Up)
The next thriller I’m writing is coming along smoothly. I’m on the seventh chapter. Initially, I titled the story Soft Target USA. However, as I’ve been writing I’m been feeling that Black Camel might be more intriguing. Please e-mail me to let me know which one you prefer. Or you can comment at my blog (From the Author’s Chair) on my website, http://www.booksbymitchell.com

11 Jan (Up, Down)
Today we launched my updated website I structured it to buzz the release of my books via two blogs to draw more visitors to the site. After a few more tests of the blogs, I’ll e-mail the agent in New York City to show her I’m a diligent author doing all I can to make my books bestsellers. The e-mail is also a courteous way of reminding the agent about GOLD FIRE if she hasn’t started reading the submittal yet.

For the last three years authors have been moving away from touring bookstores. More and more they are doing large events or web-based touring via blog chatter. Many of us have learned that bookstore events bring in very few people while costing the author a lot of travel time and money. I’ve migrated to only attending big events like the Los Angeles Book Festival, Ironstone Music Festival, or the California State Fair where thousands of people pass by the author booth. The idea is that blogging offers the opportunity to infect blog visitors with my humorous, friendly personality so they spread the word about my website and thrillers. The down side is I must become Blog-boy and put in the time generating content and routinely getting on the web and chatting.

Skip what I just told you about e-mailing the agent. The mail just arrived with a rejection letter. Kiss my grits! The good news is that my rejection letters are getting better. “Thank you for the opportunity to review the requested portions from GOLD FIRE . You are a talented writer and there was a lot to this that I thought had merit. Unfortunately, despite my initial interest, I am going to pass on representing your work.”

Yeah, well I’ve been passed so many times I’m starting to feel like a bowel movement.

“Although your writing is sharp and crisp, the plot intelligent, I didn’t come away from this novel convinced that it had all it would need to be accessible to a wider demographic than just techno-savvy fans.”

Yeah, tell that to Clancy’s legions of readers. $#@!&*!! I’m glad the sun is setting. Time to grow vampire fangs again. I’m not quitting.

14 Jan (Down)
I was just starting to do my daily writing when I learned a horse was down in one of the upper pastures. We have donated use of our stables and pastures to the local Red Wings Horse Sanctuary group. The mare was a big, gentle draft horse named Susan. She was 23 and couldn’t get up even after receiving fluids and injections for pain. I was with her until two in the morning when she died. Not fun to lose animals.

15 Jan (Neutral)
I completed judging 21 books for an author’s association headquartered in San Francisco to which I belong. A non-fiction book titled From Prison to Paycheck by Pat Hogan impressed me. So I sent it to a nearby prison library to help convicts transitioning back into their communities. Then I came up with the campaign idea to get a candidate for county supervisor to donate a number of books to an advocacy group as a free resource to local families. Plus, I spoke with the author and asked if she’d be willing to do a short seminar for the advocacy group clients. Pat said yes. I’m going to buy some of the books for the candidate. It’s nice to see a good author impact people’s lives. Hmm…maybe I should become a publicist?

17 Jan (Up, Down)
Today I received a slew of comments on my From-the-Author’s-Chair blog. One valid comment and 19 spam comments. Avoiding span is getting time consuming. I don’t think I’ll tell Jack, the publisher, or he’ll remind me I’m a hit with crooks.

05 Mar (Up)
I learned today that two of the other authors that sat with me during Thrillerfest 2007 and pitched to the agent that rejected me, were sold by the agent to publishers. At least I’m pitching to agents that are really looking for new talent. Each of those lucky authors had a female protagonist. I always have a male and female protagonist team. Next!

05 Mar (Up)
I received the flyer announcing this year’s Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas to be held this coming October. An agent will be there that I’ve been trying to talk into falling in love with my books. I’m considering going if I don’t snag an agent for Soft Target USA at Thrillerfest this July.

07 April (Up)
I’ve been writing Soft Target USA at a faster pace than in the past. I’m not going back as often to edit. Instead I’m pushing into new chapters. I plan to do detailed editing after I complete all the chapters. This thriller is more like a pursuit crime story where the heroes are trying to capture and stop the terrorists before their next attack. I’ve had to build a spreadsheet to realistically determine how Cholo and Oasis could chase down the terrorists. So far test readers like what I’ve done so it appears I’m on the right path.

But I’m always drawn back to the first page trying to make it perfect. I’m really pleased with my opening sentence: Dominique studied the muscular Italian she planned to seduce; a killer, an assassin - her competition.

14 Mar (Up)
Received my panel assignment for the Thrillerfest 2008. The panel is on Saturday July 12. Currently, it is titled: ‘Soldiers, mercenaries, and military action thrillers.’ Perfect! I don’t know yet who the other panel members are, but this should be a fun panel. Perhaps I can talk them into adjusting the title to be Soldiers, mercenaries, incredible lovers, and military action thrillers. Too much?

08 July (Down)
Today I’m traveling to Thrillerfest in New York City and saving over a thousand dollars on this trip. I was recently hired to consult to a company bidding to provide special weaponry and logistics support to U.S. special operation forces around the world. That work takes me near Washington D.C. Being thrifty I’m flying east earlier than scheduled for the consulting job so I avoid an expensive book-boy airplane ticket. This afternoon when I get to Virginia, I’ll switch to AmTrak and ride the train to downtown New York City. Oooh, this is cool.

I’m up at 4 a.m. to drive to the airport in time to catch a plane that will get into Dulles airport early enough to catch the train. A small price to pay to save a thousand dollars. I get a twinge of worry when the plane’s departure is delayed because of a mechanical problem. Luckily, it’s fixed quickly and we’re only a few minutes late arriving in Dallas for my connecting flight. Not a problem because my connecting flight is CANCELLED! At least the airline has already shifted me to another flight leaving two hours later than planned.

Being a modern traveler, I have a work around in case of delays. I call AmTrack and switch to a later departing train. I’ll get a little less sleep but I’m fine. Unfortunately, thirty minutes before my rescheduled departure the gate attendant notifies us that the replacement air crew won’t arrive on time and the flight will be delayed another two hours. Kiss my grits you piece of !!$#%@*! airline.

AmTrak is great making another switch. Now I’m scheduled to catch the last train out of D.C. tonight. I’m feeling okay as the plane finally pulls out of the gate. Yes, once again book-boy, the seasoned traveler, outsmarts the airlines. WRONG! We stop on the tarmac and wait an hour for a rain storm to blow through the area. I just missed my train.

On the phone again I work with AmTrak. Now I’ll be departing D.C. at 3 a.m. tomorrow morning. When I finally arrive at Dulles airport the shuttle is not running so it’s a $54 taxi ride to Grand Central Station next to the Capital building. Luckily, a coffee shop is open and I get a cup of hot coffee and drink it while sitting in an empty waiting area. How empty is it you ask? Empty enough that a gray mouse wanders past me looking for morsels of food. It ignores me. Must be an agent.

By the time I get on the train, settled and asleep I’ve been traveling for 24 hours straight. Ah, the glamour of being book-boy. Daylight wakes me at dawn. I get some writing finished before arriving in New York City. Easy taxi ride to the hotel, a quick shower, dress and scoot off to the conference hotel because I’ve volunteered to help set up before panels begin at 1 p.m.

09 July (Up)
Yippee! The conference has started. The first day is devoted to the craft of writing and selling thrillers. We call it Craftfest. At this year’s conference we also get to do ten-minute-dating with agents. In preparation I attend a panel, led by two bestselling authors, explaining how to pitch an agent. I learn that the pitch has to be no longer than 17 words because that is the constraint placed on editors when they go before their selection committee. Since the panel boss is a West Point graduate like myself, he took extra time with me after the class to assess my next thriller. He says the plot is fresh but not compelling enough. And he’s not in love with the title. He recommends I change the assassination target from the wife of the President, to the President himself. Overnight I accept the recommendations and switch the title to Hard Target USA and change the plot to assassinating the President while he is in the White House because the building is a symbol of U.S. political power.

10 July (Up)
I’ve practiced about thirty times before meeting the nine agents I hope to talk to. Being experienced I ensure I go to the bathroom before the hundred plus authors enter the room where the agents are seated. Returning from the bathroom I’m near the end of line filing into the room. Everyone around me is tight faced and serious knowing their destiny waits inside. I’ve been here before. Relaxing helps. I flip open my cell phone and say in a loud voice. “No. Tell them we’re not accepting less than a hundred thousand dollars.” Everyone around me breaks out laughing. Several compliment me for my creativity.

Inside the room the agents are sitting at small tables with large name tag in front of them. I’m impressed. This is far better than when I first started chasing agents. In this room sits the top agents in the U.S. Not stand-ins. The literary agency heads that I’ve been chasing for years are within a few feet of me. This ITW organization has pulled off a coup for it’s members.

Before the bell rings to start pitching, the authors line up ten-deep in front of the first agent they wish to speak with. I’ve pitched enough to know that what it all comes down to is how well you write. So I’ve decided to deliver my short verbal pitch and then hand the agent the first page of my manuscript. I’ll find out immediately if the writing is good enough for them. I’m the only author using this technique.

For each pitch I sit down and say: “Al-Qaeda hires the world’s deadliest political assassin to kill the President of the United States within the White House. Here’s the first page of my manuscript titled Hard Target USA, along with my business card.”

I then lean back and wait to see if the writing is good enough for the best professional agents in America. Knowing every word on the page I watch the face of each agent to see how they emotionally react. Yessssss! Nine out of eight agent and a publisher want a sample of my work. One agent and the publisher desire the whole manuscript. One woman comments the writing is “very tight”. After 27 years of writing I can at least craft an excellent opening page. Yahoo!

Only one problem. This is the first time I’ve ever pitched without a finished manuscript. I’ll just right my butt off and then send in the submittals when it is finished.

30 August (Up)
I’ve completed rewriting the first ten chapters of Hard Target USA, implementing the plot changes. I think the story is stronger so I’m happy. This book is maturing differently than my previous stories. I always outline the complete story. But this time there have been numerous changes emerging as I write. I think it is adding surprises for the reader so I’m comfortable with the new direction of the plot. It’s just taking me longer to write than I’d like.

12 September (Up)
The blogs that I set up have turned into spam magnets. And since I’m focused on writing the next thriller I’m not taking time to generate content. That marketing idea was a waste of effort. I’m going to drop one of the blogs but keep “From the Author’s Chair” and see if I can get a spam filter in place.

09 October (Up)
It’s day one at the Ozark Creative Writers Conference. This is the third time I’ve attended and the conference board members remember me. Turns out that one of them who likes me, (meaning I don’t appear to be a serial killer) invited his agent, Cherry Wiener, to be a guest presenter. She’s the agent I’ve been trying to land for several years and why I’ve invested in this trip. She is the keynote speaker during the morning of day-1.

Each hour during the morning session the committee gives away door prizes. One prize is for whoever has traveled the farthest. When the committee member asks who has traveled the farthest. Cherry, standing at the rear of the room, raises her hand, as I do. I win the prize, which is a free afternoon session at a local spa. Recognizing the agent wants the spa session, I step forward. I accept the prize envelope while declining to select a more masculine prize.

I’m at the podium when Cherry walks up to continue her session. As she arrives I turn to her and say “Please accept this gift because a lady would better enjoy it than I would.”. She is surprise and pleased and the group knows I have smoothly ingratiated myself to the agent. Yes, I can pump sunshine when I want to.

Later in the conference during the scheduled pitch period she remembers my day-1 gesture. It also helps that I begin my pitch by saying “I traveled here just to meet you”. I make my pitch to her the same as I did in New York during Thrillerfest. Not only is she captivated by my writing but she also requests a synopsis of the book that follows Hard Target USA. Now I just have to finish the last five chapters and get the submittals flowing to the agents.

And the adventure continues.

——————————————
Please pass this newsletter on to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at edm@booksbymitchell.com. However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic lives just reply back that you want to unsubscribe and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.
——————————————
P.S. If you want to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:
http://www.booksbymitchell.com/books.htm

Ed Mitchell,
Charter Founding Member of the International Thriller Writers Organization and Author of:

GOLD LUST
>> Winner: National Publishers Award for BEST NEW FICTION
in the USA & Canada from a small press
>> Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST MYSTERY THRILLER

GOLD RAID
>> Regional Winner: Sacramento Publisher & Authors Fiction
Award for BEST ACTION BOOK.
>> Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST ACTION-ADVENTURE-THRILLER

GOLD FIRE
>> International Thriller released in November 2006

Black Camel
>> Soon to be released.

Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books & Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter at http://www.booksbymitchell.com

Consultant to Emerging Authors
http://www.booksbymitchell.com/consulting.htm

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907
E-mail ed@booksbymitchell.com
831-663-1021
Fax 831-663-5629
Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-34
Gold Lust ISBN: 0-9668447-7
Gold Raid ISBN: 0-9668447-93
Gold Fire ISBN: 978-0-9668447-26
Black Camel ISBN: TBD

December 22, 2007

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #47

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 12:01 pm

Friends,

From the Author’s Chair — here is newsletter #47 describing the latest humorous up’s and down’s as I struggle to become a bestselling fiction/thriller author.

>>Highlights: Ironstone, Reviews, Blogging

6 Sep (Neutral)
I’m packed and ready to take off tomorrow morning to do a three-day book-boy gig. The wife is helping me prep by asking me if I have everything. Of course I do – I’m a guy. “No I haven’t put the magnetic signs on the car.” Out in the garage, while grumbling, I slap the magnetic signs onto the doors of my car announcing my first thriller GOLD LUST.

7-9 Sept (Up)
On the road at 5 a.m. headed for Murphys, CA in the Sierra Mountain foothills where I’ll be selling in Ironstone Vineyard’s gold vault and jewelry store. Three and a half hours later I stop at the Chevron station in Angels Camp to top-off with gas. As I slide out of the car stiff and tired from driving, the station manager asks, “Are you Ed Mitchell.” Really surprised, I answer, “Yes, I am.” Turns out the manager read the magnetic signs on the side of the car and he and his mother are reader fans of my thrillers. Tiredness disappears as I pull a copy of GOLD FIRE out of the trunk and autograph it for his mother.

Nice way to start the day with an immediate sale. Plus, I purchased gas from one of my readers. Loyalty going both ways is a good thing.

I arrive at the vineyard an hour before the jewelry store staff show up, so I have plenty of time to change into show clothes in the bathroom. I go to hang my three-foot by five-foot banner onto a metal fence leading to the store. Unfortunately, I have to pull an 80-pound planter box aside so folks walking out of the parking lot can see my sign listing my thrillers with blurbs. Ah…the glamour of being an author. At least I didn’t get a hernia.

The day is beautiful and I’m smiling when the staff arrives to open jewelry cases and the gold vault. The manager has positioned my table at the entrance door so I’m the official greeter. It helps to be selling within 20 feet of the walk-in vault containing a $4 million dollar gold nugget found in 1992.

This is a great venue to sell at. Three different bands play this weekend drawing three different groups of music lovers. Vince Gil and Amy Grant play country music Friday night. The Dobbie brothers sing California songs Saturday. Sunday B.B. King entertains with blues music. So it will be an adult crowd, which typically buys my genre.

To help sales I badgered my publisher into allowing a ten percent discount when readers buy two or more titles. Jack grumbled but he’ll be happy. The discount is increasing sales. Now I’m rarely selling just one book. The store manager appreciates that I’m entertaining and humorous when greeting the folks walking into the store.

My $800 in book sales earns the sales record for a weekend at the store. Yes!!! The store manage loves me. I leave a gift book for the vineyard owner as a thank you for allowing me to sell with the store crew.

26 Sept (Up)
I started the day listening to a phone message from a reader who finished reading my series. She said: “I love your three books. I was getting ready for a trip and I started reading the first one and stopped packing and would not continue packing until I finished reading it. Then I got on the second one and that one really screwed up our trip.”

The day gets better when I received another review for GOLD FIRE.
This one is by Anne K. Edwards who reviews for New Mystery Reader @ http://www.newmysteryreader.com/new_paperback_releases.htm

A portion of her review says: “… A riveting read for thriller fans offering much by way of excitement and adventure. The people are all complex with their own agendas that make for a complex plot and series of events that keep things interesting for the reader …”

Nice to have her recognize that the characters are complex. Agents, publishers, and reviewers don’t like one-dimensional characters (all evil or all good). Seems Anne feels I’m creating realistic characters. Yes! And screw that agent last year that said my main character was “one-dimensional”. Not that I hold any grudges.

1-5 Oct (Up)
I’ve started working with a new webmaster and virtual assistant (this means more money out of the author’s pocket) to restructure my website to add blogs there along with a media kit page. The goal is to interact with Internet folks much like I do at events where I sell books. I’d rather just write but Jack keeps repeating his favorite word: Sell! Sell! Sell!

Yeah! This week the International Thriller Writer’ web magazine (The Big Thrill) announced that GOLD FIRE was available. You can see it at:
http://www.thrillerwriters.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=497&Itemid=29

Now I just need lots of fans and a few agents to go to my website after seeing the Big Thrill announcement.

9 Oct (Up)
There are dozens of things trying to seduce me away from maturing my next thriller, Soft Target. I’ve been helping the wife recover from artery surgery and getting a rental unit ready for re-renting. But piece-by-piece I’ve finished outlining the story. And today is the first day of writing the opening chapter. Back to the enjoyable part of being an author.

17 Oct (Down)
A bestselling author friend is in town so the wife and I go to dinner with her and her spouse. We were having a grand time until the author friend drifted off to the restroom or quite a while. Unfortunately, I found her sick, sitting on a small bench outside the restrooms. She had thrown up dinner and was dizzy and nauseous. Appears to be food poisoning to me. After talking over the situation with her husband and possible things that could be wrong we guided the couple to the local hospital.

The next day she called and said she had recovered. I mentioned to her that since I saved her life that the least she could do is include me in the dedication of her next book. I’m not sure I convinced her.

18 Oct (Down)
Jack, the publisher, called and said “I’ve got good news, bad news, and good news for you. The good news: the largest single purchase of the month of your thrillers was from a person in England. Bad news: the purchase was via an invalid credit card number.” Chuckling he added, “Good news: crooks like your books.” Jack has a sick sense of humor.

20 Oct (Up)
Jack had to eat crow today. Turns out the wonderful folks in England who ordered my books met me at Ironstone. I remember them well. They’re sending a check. I smirked at Jack while saying: “Yup, one more sale by your best author.” He slithered back to his lair mumbling.

24 Oct (Neutral)
Today, as part of my Internet expansion strategy I joined the Iranian defense forum. Interesting insights gained interacting with foreign folks interested in terrorism, U.S. military operations in their region, and protecting their homeland from infidels. It’s a different way to gather research for my thrillers. A few of the participants from the Middle East are not too keen on Americans.

10 Nov (Up, Down)
Yesterday when I registered for the July 2008 International Thriller Writers Organization conference in New York City, I learned that there would be a speed-dating session with agents. Three minute dating to deliver a succinct pitch before moving on to the next agent. Well that opportunity really motivates me to get cracking writing Soft Target. Today I woke up at 4:30 a.m. in a motel at South Lake Tahoe (we’re up here for the wedding of the wife’s granddaughter) and started writing the chapter that brings the beautiful Israeli spy on stage.

When the wife woke up I read her my incredible text. I wanted to see if the dialogue and description effectively conveyed the characterization and impact I wanted. As I was reading Jan laughed so I knew the humor was working. But halfway along she puts her hand on my arm and says, “I have to go poo poo.”

What? I’m working on a masterpiece and she can’t stay focused. “Just a little bit more,” I say.
“No, I have to go,” she says over her shoulder scooting into the bathroom.

Hummm … I guess the chapter isn’t as captivating as I had hoped.

21 Nov (Up, Down)
Grant Blackwood, the bestselling author critiquing GOLD FIRE, sent me feedback today so I can submit the first three chapters to an agent who has asked to see them. The good news is Grant thinks the plotting is fine. But he wants me to tweak the dialogue. He recommends making the dialogue of the foreigners less foreign sounding. I’m updating the chapters tonight to mail to him. Next week I’m kicking the query package out to New York so we’ll see what one of America’s top agent thinks.

Please remember that the gift giving holidays are coming. Think books: autographed books, really good books by your favorite thriller author.

And the adventure continues.

——————————————
Please pass this newsletter on to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at ed@BooksByMitchell.com However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic lives just reply back that you want to be deleted (or unsubscribe) and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.
——————————————
P.S. If you want to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:
http://www.booksbymitchell.com/books.htm

Ed Mitchell,
Charter Founding Member of the International Thriller Writers Organization and Author of:

GOLD LUST
>> Winner: National Publishers Award for BEST NEW FICTION
in the USA & Canada from a small press
>> Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST MYSTERY THRILLER

GOLD RAID
>> Regional Winner: Sacramento Publisher & Authors Fiction
Award for BEST ACTION BOOK.
>> Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST ACTION-ADVENTURE-THRILLER

GOLD FIRE
>> International Thriller released in November 2006

Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books
at http://www.booksbymitchell.com
& Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter

Consultant to Emerging Authors
http://www.booksbymitchell.com/consulting.htm

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907
E-mail ed@booksbymitchell.com
831-663-1021
Fax 831-663-5629
Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-34
Gold Lust ISBN: 0-9668447-7
Gold Raid ISBN: 0-9668447-93
Gold Raid ISBN: 978-0-9668447-26

Copyright Nov 2007

September 6, 2007

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #46

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 11:33 am

Friends,

From the Author’s Chair — here is newsletter #46 describing my latest humorous up’s and down’s as I struggle to become a bestselling fiction/thriller author.

>>Highlights: Rejection, book reviews, and Thrillerfest in NYC

2 April (Down)
Marketing sucks. I’d rather be writing the next book but Jack, the publisher, is pestering me. So I have begun sending postcards and e-mails to previous buyers, friends, even those whom I’ve passed in the hallway. It takes some creativity to craft reasons that encourage new purchases.

10 April (way Down)
I’m in a funk. Received a letter from my latest agent regarding GOLD FIRE. She said that most of the 23 publishers she contacted have replied with rejections or a simple no thank you. A few haven’t responded and may not. Rather like wanting a date for the senior prom and asking 23 gals who all say “never in your lifetime book-breath.” Time to go outside and kick a redwood tree. My only consolation in the letter was my agent was also frustrated because she likes my writing.

11 April (less Down)
Persisting despite rejection is a necessity for authors. After mauling the Redwood I devote some time to figuring out how to reenter the game. Contacted my agent and offered the movie rights and asked if she’d like to submit to Creative Artists Agency in Hollywood. They showed interest in my first book. She said yes, so I’m preparing that package. If any of you know Matthew McConaughey tell him he’d be perfect as Nolen.

12 April (Up)
Received an e-mail that helped kill the funk. “Thanks for your wonderful writing.” Reader feedback like that keeps me motivated. Thanks Tom! More help than you realize.

22 April (Up … sort of)
Another buyer asked for my latest release. While autographing her copy, she shared with me that she had purchased my previous thrillers for her brother who was an avid reader but was suffering with pancreatic cancer. But while reading GOLD LUST he became too weak to read it by himself. So he asked her to read it to him because he wanted to know the ending. She said it was the last book he finished before he died.

I remain amazed how books can affect people. Never in my dreams would I have thought that one of my books would be as meaningful to a brother and sister as what Lynn told me. I’m glad it brought some comfort and normalcy to them for a brief time. Such incidents prod me to write better. They also make me realize how trivial my author frustrations are and how fortunate I am to be published.

5 May (Up)
The national IPPY awards released the semi-finalist list for Mystery/Suspense/Thrillers. I didn’t make the short list. But an author friend of mine, Sue Ann Jaffarian, did. She wrote Too Big To Miss. In the front of her book she used a quote from me about the superior quality of her writing. Now I can actually say I knew her when.

Mid-May thru Mid-June (Neutral)
Decided to help a local land-use campaign to prevent sprawl from invading the Salinas Valley — known as the Salad Bowl of America. My publisher was not pleased that I slowed the launch of GOLD FIRE. I argue that this is the only time I’ve not fully supported a book. Eight weeks later my volunteering helped defeat the opposition’s ballot measure. Now it is back to being book-boy.

17 Jun (Up)
Authors around the industry and Internet sites are claiming it is harder to secure reviews these days. Fewer reviewers and the big publishing houses have fulltime paid PR folks pressing hard for their authors to get reviewed. But I get creative. I know that reviewer, Alan Caruba, lives in northern New Jersey. In my letter requesting a review I invite him to be my guest at the awards banquet at Thrillerfest #2 in New York City next month, a small payback for the reviews he has written of my previous novels. He declined but appreciated my offer. Says he’s going to review GOLD FIRE.

24 Jun (Up)
Yeah! The local newspaper reviewed GOLD FIRE under a large banner headline. It must have been a slow news day. The reviewer has reviewed each of my books, watching my skill in the craft mature. I particularly enjoyed this line “Mitchell is a master at keeping the reader engrossed in his stories.” Nice to have a professional appreciate my writing.

26 Jun (Up)
My publisher advised me a reader purchased my whole series on-line, including the original hardback, GOLD RUSH 2000. I call to thank her. She is surprised that an author would contact her. I learned she came across one of my thrillers at a local garage sale, read a few lines, and was hooked. She askes if my books were going to be made into a movie. Yes, I like this woman!

12 – 14 July (Up)
I’m in New York City attending the second annual Thrillerfest elbow to elbow with 300 of the best thriller writers in the world. I’m a panel member again this year sitting on stage with bestselling authors. To my left and right (David Hewson, Karen Tintori, Humphrey Hawksley, and Katherine Neville). After the panel several audience members say they learned a lot from me about how to research material for a thriller.

I also volunteer to assist on a number of tasks to ensure the event goes smoothly. While helping seat agents at tables during the author-agent lunch, I thank an agent (Maria Carvanis) I met the year before who requested to see my GOLD FIRE manuscript. Even though she rejected it I thank her for her letter explaining her reasoning. I think she was surprised but appreciated my thank you.

I also guide a first-time agent in the Goodman agency to her assigned table in the very back of the room. During lunch I inquired how she was adjusting and learned about her struggles and book preferences. She likes thrillers and romantic involvement. Yessssss, that’s my book! I make my pitch to her and she asks to see the GOLD FIRE manuscript. Yahoo! I’m in the batters box again.

A few minutes later the fund raising auction begins. The first item is a complete manuscript review by bestselling author Grant Blackwood plus having a character named after the winning bidder in Grant’s next book and a boat named after the winning bidder by author Christine Kling. People hesitate to bid but I wave my arm from the back of the room – “$200”. I’m now being eyeballed by all the agents in the room. A raise to $250. I bump to $300. A raise to $350. I hesitate. (This is getting expensive!) Someone else hollers $400. I finally win at $450. When I return to the table from paying for the item, I ask the agent if she would mind if I delay sending the manuscript until after Blackwood critiques it. She realizes I’m trying to provide a top-notch product and says, “Sure.”

The next day an unpublished author finds me and wants advice on the thriller he’s written. It’s his first book conference and he is as green as I was when I began this adventure. I offer to critique his synopsis. It’s as weak as the first ones I wrote so it is easy to offer some mentoring suggestions. One thing is he didn’t tell the agent the ending of the story. The agent needs to know the story ending. Is it a tragedy or does it have a happy ending. He appreciates my recommended re-wordings.

While talking to him we bump into Irene Goodman (the boss to the agent that asked for my manuscript). The unpublished author has no idea who she is, but I do and introduce her as one of America’s top agents. We all exchange business cards. For once I did not drool or babble. Hopefully, if her agent brings GOLD FIRE to Irene she might remember that I did not act like a buffoon. She mentions wished she could have been on a panel to express her views on several subjects. I tell her I’ll carry her request to the committee chair.

That night as I prepare to leave the conference hotel for my more affordable hotel, I bump into a couple that appear lost. I offer to help and they explain they are looking for the St. Martin’s Press book party. I point out the room they are looking for and persuade them to host me into the by-name-only party. Yes!! I crash St. Martin’s Press book party and smooze for a while getting seen by agents as if I’m one of the chosen ones. I notice one of the most well known authors in America looking at me. I’m sure he’s wondering how the hell I got through the door.

The next night is the awards banquet. Again volunteer-boy performs his good deeds helping get special people seated at reserved tables. The lady-author in charge tells me to fill in at a reserve-table, which is the best table in the house, dead center in front of the stage. Reading the names plates on the table I realize that I’m way out of my league sitting at this table. When almost everyone is seated I’m standing at my post near one of the entrance doors when a very irate attendee comes up to the hostess. He goes ballistic cursing about one of the people seated at his table. It was apparent that he had a bitter business feud with someone. The hostess tries to calm him but is not succeeding so I step over and offer my seat at the best table in the house. This settles the guy down and I get him parked.

The hostess complements me for my help and asks me sit at her table. Turns out one of the finalists for Best New Paperback (author P.J. Parrish An Unquiet Grave) and her agent Maria Carvanis (the one who rejected me) are at the table. P.J. is very nervous. Turns out she has been nominated for eight previous awards but has never won. I mention to her to not worry because last year I sat at a table with one of the finalists and he won. I’m a lucky charm.

Turns out P.J. wins!!!!!! Talk about excited - her not me. Winning a Thriller is a very big achievement. Every judge is a bestselling author. People who know how to write like Alex Kava, C.J. Lyons, and Joseph Finder. Every time I attend Thrillerfest the high talent of the writers I meet impresses me. I realize I have to really write well to be as good as they are.

20 July (Up)
Back home Jack is pestering me again to market the book. I comply by uploading my author bio, book covers and first chapters onto the International Thriller Writers webpage. It is a wonderful asset for thriller authors. If you’d like to see me on the ITWO webpage go to
http://www.thrillerwriters.org/edmitchell

22 July (Up)
I receive an e-mail from Irene Goodman. After twenty years of trying to get to talk to top-flight agents I get an unsolicited e-mail from one. Yowza! She says it was nice meeting me and hopes to do so again in the future. (Apparently, I avoid coming across as a serial killer.) I respond that I did take her request to the committee and next year she most likely would have the opportunity to be on a panel. I hope she concludes that I follow through on a promise. A good trait for an author who has to deliver a book on deadline.

05 Aug (Up)
Alan Caruba released his review on GOLD FIRE! I’ve noticed sales have picked up since he wrote, “Having recommended Mitchell’s previous novels, I can tell you this one will have you spellbound as well.” For the full review go to http://www.bookviews.com/ and scroll down to the novels section.

20 Aug (Up)
A third review is released by Jack Quick reviewing for bookbitch.com Not the softest name for a website but the gal who runs it is well known and respected in the thriller community for the reviews she posts. Jack writes about GOLD FIRE. “This techno-thriller grabs you up front and doesn’t let go. … A juiced Tom Clancy stay-up-all-night read, and you won’t even need any black coffee…”

Twenty years ago when I sat down to write the saga of an Iraq war hero, his family, and Maida the woman he falls in love with — I wanted to write better than Clancy. But I felt some of his techniques made it difficult for the reader to follow the plot and he was light on the relationships between the characters. This review means a great deal to me. Seems my approach to thrillers has merit.

26 Aug (Up)
I’m at the State fair selling books at the California Authors booth. We are beside the food court so there is steady foot traffic. This year I have my series of books lined up in front of me. Instead of selling one at a time, now I’m selling three at a time because folks want the complete series. Later in the evening during a lull, I’m sitting at one of the food tables when two teenage girls come by. Each is holding a sign declaring “Free Hugs.” Since part of the job description for male authors is hard drinking and wooing women, I smile and hug the first gal. I inquire why they are our hugging folks and she says they are just spreading love around the world. (It’s California.)

I reply, “Does this work for guys too?” Taking her sign I turn around and there is this incredible 20-something buxon woman standing a few feet away watching us. I smile and say “free hugs.” She laughs enjoying the flirtation. Then her knuckle-dragging big boy friend steps forward. I give the sign back to the teenager and slink back to my booth.

And the adventure continues.

——————————————
Please pass this newsletter on to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at ed@BooksByMitchell.com However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic lives just reply back that you want to unsubscribe and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.
——————————————
P.S. If you want to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/books.htm

Ed Mitchell,
Charter Founding Member of the International Thriller Writers Organization and Author of:

GOLD LUST
>> Winner: National Publishers Award for BEST NEW FICTION
in the USA & Canada from a small press
>> Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST MYSTERY THRILLER

GOLD RAID
>> Regional Winner: Sacramento Publisher & Authors Fiction
Award for BEST ACTION BOOK.
>> Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST ACTION-ADVENTURE-THRILLER

GOLD FIRE
>> International Thriller released in 2007

Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books
at http://www.booksbymitchell.com
& Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter

Consultant to Emerging Authors
http://www.booksbymitchell.com/consulting.htm

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907
E-mail ed@booksbymitchell.com
831-663-1021
Fax 831-663-5629
Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-34
Gold Lust ISBN: 0-9668447-77
Gold Raid ISBN: 0-9668447-93
Gold Fire ISBN: 978-0-9668447-26

Copyright Aug 2007

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #45

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 11:20 am

From the Author’s Chair, here is newsletter #45 describing my latest ups and downs as I struggle out of the small press arena to become a best selling fiction/thriller author. The strategy: leverage the acclaim and excellent stories of my award winning released books (GOLD LUST, GOLD RAID, & GOLD FIRE ) to influence a major movie company or large press to purchase the rights to my thriller series. The following event descriptions are not polished, just true. Feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends:

>>Highlights: Query packages, Signed an agent, Gold Fire released

05-14 Sept (Up)
With the manuscript for GOLD FIRE written, it’s time for the agent query campaign. Simultaneously going to a number of agents is the best strategy since most will not respond. Over the years I’ve collected fifteen websites that provide excellent data on agents.

US Literary Agents (Everyone) is the best one for up to date contact information and confirming who is still with an agency. Plus, the web site displays letters between agents and rejected authors sending back responses. Often the sarcastic repartee is very funny.
(http://everyonewhosanyone.com/agus1.html)

The Absolute Writers Water Cooler is excellent for gaining feedback from other authors who have or are attempting to land a specific agent.
(http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=792)

Preditors&Editors provides insight into the legitimacy of agents, number of sales, if any fees are charged, etc.
(http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/peala.htm)

I’m scouring the Internet for first-string AAR qualified agents who represent thrillers. Once I find the name of a target agent, I hunt down their address as well as research books they have represented and any information about their education, work experience, etc. I file this intelligence in my agent database. My homework generates thirty-four agents, which I’ve stacked in order of who I will mail to first through last. The early ones seem to me best suited for my story. The latter ones want an exclusive submittal, which means you can’t go to anyone else for at least a month or two.

15 Sept (Up)
After two years of writing GOLD FIRE , I’m anxious to mail query packages containing cover letter, synopsis, and sample pages. But, I bridle my eagerness and first send the package to a retired agent who reviews submittal packages. Better to have an experienced eye locate flaws before I ship anything to someone who will decide on my book career.

16 Sept (Up)
Meanwhile, two copy editors are reading galley versions of my story. It is amazing that errors are always missed until the story is printed in single-space book layout. I pester the editors to find out what they think of the story (after years of writing I have no patience). Each tells me they have had a hard time editing because they are repeatedly hooked into the story, forcing them to re-read sections they are supposed to be editing. Yeaaahhh!!! This is a good sign there is magic within the pages of GOLD FIRE .

22 Sept (Down)
Received feedback from the agent reviewing the query package. This is the first time I’ve never received comments about the sample pages from the manuscript. The agent’s critique only addresses the synopsis. She wants me to do a better job convincing her that the incidents I wove together are plausible.

I learned three lessons from the submittal review:
First, when submitting to an agent, the first page of your story is actually the first page of the synopsis.

Second, if an agent doesn’t like the synopsis, then he or she will not waste their time reading sample pages. Or, if they do read the sample pages they will arrive with a sour, skeptical attitude toward the writing.

Third, I was in too much of a hurry and didn’t devote as much time writing and polishing the synopsis as I did with the story pages.

Time to revise the synopsis to avoid making the same mistake multiple times when I ship the query packages.

25 Sept (Up)
Today I mailed my first wave of e-mail and snail-mail queries. Soon, some of the best agents in America will have the opportunity to select my incredible writing or crush my soul! Actually, what happens most often is that you never receive a response from the agent. I think this is how the God teaches male authors how women feel when guys don’t call them after the first date. I’ve never done that. Honest.

To maximize the chance of getting the query read and receiving a response, I tailor each submittal based upon the intel I’ve gathered. For e-queries, the tailoring begins with the subject line since it may be screened by an assistant for immediate deletion. I hope that “Award Winning Author - Query” will slow down any evil assistants.

I work to build a hook into the first sentence of each cover letter. Some are easy to tailor to show the agents I’m a professional who’s done his research. My best was: “Given your degree in International Relations, I believe you will appreciate my international thriller, GOLD FIRE.” In some openings I mention a request the agent made at a writers conference. I update my agent database with the hook information to later learn what works or doesn’t.

28 Sept (Up)
Received an e-mail from an agent in San Diego. She wants to read the first fifty pages of the manuscript. Yessssss, an intelligent woman! This is a good sign. I try to rein in my enthusiasm.

While awaiting replies, I decided to flip chapter 2 into the chapter 1 position. Instead of beginning with the bad guy, now I’m first presenting the good guy and gal. This way the reader decides to continue on the journey through the book because they want the good characters to survive. Now, the remaining agents to receive a query will experience a different beginning. Perhaps this reconfiguration will help land an agent?

11 Oct (Down)
An agent responded! But, she didn’t believe terrorists would negotiate. $%%#!!!%&*!!

Apparently, the agent doesn’t know that the IRA terrorist organization in Ireland fought its religious enemies and the British for decades, beginning in late-1970. There, the IRA did exactly what I portray in my thriller. They formed a political arm and negotiated while fighting. Similarly, nuclear-armed North Korea and soon-to-be-nuclear-armed Iran negotiate monthly with the U.N. as well as the U.S. Should I expect an agent to know recent and current political history?

Back to revising the synopsis. This time I more clearly explain how a nuclear-armed Muslim terrorist cell could effectively blackmail nations for concessions while politically separating the U.S. from it’s allies, while simultaneously moving forward to nuke American cities. Let’s hope for better responses from the next agents I contact.

12 Oct (Up)
Received an e-mail from an agent saying, “Ed, I am going to pass, although I am sure I will regret it. It appears you are very serious about your craft and related expertise.” He recommends contacting an agent associate of his. Yeah! Apparently, the improved query package does have merit.

Again I Google for agent information. The first file that appears provides the recommended agent’s e-mail and snail-mail contact information. Yes, he handles thrillers! Next I research the authors he represents by reading praise for their books. By typing into the Google search box “Author’s name”+ praise I quickly learn the types of books the agent has sold. This allows me to develop an opening hook:

“Thomas X. Hammes in THE SLING AND THE STONE wrote about the West failing to understand and prepare for guerrilla and insurgent warfare in the 21st century. My international thriller,GOLD FIRE, presents such a scenario. What if America were forced to negotiate with a nuclear-armed al-Qaida?”

I also develop the ending kiss on the cover letter where I praise the agent to leave him feeling good about the query:

“You have a history of discovering innovative authors. I hope I’m one of them and look forward to your decision to read a larger sample of my manuscript.”

Here we go again.

12 Oct (two Up’s)
Yahoo!!! Today I received a letter from the agent in San Diego requesting the complete manuscript. She loves me! Well, maybe not but it seems that my writing keeps interesting her. She’ll now verify whether I can carry the good writing through to the end of the book. I’ll have the manuscript in the mail and on her doorstep in two days.

Also received my first-ever royalty check for an electronic book sale. Cool! I’m sneaking up on Clancy, and he doesn’t know it.

23 Oct (Neutral)
All thirty-four query packages are mailed. If I am rejected by all of those agents I still have three that only accept “exclusive” queries. The computer age aids in quickly contacting agents. This can lead to mass rejections. But hey, I’m a guy. I’m used to it.

28 Oct (Down)
One snail-mail query sent out on the 23 October traveled from California to New York City. Today I received a rejection for it with a 26th October postmark on the envelope. Which means, the day it arrived in New York it was immediately rejected. I doubt the package moved past the receiving counter. Despite the Internet intel that agent must not be accepting any new authors or non-referred authors.

10 Nov (Down)
Bad news again — another rejection letter arrived. Some good news though. She wrote: “GOLD FIRE has much to recommend it. The techno-military elements of the novel are impressive and the story concept is compelling.” Yeah!!! I can write thrillers! “Nonetheless, I will not be able to offer representation. I have reservations about using a main character, Senator Nolen Martin, given the less than salutary opinion the American public has for its political representatives.”

Despite this rejection I like this agent. She took time to explain why she felt she could not sell the book to a publisher. A good-guy politician — yeah, I know it’s a stretch. But it is a fresh approach to write about a politician who actually wants to benefit American families, not merely line his pockets with money.

15 Nov (Up)
The agent in San Diego loves me!!!! She said my writing is “excellent”. This brilliant woman has a track record of selling American thrillers in Hong Kong and recognizes that both Americans and three billion Chinese will love my writing. Just because one of the evil ones in GOLD FIRE is a mainland Chinese guy doesn’t seem to bother her. Yahooo!!!

Now I must decide, will I sign with her? Should I wait to hear from other agents I submitted to or take the first hit on my lure? Let’s see: brilliant agent – lost in fog agents … brilliant – lost … brilliant – lost. Yes, I’ll sign with her.

18 Nov (Up)
Time to review the Author-Agent Agreement. I requested some tighter wording regarding rights. I do not sign away movie, TV, & video rights. Seems a bit early for that. Plus, I have already assigned the short-run printing rights to my current publisher. The agent finds no problem with the wording I suggest.

Now that I’ve signed with an agent, I feel obligated to provide her as much ammunition as I can to make her sales job easier. I send her contact information for an associate editor at Avalon, a subsidiary of a big New York publisher, who requested to see GOLD FIRE whenever it was ready.

20-21 Nov (Up and Down)
My short-run publisher, Jack, told me that the first edition of GOLD FIRE was due into his warehouse and to start selling. The next day I receive another rejection from an agent. The agent explained that she did not think she could sell publishers at this time on a story about America being threatened by terrorists. Very helpful of the agent to take the time to write the letter. I understand why she turned me down.

24-26 Nov (Up)
I’m working long hours throughout the holiday weekend notifying buyers of the first two books in the series, that GOLD FIRE is available. Lots of e-mail chatter back and forth. Plus, I’m busy updating the website and ordering postcards to mail to past buyer who don’t have e-mail addresses. All the work is time consuming, but it is satisfying to see the sales figures rise. Jack just says “keep selling” and “sleep is overrated”. He won’t smile until he sees breakeven, when his financial commitment is covered. Typical publisher.

27 Nov (Down)
One more rejection from an agent I’ve been working to land for several years. A form letter saying: “We receive 1,000 queries a year. We only accept 100.” You didn’t make the top 10%. You suck, Mitchell! Go away. Okay it wasn’t quite that direct. But that was the message. No indication whether the book concept was saleable or not.

08 Dec (Neutral)
My agent (nice sound to that phrase) completed her pre-submittal review of my manuscript before packaging it to deliver to publishers. She did not identify any content changes, just format changes. It is a strange fact that all fiction books are printed right and left justified. But the same publishers require the author submit in left justified format. This forces a downstream reformatting. Seems counter productive in today’s electronic world, but I comply.

In case my agent meets an editor at a publishing house who is not aware of current or past political history, I send her newspaper clippings of articles reporting al-Qaida wanting to negotiate, the U.S. rejecting negotiation, and some terrorist experts claiming al-Qaida is just posturing. Gee, nearly identical to GOLD FIRE scenes. The second article reports the one-vote advantage that Democrats hold over the Republicans to select which party will control the U.S. Senate in 2007 and 08. Again, a story line close to what I present in my thriller. Now, which agent said those aspects of my story were not plausible?

12 Dec (Down & Up)
This morning I received an e-mail rejection from the William Morris agency. At least I know they read the package because I requested e-mail response in lieu of a ¢39 snail-mail. “You’ve put a lot of work into the book but we’re not enthusiastic enough about it.” Not an enjoyable way to start my day with the largest agency in the U.S. passing on my work. However, the sting from the rejection is washed away a few hours later when a fan calls to purchase the 2nd & 3rd book in my series. She told me “Your first book was the best book I’ve ever read, and I read everyone.” Eat dirt William Morris!

Actually, I’ve done well with my agent campaign. I’ve landed an agent plus received a number of replies from agents when it is a drain on their time and cash to write to a rejected author. Those correspondences show that I was nearly accepted by several agents who recognize that downstream I may send them a book proposal that they think would be easier to sell.

And the adventure continues …

——————————————
Please pass this newsletter on to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at ed@BooksByMitchell.com. However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic lives just reply back that you want to be deleted (or unsubscribe) and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.
——————————————
P.S. If you want to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/books.htm

Ed Mitchell,
Charter Founding Member of the International Thriller Writers Organization and Author of:

GOLD LUST
>> Winner: National Publishers Award for BEST NEW FICTION
in the USA & Canada from a small press
>> Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST MYSTERY THRILLER

GOLD RAID
>> Regional Winner: Sacramento Publisher & Authors Fiction
Award for BEST ACTION BOOK.
>> Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST ACTION-ADVENTURE-THRILLER

GOLD FIRE
>> International Thriller released November 2006

Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books
at http://www.booksbymitchell.com
& sign up for the author’s humorous newsletter

Consultant to emerging authors
http://www.booksbymitchell.com/consulting.htm

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907
E-mail ed@booksbymitchell.com
831-663-1021 Fax 831-663-5629

Available thrillers:
Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-34
Gold Lust ISBN: 0-9668447-77
Gold Raid ISBN: 0-9668447-93
Gold Raid ISBN: 978-0-9668447-26

Copyright Dec 2006

August 22, 2006

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #44

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 9:59 pm

Friends,

From the Author’s Chair, here is newsletter #44 describing my latest up’s and down’s as I struggle out of the small press arena to become a best selling fiction/thriller author. The strategy: leverage the acclaim and excellent stories of my award winning released books (GOLD LUST & GOLD RAID) to entice a major movie company or large press to purchase the rights to my Gold Lust series. The following event descriptions are not polished, just true. Feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends:

>>Highlights: Endorsements, Thrillerfest, Hunting Agents

Dec 17 (Neutral)
I sent an e-mail to a bestselling author of 186 action and thriller novels, requesting an endorsement for the back cover of GOLD FIRE. In this business the mantra is ‘don’t be shy’. I’m definitely going to one of the top stars in the thriller community. Michael may be inundated with such requests, or doesn’t have the time or doesn’t want to provide blurbs of any type. If I get the endorsement I’ll be grateful to Michael.

He is married to his editor. So if he accepts to look at a few pages of the manuscript, I’d expect his wife will read them too. If I get the blurb it will indicate my writing meets professional standards. However, in this business you can’t be afraid of honest feedback and rejection. Okay, I admit it. I became an author because I’m into sadomasochism. Yes! Yes! Whip me. Beat me. Poke me in the eye.

Also sent a request for endorsement to a national expert on terrorists. Recently, in the newspapers he was ripped for suggesting America negotiate with al-Qaeda. I must have been the only glimmer of understanding this week when I e-mailed him and told him I appreciated what he was trying to explain to people because I postulated such a scenario in GOLD FIRE.

Dec 18 (Up)
The publisher is so cheap (that’s a compliment to publishers) that he doesn’t want to spend any money paying royalties to use a photo of a terrorist on the GOLD FIRE cover. So he asked me if I had any suggestions. After our discussion, the next thing I know I’m dressed in black with a stocking cap covering my face while I glare out the cut out eye holes as I brandish a pistol at a photographer. I’m not sure this is a good career move? But the cheap one is happy and sends the digital photo off to the cover designer.

Dec 21 (Up)
Received a great endorsement from bestselling author Michael Newton author of The Executioner and Mack Bolan action adventure series and the bestselling Armed and Dangerous. Nice to have an established author think I can write thrillers.

Also received a great quote about the new book, from an Army Colonel friend of mine. Thanks Skip! Of course, he might have given it to me because I save his life a few times, and was a boon to his career when we served together in Korea guarding the Demilitarized Zone. He always claims he saved my life. Picky, picky, picky.

Jan 9 (Down)
For months I have been wooing a national expert on terrorism and strategy to provide an endorsement for the back cover of GOLD FIRE. After reviewing one chapter he said, “Marvelous thought-provoking thriller.” However, he also said he could not provide and endorsement unless the Navy, who he works for, gave their approval. I countered that I did not want to identify his Navy affiliation; only that he is an author of several books on negotiation and terrorism.

Belay that landlubber!!!! Someone in the Navy is concerned that even if I don’t identify how my expert serves the military service, he is so well known that readers will feel the Navy is endorsing my book. Yeah, right! The expert is buried in the bowels of the Navy school system.

Stifling my urge to find a crab and step on it, I package a copy of the manuscript for the expert with a cover letter explaining how the Navy is not even mentioned in the story, how the military is presented in a realistic fashion, and that all of the military technology (except how I fictionalized extending the capability) can be found in open sources. First, I considered signing the cover letter ‘Jules Vern’ but controlled myself, knowing that some in the Navy are still irritated at Jules for letting out secrets about submarines by writing 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Then I thought I’d sign the letter Mohammed Mitchell and send a real blast of air up their torpedo tubes. My wife slaps me twice to make me control the interpersonal skills I honed in the army.

We’ll see how long it takes to get an answer.

5 May (Down)
Guess what? The Navy said no.

17 May (Up)
Well at least I’m rubbing elbows with a better crowd of writers. I’m signed up to attend the first ever Thrillerfest book conference. If you want to see my name among the brilliant stars of thriller authors, go to
http://www.thrillerwriters.org/thrillerfest/attendees.html. Here are a few writers you might recognize:

Matt Baldacci Elizabeth Becka Sinclair Browning Lee Child
Clive Cussler Dirk Cussler David Dun John Lescroart
Gayle Lynds Ed Mitchell David B. Morrell Michael Newton
James Rollins MJ Rose M. Diane Vogt

I’m also scheduled to be on a panel discussing “Killer Settings”. I think I was picked because I’m one of the founding members of ITWO and because some folks have read my books and like how I describe scenes.

29-31 June (Up)
I’m at Thrillerfest standing around hobnobbing with some of the best selling thriller writers in the world. I walk over to John Lescroart (pronounced Less-Squaw and seller of 8 million books). Reminded him that we first met two years earlier when he was in Sacramento at the awards banquet when GOLD RAID won the best action-adventure award from the Northern California Publishers and Authors Organization. John is very supportive of NCPA and up and coming authors like little old me.

The next day I’m working the reception desk. This is one way to see and become know by people attending the conference, preferably, agents and publishers. I’m cracking jokes and making the volunteers laugh. Also complimented the volunteer chairperson for all her hard work. Made a number of suggestions on ways to improve the conference next year when it will be in New York City. I’m plotting now which of my friends I’ll cajole into letting me stat in their apartment in New York City for Thrillerfest 2.

It is a wonderful conference. All the panels are about subjects that thriller writers write about: autopsies, knife fighting, nuclear explosions, gang riots, CIA missions. The autopsy panel is the funniest. The panel members, several are doctors, made a video skit about a coroner investigating an actual case to determine the cause of death of a body found in a street in Miami. I laughed a lot and learned a lot. Some of the photos of the body during autopsy bothered a few attendees.

Would have been nice if such a conference existed when I first started writing. Talking to professionals who have struggled with similar technical or writing problems is really helpful when hunting for a solution.

Before another panel began I was doing my normal “work the crowd routine” by introducing myself to readers attending the event. While shaking the hand of one lady I notice her nametag said AGENT!!!!! I didn’t let her hand go. Smiled, quickly sat down next to her and slid my arm around the back of her chair. “Courageous of you to wear a nametag telling folks you are an agent. Hi, come her often.” At least, my approach was creative enough to make her laugh. While she tried to tug her hand out of my iron clasp I quickly summarized the premise of GOLD FIRE. With her free hand she shoved her business card at me, “Send me your completed manuscript.”

Now most people might think this is a good sign. But I’m wondering why she didn’t ask for the standard “first fifty pages”. Most agents make a decision to read a manuscript only after they have seen a sample of the author’s writing. Maybe the agent was just trying to escape or thought I didn’t have the manuscript ready to be sent to her. Wrong! “I’ll have it in the mail the day after I fly home,” was my reply. One more time, wily author out maneuvers agent.

The crowd attending the Killer Settings panel is about fifty percent authors. There are five authors on the panel. I know I’m doing well when I spot a number of authors in the audience nodding as I explain “that the setting is the only chameleon character in a thriller that is in every scene, which the author must introduce over and over in interesting ways.” They understand. Nice to know that I have some skills that other authors recognize and can use.

Clive Cussler was received the lifetime achievement award at the first Thriller Awards ceremony. He has sold over 170 million copies of his adventure thrillers. It is always interesting to listen to bestselling authors talk about starving and being shunned while trying to be picked up by one of the large New York publishers. Gives up and comers like me hope.

5 July (Up)
Back home, I’m chasing agents once again — this time for GOLD FIRE. To added to my database of thriller agents I’m searching the Internet to build the final list of authors I will send queries to. It takes several days of work to verify which agents handle international and espionage thrillers, not medical thrillers or other types. I’m seeking agents who know the genre and who know how to sell it to the big publishers in New York.

I love the Internet. It’s a wonderful tool. Much quicker to find agents than searching through the last edition of Literary Marketplace. Much quicker that reading the acknowledgment page in books written by thriller authors to find the name of their agent. That technique sucks. It came out of the Dark Ages. Only one time have I ever found an agent named on an acknowledgment page. Plus the data is years old and the agent could currently not be accepting queries or be retired or dead.

I use 10 websites to search and find 44 agents that I select to send query packages to.

I find that the Everyone website is best for current addresses, e-mails and finding the agency that a literary agent is currently with. Plus, it is hilarious to read the e-mails between the site owner and agents our to the big houses who rejected him or another aspiring author.
http://everyonewhosanyone.com/agus1.html

Two websites help steer me away from bad agents:
Predators and Editors is a great site to get an estimate of the integrity of the agent.
http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/peala.htm

Augmenting P&E, the Water Cooler further allowed me to read the experience or gather additional information that other authors have had about a specific agent.
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/

Since half the agents now accept e-mail queries (e-queries, as I call them), knowing which agents accept e-queries and knowing their e-mail addresses is an asset. Writers-Free-Reference lists such information.
http://www.writers-free-reference.com/agents/

When hunting for agents by regions I used the Bookforce website.
http://www.bookforce.bizland.com/id36.html

I found confirming or additional information at six other sites.
http://www.editinggallery.com/agents.htm
http://www.publication.com/aylad/aaragent.htm
http://www.fictionaddiction.net/listings/agentsk.html
http://www.zoominfo.com/directory/Kellogg_Jeffrey_500816015.htm
http://www.katfeete.net/writing/agents.html
http://orangecow.org/art/agents2.txt

During the next six months we’ll see which of the 44 agents appreciates the merits of GOLD FIRE and wants to represent me.

And the adventure continues.

——————————————
Please pass this newsletter on to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at ed@BooksByMitchell.com. However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic lives just reply back that you want to be deleted (or unsubscribe) and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.
——————————————
P.S. If you want to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/books.htm

Ed Mitchell,
Charter Founding Member of the International Thriller Writers Organization and Author of:

GOLD LUST
>>Winner: National Publishers Award for BEST NEW
FICTION in the USA & Canada from a small press
>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST MYSTERY THRILLER
GOLD RAID
>>Regional Winner: Sacramento Publisher & Authors Fiction Award for BEST ACTION BOOK.
>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST ACTION-ADVENTURE-THRILLER

GOLD FIRE
>>International Thriller to be published in 2007

>>Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books
at http://www.booksbymitchell.com
& Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter

Consultant to Emerging Authors
http://www.booksbymitchell.com/consulting.htm

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907
E-mail ed@booksbymitchell.com
831-663-1021
Fax 831-663-5629
Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-3-4
Gold Lust ISBN: 0-9668447-7-7
Gold Raid ISBN: 0-9668447-9-3

Copyright Aug 2007

December 21, 2005

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #43

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 1:37 pm

Friends,

From the Author’s Chair, this is newsletter #43 describing my latest up’s and down’s as I struggle from the small press arena to become a best selling fiction/thriller author. The strategy: leverage the acclaim and excellent stories of my current award-winning thrillers (Gold Lust & Gold Raid) to influence a major film company or large press to purchase the rights to my Gold Lust series. The following description of events is not polished, but it shares true emotions of being an author. Feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends:

>>Highlights: New title, Editor moved, Milestone

Sept 5 (Neutral)
Daily, I devote time to writing the third thriller, pushing myself to complete it. Simultaneously, I’m considering if I should change the title. For years, I’ve felt the title GOLD FIRE was appropriate. Maybe Allah’s Avengers would be a wiser choice.

The perfect title meets three criteria:
#1: Intrigues the book reader looking to buy to pick up the book.
#2: Conveys the type of story the reader will experience.
#3: Prevents publishers from worrying it could turn off a portion of the buying market.

The words, GOLD FIRE do not describe that the story is about a terrorist attack on the U.S. But, when combined with the cover art, this problem might disappear.

Allah’s Avengers meets the first two criteria, but the publisher might think Allah’s Avengers is politically incorrect since the title might offend Muslims.

Neither title satisfies all three criteria. When I quiz friends which one do they prefer, some like one, some like the other. But it is difficult enough to sell to a large New York press without creating an additional obstacle. So, I’m sticking with GOLD FIRE as the title.

Sept 27 (Up)
I took two days vacation from writing to hunt for gold. An author friend who lives along the Consumes River south of Sacramento invited me to look for gold in her section of the river. The first day I floated the stream in my dive suit hunting for nuggets and where to sluice. Since the air temperature was hot and the water was not too cold I did not become a popscicle. Instead, I became one with the trout in the stream. As long as I moved slowly they gawked at me as much as I gawked at them. The second day I dug dirt and gravel from an island and sluiced the material. Came up with enough yellow to impress my friend.

I left the gold for her grandchildren. May have ruined the little ones for life, infecting them gold fever and the urge to hunt for treasure right outside their grandmother’s door.

Sept 29 (Up)
Another author friend, Sue Ann Jaffarian, writes the award-winning Odelia Grey Series with a lot of humor in her mysteries. She went under contract with a publisher earlier in the year. Today she told me that her book Too Big to Kill will be released in 2006. She said the publisher used a quote of mine in the front matter of her book. It’s nice to know a medium-sized publisher likes my quotes. Heck, how about buying my thriller GOLD FIRE?

For those interested, Sue Ann’s website is found at: http://www.sueannjaffarian.com/

Oct 6 (Up)
While attending the Ozark Creative Writers conference, I learned that editor Dan Slater (who asked me to submit GOLD FIRE along with the two earlier released thrillers) left Penguin for Amazon. That answers my concerns why he never responded to the submittal. In today’s publishing industry there is much editor-replacement and editor-movement. The big publishers keep their costs down by replacing older editors with younger staff. Since only twenty percent of the published fiction makes profit, it seems all a gamble and a guess on which books will do well. So I can understand the bean-counter mentality to replace more expensive guessers with cheaper ones.

26 Oct (Up)
The local Grange invited me back to participate as a ‘local author’ in one of their annual events. It’s always encouraging to sell and hear previous buyers order me to hurry up and finish the next book so they can buy it.

29 Oct (Down)
My agent calls. Seven months after submitting to Penguin, she received a letter from the editor who replaced Dan Slater. “Mr. Mitchell is a talented writer. However, it is a very difficult market to sell into and we will not be able to represent his work at this time.” Bite me! A courteous rejection but it still means I did not render the story well enough.

I won’t submit GOLD FIRE again until I have it fully edited. Better to wait rather than submit the manuscript to someone with even one error in the first two chapters.

03 Nov (Big Up)
Today is a milestone for me. I completed the last chapter of GOLD FIRE, my international thriller.

In August 1981, I began a journey to write three thrillers revealing the saga of a soldier from a blue-collar family living in modern-day California. Along the way the hero becomes a counter-terrorist. At that time, I considered writing the most commercial story first (the international thriller) where terrorists attack America by triggering sleeper cells inside our borders. I knew it would be the most commercial of the three stories and the better choice to land a contract with a large publishing house. But, (silly me) my heart wanted to tell the story from the beginning.

Fast forward to 11 September 2001: My first two thrillers are published and I am writing the third book (Black Camel) when the twin towers collapse. A week later, when the FBI begins warning Americans about the types of attacks I have posed in Black Camel I recognize that I have too accurately forecasted the future, too accurately analyzed how terrorists could successful kill my neighbors using munitions readily available in the U.S. Since I did not want to teach terrorists easy ways to harm Americans, I set aside that story and moved on to GOLD FIRE. Months of progress towards release of the third thriller are lost.

Today, however, is a good day. Like climbing a high mountain, I’ve reached the summit, the halfway point in my journey. Looking back I’m amazed at my author experiences:
>>The first time I saw my debut thriller on the shelf of a bookstore
>>Participating in the California sesquicentennial (150 year celebration) holding a gold nugget worth $250,000 on the steps of the state capital
>>Creating writing exercises that fourth-graders enjoy doing
>>The many book tour events where I made people laugh
>>The wonderful people I’ve met
>>Hearing readers thank me for writing my stories
>>And the luck of winning some awards.

All it took was spending thousands of hours sitting alone like a hermit, writing, rewriting, swearing, rewriting, being rejected by publishers, more swearing – but persisting and forcing myself to improve my writing skills after the rejections.

To get down this mountain I only have to listen to several picky editors and polish GOLD FIRE over and over – just a few more months until the next submittal.

10 Nov (Up)
A seller on http://www.alibris.com/ is offering my national award-wining hardback, GOLD RUSH 2000 for $41.12. Now — there is a person with a good eye for quality. However, readers can still purchase autographed copies for the original sale price of $24.95 by contacting my publisher or myself or Amazon.com.

Dec 7 (Neutral)
As a founding charter member of the International Thriller Writers organization I want to invite you to attend the world premier of the International Festival of Thrillers. We call it ThrillerFest. Meet your favorite best selling thriller authors at the fabulous Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona from June 29 to July 2, 2006.

ThrillerFest is designed especially for readers and writers of thriller fiction. Here’s a sample of the agenda:
>>Meet authors Douglas Preston, Brad Meltzer, R.L. Stine and John Lescroart

>>Listen to David Morrell discuss the making of his groundbreaking novel, First Blood, into the movie Rambo.

>>Attend a Readers Reception in which ITW’s THRILLER anthology will be unveiled and sold for the first time; and then attend the ITW Awards Banquet where the first annual International Thriller Awards will be presented.

To register or learn more, go to www.ThrillerFest.com. Early Bird Registration is only $195 and the Biltmore is providing a special discounted block of rooms set aside for ThrillerFest attendees. Hurry, they’re going fast!

And the adventure continues.

——————————————
Please pass this newsletter to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at ed@BooksByMitchell.com. However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic day just reply to this e-mail with “unsubscribe” and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.
——————————————
P.S. If you wish to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/books.htm

Ed Mitchell,
Charter Founding Member of the International Thriller Writers Organization and Author of:

GOLD LUST
>>Winner: National Publishers Award for BEST NEW
FICTION in the USA & Canada from a small press
>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST MYSTERY THRILLER
GOLD RAID
>>Regional Winner: Sacramento Publisher & Authors Fiction Award for BEST ACTION BOOK.
>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST ACTION-ADVENTURE-THRILLER

GOLD FIRE
>>International Thriller to be published in 2006

>>Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books
at http://www.booksbymitchell.com
& Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter

Consultant to Emerging Authors
http://www.booksbymitchell.com/consulting.htm

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907
E-mail ed@booksbymitchell.com
831-663-1021
Fax 831-663-5629
Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-3-4
Gold Lust ISBN: 0-9668447-7-7
Gold Raid ISBN: 0-9668447-9-3

Copyright Dec 2005

August 6, 2005

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #42

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 9:12 am

————————
Friends,

From the Author’s Chair, here is newsletter #42 describing my latest up’s and down’s as I struggle out of the small press arena to become a best selling fiction/thriller author. The strategy: leverage the acclaim and excellent stories of my currently award winning released books (Gold Lust, Gold Raid) to influence a major movie company or large press to purchase the rights to my Gold Lust series. The following event descriptions are not polished, just true. Feel free to forward this news letter to your friends:

>>Highlights: Thriller org, Vampire’s answer, Panel Moderator

10 Jan (Up)
Twenty years ago when I came up with the idea of a three book series with a terrorist attack on America in the third book there was no thriller organization, like Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, etc. Men and women writing thrillers had to do it all on our own. No support or sharing of techniques on how to write thrillers well.

So I’m proud to announce that in the last few weeks I became a charter member of the International Thriller Writers organization. We launched the organization this year. You can see my name on the website at http://www.thrillerwriters.org with some big name authors. It is a great resource for thriller writers.

Only problem is that the by laws have a clause that a member is not considered an author unless they are out of a “commercial” house. This means a large press out of New York or one of the mid-size presses. This turns out to be a bummer for all the authors out of smaller houses. I tried to get the group to take a “guild” approach where there are classes of authors: masters, journeymen, and apprentice. Nope! Won’t do it.

I’m not pleased with this resistance. It is apparent that the group is strongly focused on furthering the established authors’ business contacts with the large presses. From my perspective the group hasn’t yet demonstrated much concerned about encouraging emerging writers. So I’m a bit of an albatross for the group since I’m not from a commercial house. Oops, one of the outsiders slipped in. Anyway, I’m going to use the networking events to introduce my thrillers to editors.

28 Jan (Down, Up)
Still waiting for an answer from the agent I met with in late-October and sent my submittal to the first week in November. She was hot to trot then, even called me. Now the long silence which is the sign of a Vampire agent. No communications after several months typically means NO!. Being my persistent self and believing in business manners I chase her down via her cell phone. “Oh, there was suppose to be a letter sent to you.” Yeah, well it still hasn’t arrived as I post this e-mail to the web. And a simple e-mail could have been sent out once a month by the agent’s office to rejected authors instead of wasting time. But vampires don’t care. It is the way of the industry. Time to try another agent.

30 Jan (Up)
Went to sign up at the West Point alumni website for my 35th class reunion and there are two of my book covers. Yowza! Big Bites for my classmate Frank Monaco. Pulled me right out of my slump.

10 Feb (Up)
Rue Morgue bookstore in Colorado is attending LCC05 and e-mailed my publisher offering to sell GOLD LUST & GOLD FIRE at the conference. Nice to be asked instead of having to ask.

11-15 Feb (Neutral)
I’m judging again this year for another California author organization. I’m still not pleased with self-help books where the author mistakenly thought self-help meant help-themselves and not the reader. I score those books low on that factor.

16 Feb (Up)
My second attempt at getting an agent worked. I went back to a lady that teamed with me on my first book. She reviewed my submittal and the first 50 pages of my Gold Fire manuscript. An angle, my new agent, she wrote me today: “Hi Ed, the package will go out tomorrow to NAL Penguin Group. Excellent job packaging it, good job writing, and the other two books look wonderful. I’m proud of you.”

Support like this is what keeps me at it.

20 Feb (Up)
Learned my books are being carried by http://www.bokpris.com in Sweden. My international fame is growing by leaps and bounds. OK, creeps and crawls. Are there Swedish author groupies?

24-27 Feb (Up)
I’m at Left Coast Crime in El Paso Texas. I got approved, set up, and moderated the first ever thriller panel at LCC. It turns out to be the inaugural ITW panel. A little history being made by me even though I’m not from a “commercial” house. I structured the panel with three best selling authors and two emerging authors (including myself). Michael Newton sat with me. He has 186 novels published and most were best selling books. He is a really down to earth nice guy. He ghost wrote for several years then married his editor. She’s really nice to. I also had Barry Eisler who has the best selling John Rain thriller series. Plus best selling author David Dun agreed to be on the panel. Chester D. Campbell joined us. He has three books out but isn’t from a commercial house. And little old me. It went well and we entertained the crowd. Several attendees came up afterward and said I was an excellent moderator.

Mar 17-19 (Up)
Ironstone Vineyards Gold Jewelry store invited me to sell during their spring flower show. I agreed and drove up to Murphys (an old gold town) in the California gold country. I did excellent again even though a late-spring monsoon drenched the area cutting attendance.

The first night at a friend’s house The Great Creator decided I wasn’t alert enough at 5 a.m. to be writing on Gold Fire. So fifty feet from my bed he sent a lightning bolt. Yikes! Now I know what it looks like inside a nuclear blast. After I peel myself off the ceiling, I run outside and check if there is a fire. The lightning bolt only slashed down the side of a pine tree blasting bark off the tree and leaving a white scar. My hearing gradually returns.

June 3 (Down)
I finally received the rejection package from the vampire agent. It was mailed 31 May. What a slow, unprofessional, costly way of doing business. The agent could have had a staff member send out a monthly reject e-mail and avoided the cost/time for staff to package rejected manuscripts. And why go to the effort six months after receiving the submittal and five months after making the decision to reject?

August 5 (Down)
I’ve been frustrated for several months. I haven’t heard from Penguin and it’s almost six months since they’ve had the package. The long silence is starting to get to me. Plus the vampire agent earlier this year, and dealing with the ITW which is kind of a old-boys club has been grinding on me. So I’ve been slow in sending out my newsletter. But talking to all of you today has been good medicine. I’m out of my funk and will keep plugging away. Gold Fire is turning out to be a very good story. I’m proud of it. Have to finish a few chapters and edit. But it is better than most of the thrillers on the book shelves.

Thanks.

And the adventure continues.

——————————————
Please pass this newsletter on to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at ed@BooksByMitchell.com However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic lives just reply back that you want to be deleted (or unsubscribe) and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.
——————————————
P.S. If you want to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/books.htm

Ed Mitchell, Author of:
GOLD LUST
>>Winner: National Publishers Award for BEST NEW
FICTION in the USA & Canada from a small press
>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST MYSTERY THRILLER
GOLD RAID
>>Regional Winner: Sacramento Publisher & Authors Fiction Award for BEST ACTION BOOK.
>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST ACTION-ADVENTURE-THRILLER

>>Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books
at http://www.booksbymitchell.com
& Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter

Consultant to Emerging Authors
http://www.booksbymitchell.com/consulting.htm

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907
E-mail ed@booksbymitchell.com
831-663-1021
Fax 831-663-5629
Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-3-4
Gold Lust ISBN 0-9668447-7-7
Gold Raid ISBN 0-9668447-9-3

Copyright Aug 2005

January 3, 2005

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #41

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 10:55 pm

Friends,

From the Author’s Chair, here is newsletter #41 describing my latest up’s and down’s as I struggle out of the small press arena to become a best selling fiction/thriller author. The strategy: leverage the acclaim and excellent stories of my currently award winning released books (Gold Lust, Gold Raid) to influence a major movie company or large press to purchase the rights to my Gold Lust series. The following event descriptions are not polished, just true. Feel free to forward this news letter to your friends:

>>Highlights: State Fair, Pitching an Editor, Vampires

Mea culpa to Kim, who has been encouraging my career year after year, and who attended my award ceremony in Sacramento, and who I failed to thank in my last newsletter. Kim, thanks for all the support.

1-4 Sep (Up)

At the California State Fair, held in Sacramento, I was one of sixteen northern California award winning authors that manned the “Uniquely California” building. We presented our books to the public along side displays of movies, computers and other inventions that have been developed in this state. I was proud to be part of the exhibit. Californians have contributed a great deal to the U.S. and to the world. Nice to be considered good enough to represent the state’s authors. I sold well, too.

Always keeping my ego in check I noticed we were in competition for the public’s attention with the cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and ducks who qualified to attend by winning awards at the county fairs held earlier in the year. We pooped less, but the animals got petted much more.

6-10 Oct (Up)

Earlier in the year, an author friend who is an event committee person on the Ozark Writers Conference encouraged me to attend the conference. I agreed before I realized how far I would have to go to get there. Being cheap I used my frequent flyer miles to get to Dallas, but then had to drive many hours to Eureka Springs, AK. Past where they filmed the movie Deliverance. I actually passed a kid playing the banjo.

I was very impressed by the quality of authors who attended and were panel members. The Missouri, Arkansas, and North Texas areas have excellent writers. I asked the Arkansas Poet Laureate to critique a lullaby I’m including in my next thriller. One more time, instead of doing easy writing, I’m stretching. Since I chose not to have children, writing a lullaby is a real challenge. The poet gave me some good ideas.

Best of all I cornered the thriller editor for Penguin Publishing who had flown in from New York. I gave him a five minute description of the book concept for GOLD FIRE. Five minutes to try and change your destiny.

I structured the pitch into six sections:

1 What is the book concept?

2 Can the author write?

3 Does the author have the expertise to write this counter-terrorism thriller?

4 Can the author sell/market this book?

5 What Rights are Available?

6 What Risks has the author already reduced for the Publisher?

I rehearsed the pitch for an hour before the meeting, get an introduction and delivered the material.

All the years of learning how to do this business came together. For once, I didn’t flub the delivery. And the editor said all the things you want to hear from an editor:

“Very commercial”

“Timely. Sounds like it came out of last night’s presidential debate”

“Fit’s our line of books”

“Send me the first fifty pages and I’ll take a look.”

“Include your first two books. I may want reprint rights.”

Only one small, tiny, itsy-bitsy problem. I can’t submit to Penguin without an agent. I didn’t tell the editor I was currently without one. Not to worry, I’ve got a package in front of an agent, and when I get back home I’ll learn if she’ll sign me.

14 Oct (Down)

Another agent rejection. I’ve concluded that all agents are vampires. They tantalize unsuspecting authors to approach them by offering the lure of getting published, gaining fame and amassing riches. Then they pounce on the poor authors and suck the blood of life out of their souls. Joy killers!!! And they always time their joy-sucking to happen immediately after the author gets incredibly high on hope based on some crumb of accomplishment tossed their way.

Next time I send out a query package I’ll slip a little silver dust into the envelope. Hee, hee, hee!!!

Of course, maybe my writing could be better. Back to editing before I send the next query package out.

15 Oct (Up)

Earlier in the year, the publisher at Cypress House Press recommended I submit to agent Nancy Ellis Bell. Checking the Internet I learn that she is hosting a Fiction Writing retreat in two weeks in Mendocino, several hundred miles north of my home. So I call to sign up and the agent picks up the phone when I explain who recommended me. We talk and I quickly tell her I’ve landed a request from the Penguin editor for a package and want to polish it and send it to her thirty days after the retreat. She’s interested.

Humm…vampire or angel?

29-30 Oct (Up)

At the Fiction retreat Nancy Ellis Bell has read my manuscript and knows the name of my characters. She likes several and she likes the concept of GOLD FIRE: the son of Osama bin Laden steals mobile nuclear ICBMs out of southern Russia with the goal of vaporizing Ft. Knox and all the gold bullion in the U.S.

A good sign! Plus, she accepts my offer to polish the first fifty pages and return the package for consideration. An editor from Carroll & Graf Publishing, in New York, also likes the concept and encourages me to consider sending the package to them.

Hurrah! So I’ve finally came up with a great book concept. Now all I have to do is write a flawless fifty pages.

1-28 Nov (Neutral)

I start my editor review process. I send the first chapter to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. She wants me to tone down the religious talk by the bad guy. But she likes the Chinese spy and several sections of dialogue. Another editor in Missouri very quickly goes through the fifty pages and points out several viewpoint jumps and some areas that are not clear to the reader. My excellent copy editor points out punctuation and grammar improvements. I take all the input and start rewriting, rewriting, rewriting. By the time I get sick of it I let the wife-editor, read the latest version. Quickly I’m back to rewriting. Yuk! But by the time I finish I really like the four chapters I’m sending to the agent.

29-30 Nov (Neutral)

I work two days putting together the proposal package. I don’t just stuff the fifty pages into an envelope and mail. I consider what the agent’s needs are and try to provide a first cut of all the information she might need to sell the book to the editor, including my marketing budget and my post-release plans for marketing the thriller. I’m hoping that by conveying that I am committed to selling the book will shore up any weaknesses in the writing. Not that there are any. It’s perfect. Each word a gem.

The package was a half-inch thick and includes:

#1 Book Proposal information that hooked the Penguin Editor

#2 Mitchell’s PR & Marketing Plan & Budget

#3 Title Page

#4 Sample Chapters (50 pages)

#5 Book Synopsis

#6 Book Table of Contents

#7 Chapter Outline

#8 Sketches of Continuing Characters

#9 Author Biography

#10 Author Photo

3 Dec (Up-Down)

The agent called to verify she had received the package.

Well, that is a very positive sign. Maybe she’s an angel?

She told me it would take thirty days to review the package and that “the outlook was positive and my writing was decent”.

DECENT? Aaaahhh…it needs more work. Will she trust I can make the changes quickly or will she turn into a vampire? Aaaahhh…now we wait.

And the adventure continues.

——————————————

Please pass this newsletter on to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at ed@BooksByMitchell.com However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic lives just reply back that you want to be deleted (or unsubscribe) and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.

——————————————

P.S. If you want to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/books.htm

Ed Mitchell, Author of:

GOLD LUST

>>Winner: National Publishers Award for BEST NEW

FICTION in the USA & Canada from a small press

>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent

Publishers award for BEST MYSTERY THRILLER

GOLD RAID

>>Regional Winner: Sacramento Publisher & Authors Fiction Award for BEST ACTION BOOK.

>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent

Publishers award for BEST ACTION-ADVENTURE-THRILLER

>>Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books

at http://www.booksbymitchell.com

& Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter

Consultant to Emerging Authors

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/consulting.htm

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907

E-mail ed@booksbymitchell.com

831-663-1021

Fax 831-663-5629

Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-3-4

Gold Lust ISBN 0-9668447-7-7

Gold Raid ISBN 0-9668447-9-3

Copyright Jan 2005

November 13, 2004

From the Author’s Chair,newsletter #40

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 3:32 pm

Friends,

From the Author’s Chair, here is newsletter #40 describing my latest up’s and down’s as I struggle out of the small press arena to become a best selling fiction/thriller author. The following event descriptions are not polished, just true. Feel free to forward this news letter to your friends:

>>Highlights: On tour, the Movie Gold Lust, State Fair

04 May (Up)

Twenty-seven autographed books out the door today. Six going to newspapers in five different states who REQUESTED review copies through my announcement in the Publishers Marketing Associates’ review program! The PMA program is a low-cost way of getting national exposure to newspaper reviewers.

05 May (Down)

Received news on the Writer’s Digest international book awards for genre fiction. The judges said about GOLD RAID:

“You have a great book here. The plot was taut and hit the reader from the first page. You had both excellent characters and a rip-roaring plot…The hero was three-dimensional and surrounded by people who cared about him…It was on our shortlist of books for the award.”

And I STILL LOST! Being number 4 or 400 makes no difference because you can’t market yourself as a finalist. I’m still frog poop at the bottom of the pond.

Despite losing, I love the statement about a three-dimensional hero. Not good enough yet to be selected in the top three by Writers Digest, but I’m getting better rejections.

8-11 May (Neutral)

Sent 1,528 e-mail and postcards to libraries, bookstores, prospectors (my niche market), and some newspapers, announcing the book award that GOLD RAID won. My writing hand is hurting. I’ve got to find a better way of preparing postcards for mailing.

12 May (Up)

Naida West, author of Red River of Gold (historical fiction) included me as one of seventeen authors to be in the state fair’s “Uniquely California” pavilion. The exhibit celebrates California authors, artists, and unique products. Little old me and a hundred thousand visitors. OK, I’ll only be in Sacramento at the Expo Center four of the eighteen days that the fair runs: on September 1, 2, 3, & 4. The fair and the Sacramento Publishers and Authors Association invited the Governor’s wife, Maria Shriver, but a sickness in the Kennedy family and the Republican convention is preventing her from signing her book in our booth.

13 May (Up)

Just found that Lost Treasure Magazine did a short review and posted the GOLD RAID cover in their newsletter with a link to my home page. You can sign up for the LTM newsletter at: http://www.losttreasure.com/newsletter/

14 May (Down)

For the third time I did a follow-up call to the New York agency that I sent a query to. The secretary knew that I had sent bound books. Three months until they opened the package. We are just speeding along. Yippee!!! I don’t think I’m high on their reading list.

17 May (Up)

Starting to received positive response to the e-mails and postcards. Multiple bookstores and libraries requesting they would like me to do an event. Book orders keep trickling in.

18 May (Neutral)

Finished my personal style guide today in preparation for punctuation wars with my editors when GOLD FIRE is submitted. Most arguments are over style versus errors. During the last year I have re-schooled myself on punctuation by building a style guide from Lynn Truss’s funny book on punctuation Eats, Shoots & Leaves, from Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and from the Chicago Manual of Style. Boring work, except for reading Lynn’s book. But the effort gives me more confidence that GOLD FIRE will have few punctuation errors at submittal time.

19 May (Up)

Today I contacted the Susanville librarian about doing an event at her library in August. She was ecstatic that I would meet with her library reading club. She will feature GOLD LUST for the meeting. We’ll see in August if they chew me up for the editorial license I took about local people and buildings in Susanville.

24 May (Down)

The results came in from the Independent Publishers International book award: 2,068 titles were submitted from all 50 United States, Washington D.C., nine Canadian provinces, the Philippines, and one Central American country. I did not win. Frog poop again!

24 May (UP)

To prevent being crippled when preparing postcards, I purchase a label writer that connects to my computer. After going through download /start-up hell, the labeler is working and I’ve quit swearing. After five hours of formatting my mailing address databases, I knock out 450 postcards, using the labeler for both the address & message. This is far faster than by hand. But if the cards don’t generate sales, it could just be a faster way to spend money. We’ll see.

25-29 May (Neutral)

Marketing, marketing, marketing. Uck! This gets old. I’m setting up the 2004 tour. Trying to cluster events so I can do three events during the same out-and-back trip. It requires calling and bookstores and juggling their and my schedules so they fit together. Next I have to create and send press releases to 6 newspapers, 3 radio and 1 TV station.

I’ve getting more creative coming up with newsworthy releases & show ideas. For Radio I used:

>>Award Winning Thrillers set in Plumas County (Local angle)

>>Gold Raid at State Park (Local angle, interesting lead-in)

>>Fruit Flys attack award winning author’s nose (high-energy, funny radio show)

2 June (Up)

Doing follow-up phone calls to the newspaper, radio & TV stations, that I e-mailed, to ensure the tour news releases were opened. An hour later, one news reporter called with questions. It was an impromptu interview, but I was ready.

The mail came in with a letter from the Governor thanking me for the gift copy of GOLD RAID. Probably signed by an automated machine. But nice to see the Governor has a staff to knock out thank you letters. At least I know the package was opened.

6-7 June (Up)

Went to a Sisters-in-Crime association lecture by an agent explaining how to get an agent. Listening to her confirms that my past queries to agents have been on target. They just HATE me!

Turns out she handles thrillers and is local. Ooh!!!! So today I ship her my e-mail query structured just like she recommended. We’ll see if the quality of writing of GOLD RAID and if the commercial aspects of the GOLD FIRE land her as my agent. Used the same template and also sent an e-mail query to the agent of David Dun — the best selling author that I met at Left Coast Crime in February.

8-10 June (Up)

Went on the road and introduced myself to the owner/managers of five bookstores north of San Francisco. When I returned home I had a reply from David Dun’s New York. He requested I send him review material. My query e-mails are excellent! Will send the package out tomorrow.

14 June (Up)

Booksense Advance Access program posted my publisher’s offer of 80 free review copies for bookstore owners. Nice to see Jack (the publisher) coughing up some money for once. Bookstores in 5 states made immediate requests for copies: New Hampshire, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, and California. The concept is to get bookstores to read GOLD RAID and then nominate it for the Booksense program of recommended excellent reads. While I’m touring I’ll also ask bookstore owners to nominate my book. Being selected for Booksense leads to free national exposure with independent bookstores.

21 June (Up)

Before blogs appeared on the internet I was releasing my newsletter. So I decided to use the same material as a blog. It’s at: http://FromTheAuthorsChair2.blogspot.com.

23-27 June (Up)

Well, again I outsold my nemesis, Tom Clancy. I’m the highest seller fiction author along the Stanislaus river. He’s too whimpy to attend a Gold Prospectors of America outing. Three days sleeping in the woods, cooking my own food, and digging in the dirt in 80 degree weather, hoping a cliff does not collapse and smash me. All for a few nuggets of yellow metal. In the early-evenings, I man my booth. It’s not the norm for prospector outings. The guys have seen me work hard digging so the “author guy” appears OK. As usual these outdoor types send their wives or girlfriends to check out the books before any purchases. I sell well.

28 June (Down)

Returned home and found a letter from David Dun’s agent that I queried. “… Unfortunately I am simply not confident that I would be able to represent the series successfully …” It’s an art form how agents can wipe out a good mood!

At least now I’m getting rejected by some of the best agents on the East Coast. Apparently I don’t fit the preferred mold that the publishers want. Neither did Stephen King or John Grisham until one agent and one publisher took a chance with them.

Well, I’m not stopping. I’ll keep making sales and gratefully thanking the readers who tell me they enjoy my stories. Those valuable encouragements keep me going. I’ll also keep studying how to create good novels and apply all I’ve learned to the GOLD FIRE manuscript.

July 2 thru 4 (Up)

Did my second three-peat. Three sales events during one trip. Started with a bookstore in the gold country, then drove sixty miles north the next day to a bookstore in South Lake Tahoe and finished at the Columbia State Park during its 4th of July Heritage Gala and Parade.

At the first bookstore the owner was out and the staff did not know I was coming and had no clue on how I should set up. Got creative with a book cart and a couple of boxes. Hid them under the gold tablecloth I always bring.

One sale was to a guy who I had made an impromptu sale to, two weeks before when I had passed through town and stopped at the store. He came back for the sequel. The follow-up sale was bitter-sweet. Sweet because he liked my writing. Bitter because I learned after he left that he had had an accident a few years back and now lives in his car with his dog and gets by doing odd jobs. So my books are very expensive for this reader. Makes me want to really write well so he is never disappointed with my stories.

I’d wrangled my way into the Columbia State Park by selling the newspaper owner on the idea that my books would fit in with the theme of the heritage gold rush town and because his sister-in-law told him it would be a good idea. While I set my booth outside his shop, I could tell he was skeptical about how well I would do. By the time I set up it was in the mid-eighties and kept getting hotter as the day went on.

Before I could get set up people were wanting my books. Then the parade went by my booth. Then the families drifted past looking for the ice cream parlor. I started using every trick I know: “Free shade –inside my booth.” On my gold panning display I put up a sign: “Dogs drink free”. A bus load of Japanese tourists came by and they got all excited about my gold pan full of nuggets.

The bookstore owner started getting enthusiastic when I sold my tenth book. I finished at 4 p.m. as the highest single-day seller for the shop! Yes!!!

Only problem was that, even though I drank three quarts of water, I was dehydrated by the time I started breaking down the booth. Water isn’t enough. Next time I’ll take some salt with me and Gator-Aid.

July 16-18 (Up)

Did another three-peat. Pleasanton, Quincy and Susanville. A satisfying feeling selling in the Susanville Bookstore (Margie’s Book Nook) since the town is a major setting of my first two books. I sell well in a town that normally buys used paperbacks, which impresses the bookstore owner!!

21 July (Neutral)

Created on my links page a section titled: Where you can Buy/Order My Books. Then loaded in 53 bookstores and followed with an e-mail to the bookstores. Another weasel way to keep my name in front of bookstore owners and prove to them to that I’m working hard for them and not just for myself.

22 July (Up)

Using Google’s alert service I just learned that a movie titled Gold Lust is rumored to be in production for release in 2004, staring Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman. Well, this ought to be interesting from a marketing standpoint. How can I maximize the benefit of having a book named the same as the title of a movie? Has some Hollywood creep used my story line for a movie? Law suit?

And the adventure continues.

——————————————

Please pass this newsletter on to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at ed@BooksByMitchell.com However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic lives just reply back that you want to be deleted (or unsubscribe) and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.

——————————————

P.S. If you want to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/books.htm

Ed Mitchell, Author of:

GOLD LUST

>>Winner: National Publishers Award for BEST NEW

FICTION in the USA & Canada

>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent

Publishers award for BEST MYSTERY THRILLER from a small press

GOLD RAID

>>Regional Winner: Sacramento Publisher & Authors Fiction Award for BEST ACTION BOOK.

>>Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books

at http://www.booksbymitchell.com

& Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter

Consultant to Emerging Authors

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/consulting.htm

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907

E-mail ed@booksbymitchell.com

831-663-1021

Fax 831-663-5629

Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-3-4

Gold Lust ISBN 0-9668447-7-7

Gold Raid ISBN 0-9668447-9-3

Copyright August 2004

ˇ

June 21, 2004

Newsletter #39 From Author Ed Mitchell

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 3:04 pm

————————

Friends,

From the Author’s Chair, here is newsletter #39 describing my latest up’s and down’s as I struggle out of the small press arena to become a best selling fiction/thriller author. The strategy: leverage the acclaim and excellent stories of my currently award winning released books (Gold Lust, Gold Raid) to influence a major movie company or large press to purchase the rights to my Gold Lust series. The following event descriptions are not polished, just true. Feel free to forward this news letter to your friends:

>>Highlights: Radio show, book Conference, book award

20 Jan (Up)

I’ve turned into Radio Boy. The Left Coast Crime Author and Reader conference will be held in Monterey in a month and I’m a volunteer. I came up with the idea of getting local radio hostess Karen Grant to do a two hour KION AM 1460 interview with authors at the conference site for free. This will be the first time that LCC has a radio show. Everyone involved thinks it’s a win-win idea. The hotel will get free advertisement. LCC and the local bookstores get free advance advertisement on Karen’s talk show and in her newspaper ads about upcoming radio shows. Karen gets a unique, entertaining show. And the authors get radio time to talk about their books.

I meet the hotel rep and we physical inspect rooms that LCC has already rented and pick the space we’ll use, insuring with the hotel rep that the room has phone jacks, etc. Next I contact authors that I think will make good guests, plus get the LCC PR person to ask the guest of honor author to participate. Karen knows a few attending authors that she wants to interview and contacts them. I pick talented authors that I owe favors to or that have acted well on tour events. I deliberately exclude authors that hog talk-time or have shown in the past that they are stuck on themselves. We end up with a mix of emerging authors as well as best selling authors, national and local authors (me!!), a mix of genre and book settings, and author Sue Ann Jaffarian the President of Sisters in Crime’s Los Angeles branch.

Sue Ann is appreciative of my help and plugs my book in the Small Press Review that she submits reviews to. Thanks Sue Ann!

I thought the PR person could supply the author biographies from the conference catalog. Then I could pass them to Karen to make her preparation easier. I only get two out of seven. Have to contact authors on my own, as well as visit their websites. Plus I write a thumbnail summary of the history of the conference which annually appears in cities west of the Mississippi. Some quick writing and I ship the material to Karen.

30 Jan (Up)

A reader listed my website on the OleMissFan.com Writer’s Block chat board and said nice things about my books. Thanks Fletcher. I have to get onto the site and do some chatting.

13 Feb (Up)

Local newspaper reporter calls me for a quote about the upcoming book conference. Somehow he heard I’m attending and wanted a local author slant. Gee, I’m actually getting known in my local area. Four years of begging–I mean marketing, is working.

17 Feb (Down, Up)

Two days before the conference I get a call from the radio station that the show is off. WHAT???? The hotel called them and said all is ready except they need $160 for each of the phone lines they will turn on in the hotel room. Well, thank you very much you low-life ##$@@!!**!. I call the hotel rep and discuss them contacting the radio station instead of me, the contracting rep for LCC, that I asked her during the walk through if there were phones in the rented room, and they are charging an excessive fee for typing into their computer instructions to turn on the phone lines. I offer a compromise to keep the show from falling through, cut the fee in half and I’ll pay. The fee is cut to $106 total. Well, there went any profit I was going to make at this show. I must have been on drugs when I thought I would make a profit by avoiding travel and hotel costs since the show was a few miles from my house. Silly author.

On a better note, this evening I participated in the Creekside elementary school’s first ever national literacy week event. The teachers had five rooms and different art and author (me) activities. I did my “it’s easy to write a story” class using my rubber snake, Herb, cowboy hat and a smile. The kids enjoyed getting up and reading their stories. I was a hit with the parents and teachers. Maybe one of the kids will grow up to be an author — or at least not a hotel manager!

19-22 Feb (Up, Down, Up)

Appears that my author training is paying off. I’m highly effective preparing for and attending the LCC conference. Only one huge error.

Pre-show:

>>I volunteer and network well with the conference team, which turns out to be extensively well known in the writing community.

>>I sign up for the conference early and get on a panel.

>>I submit my bio and a funny story about myself and verify it is in the conference catalog.

>>I buy an ad in the catalog announcing Gold Lust & Gold Raid. However, I should have purchased a smaller ad. Minus 100 points!

>>I Gain gratitude from my local independent bookstore by helping them get into the show and get free advertisement.

>>I’m quoted in the newspaper. 500 points!

>>As a volunteer, during pre-show set-up we stuff attendee bags with donated books. There are extras and I ask if I may have them for the local library. LCC says yes, and I deliver the books to the library. This helps the community and I’m going to get some publicity for the donation.

>>I read the conference catalog showing all the attendees and identify agents and authors I need to meet and workshops to attend.

>>Two days before the conference I learn there are some no-show panel members and I volunteer to fill in. I get on a second panel!

During the show:

>>I visit the bookstore booth and thank the staff for carrying Gold Lust & Gold Raid. Both books are prominently displayed.

>>I realize the conference is like a large bookstore with hundreds of readers walking around. I work the crowd by introducing myself and talking up my book and inviting readers to the panels I’m on. By the time the conference is over, most of the readers I talk to buy at least one of my books.

>>I speak to most of the authors I identified in the catalogue, asking about agent contacts. I get several.

>>Only one gross, how-stupid-can-I-be mistake! Halfway through my first panel, my mind goes blank as the moderator passes me the microphone. I’ve seen this happen to other authors. They get this deer-in-the-headlights look. Do I fess up that I forgot the question—Noooooo! I answer the wrong question. After the panel I want to crawl under a rock. Minus 10,000 points.

>>I redeem myself on the second panel, held on the last day of the conference when half of the attendees usually leave and panel attendance is low. However, we have a standing room crowd, because the moderator is well known, I’ve encouraged readers to attend, and because it is a panel about funny things that happen to authors on the way to the bookstore. We rock the crowd! They are laughing from the very beginning. The moderator, Pernell Hall, is hilarious. I do well with my stories about fruit flys attacking my nose at a reading in Hawaii, about dumping my editor out of her wheelchair in New York city, and several other stories. It helps to have no shame and willingly expose the humbling experiences of being an author. Both the audience and we panel members have a grand time.

1 Mar (Up)

Today I received e-mail notice that Gold Raid is a finalist for the Sacramento Publishers and Authors (SPA) Association’s 10th annual book awards. But they don’t tell the authors what category their book is selected in. This heightens suspense.

17 April (big UP)

I attend the SPA gala awards conference in Sacramento. Nice hotel three blocks from the capital building. Evening reception is enjoyable, networking with authors, seeing my book displayed with other finalists. Excellent workshop during the next morning, very nice lunch. This is like pulling teeth!!! Let’s get to the awards!

Finally the ceremony begins. It’s a mini version of the Academy awards in Hollywood. The announcer states the category, reads a short description of the winning book’s merit, then says the title of the winner. The Action/Suspense book category comes up. Hold your breath, and don’t act stupid if you are not the winner.

YESSSSSSS! Gold Raid wins the fiction award for Best Action Book. Yahoooo!

I don’t take all the credit. I recognize my editor and then am allowed to do a short reading. It goes well.

The last award is for the best overall book in all categories. The crowd is surprised when the winner (not me) receives a special letter from the Governor recognizing her accomplishment. It dawns on me that Governor Schwarzenegger is an action hero movie star and I just won the Best Action Book award. Gee, there’s a marketing opportunity here.

21 April (Down)

I just learned this morning that I am not a finalist for the PMA national book awards. Trying to be one of the top-three books in America is a bit tough. Pooh! I console myself with my regional book award while mailing a package to the Governor for his support of California authors. “As a small token of gratitude, enclosed is an autographed copy of Gold Raid, this year’s winning Best Action Book.” Maybe my creative marketing will cause Arnold to mention my book on TV or recommend it to one of his friends in Hollywood.

Please encourage your friends to special order Gold Raid from my website or from a local bookstore. If any bookstore says it is not available, have your friends tell them Baker & Taylor supplies the book. Some bookstores employees only check the Ingram database.

And the adventure continues.

——————————————

Please pass this newsletter on to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at ed@BooksByMitchell.com However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic lives just reply back that you want to be deleted (or unsubscribe) and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.

——————————————

P.S. If you want to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/books.htm

Ed Mitchell, Author

Gold Lust, National Award: BEST New Fiction in the USA & Canada

San Francisco Regional Award: BEST Mystery Thriller

Gold Raid, Sacramento Regional Award Winner: BEST Action Book

>>Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books at

http://www.booksbymitchell.com

& Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter

Consultant to Emerging Authors

http://www.booksbymitchell.com/consulting.htm

ed@booksbymitchell.com

831-663-1021 Fax 831-663-5629

Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-3-4

Gold Lust ISBN 0-9668447-7-7

Gold Raid ISBN 0-9668447-9-3

Copyright Apr 2004

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