From the Author’s Chair

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

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