From the Author’s Chair

August 22, 2006

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #44

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 9:59 pm


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 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.

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.

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.

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.

When hunting for agents by regions I used the Bookforce website.

I found confirming or additional information at six other sites.

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 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,
Charter Founding Member of the International Thriller Writers Organization and 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

>>International Thriller to be published in 2007

>>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 Aug 2007


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