From the Author’s Chair

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

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