From the Author’s Chair

January 3, 2005

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #41

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 10:55 pm


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 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:

Ed Mitchell, Author of:


>>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


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

>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent


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


& Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter

Consultant to Emerging Authors

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907



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


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