Sunday, April 8, 2012

Apr. 8 - Apr. 14, 2012 Discussions

My comment on Sunday was mostly about finishing the second draft of my new book. I thought it was going to be shorter than the first draft, but it turned out to be 847 words longer. I also sent out my first query letter to an agent. I did that on Thursday.

I hadn't realized it, but I've been working on the book since September 2010, about 19 months! On the other hand, when I started the second draft I didn't think I'd be done until mid-Summer. And, just a few weeks ago I stated that I didn't think it would be done until the end of April. So, I either didn't need to make as many changes as I thought I'd have to make, or I found more time to work on the book than I thought I'd have.

My focus now is on writing a much better query letter, in case the first one gets a negative response. If I get a negative response or don't get any response at all by Wednesday, I'll send out another query. There are dozens of agents looking for new material to represent. (I dealt with agents before. About 12 years ago I had an agent in Hollywood trying to sell my screenplays, and I had another agent on the East Coast trying to sell my novel "Clipper," which is currently available on Kindle.)

Meanwhile, I'll be re-reading the second draft while making notes on what needs changing or improvement.

In case you haven't read it, on Thursday I wrote a comment about the problems John Grisham had with selling his first book "A Time To Kill." The publisher printed only 5,000 copies and Grisham bought 1,000 of those. The book didn't sell well, and Grisham ended up giving away many of his thousand copies. Then his second book "The Firm" became a best seller. They re-printed "A Time To Kill" and it has since sold 20 million copies.

I don't expect anything like that with my book, but I thought it interesting that I happened upon the Newsweek article about Grisham just as I was finishing the second draft of my second book.


  1. Glad to contribute to the writing of your book by not making any arguments last week!

    Seriously, have you thought much about the title? There's that saying 'You can't judge a book by its cover' but people DO need to be intrigued by a title, so I HOPE you aren't contemplaing "Analyzing the Anthrax Attacks II", or "Further Analysis of the Anthrax Attacks", or even "Analyzing Out the Wazoo the Anthrax Attacks" (though this last has the virtue of being a funny and thus a memorable title!).

    My idea: titles (if you are going for sales) should be as pithy, as memorable as possible. Even to the point of luridness. Explanations (as to contents) are for subtitles.

  2. Richard Rowley wrote: "Seriously, have you thought about the title?"

    Yes, I've thought a lot about the title.

    I really goofed when I titled my first book "Analyzing the Anthrax Attacks: The First 3 Years." That last part automatically dates the book.

    At one time I thought about using the title "Anthrax Hypothesis" on my new book, because it's a story that explains all the facts about the case as "hypothesis" - sort of. I mean it says a lot about what Ivins must have done based upon what the facts say. So, it's an "hypothesis."

    But, that's a very off-putting title. It's too intellectual.

    Then I came up with a much better title that I've avoided mentioning because I don't want anyone else to steal it. I think it's a real attention grabber, although the word "anthrax" isn't included.

    I think the title alone will make agents curious about the book. And, as you say, the explanation (as to the contents) can be in the subtitle.

    We'll see.

    Thanks for the comment.


  3. When I thought of the title, I did research to see if anyone else had used it for a book. It seemed a natural for a sensational "True Crime" book. But, no one else has ever used it -- as far as I can tell.