Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oct. 28 - Nov. 3, 2012 Discussions

My web site comment for Sunday, October 28, was entirely about the progress I'm making with my new book. 

I made a bunch of minor changes and ordered 5 more "proof" copies.  They're scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.  I'm not sure who will get those copies, but it seemed wrong to not have any copies available to send out if I suddenly thought of someone who should have received a copy.

Now I'm waiting to see what the people who received earlier "proof" copies have to say about the book. 

On an impulse, I had a poster of the front cover created.  Here's what it looks like (before I framed it and hung it on the wall behind my desk):

  I think my book reads like a "thriller."  Will others agree?

I think my book is a pleasure to read.  Will others agree?

I think my book is filled with fascinating NEW information.  Will others agree? 

I think my book provides new perspectives on the case.   Will others agree?

Before very long, I'm going to be getting some answers to those questions.

I ended my Sunday comment with some relevant quotes:

"Good writers have two things in common: they prefer being understood to being admired, and they do not write for the overcritical and too shrewd reader."
                                            - Friedrich W. Nietzsche

"No author is so poor that he cannot be of some service, if it is only as a witness of his time."
                                            - Claude Fauchet

"The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before."
                                            - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth publishing, to find honest men to publish it, and to get sensible men to read it."
                                            - Caleb C. Colton


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oct. 21 - Oct. 29, 2012 Discussions

The first part of my Sunday comment on my web site is about my new book.  I received 5 "proof" copies on Friday.  I took a picture of them before sending out three copies to people who will go through it looking for typos, errors in grammar and other minor errors.  Here's a photo I took of the books:

And here's a YouTube video I hastily shot of me looking the books over before I plunked three of the books into envelopes for shipping:

I've ordered another 5 proofs which should arrive on Wednesday.  They won't have a couple typos I found, and all the illustrations after #4 will be renumbered.  The first set of proofs had an illustration numbered "4a" which I changed to #5 and renumbered the other 26 illustrations after it.  I plan to send those proofs to newspapers who have a particular interest in the case.

The book should be available for sale around November 12 at this link:

The last part of my Sunday comment was about the book "500 Days," which just came out.  It mentions the anthrax attacks quite a bit, but it's not about the attacks.  If "500 Days" sells well, maybe it will generate some new interest in a book that is all about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  I hope, I hope.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oct. 14 - Oct. 20, 2012 Discussions

I haven't seen any 11th anniversary articles about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  And I'm not seeing any news about the Syracuse hoax letters.  So, the entire Sunday comment on my web site was about my new book.  Here's what I expect the cover art will look like:

It's a book unlike any other about a crime unlike any other.

It tells the story of the case, how Ivins committed the crime, how the media and conspiracy theorists misled the public about the case, and how the FBI eventually figured out who did it.

I keep wondering what people who aren't really familiar with the case will say if the read the book.  Will they be stunned by all the mistakes made by nearly everyone involved?   Will they be amazed by what a messy process it was to find the killer?  Will they be surprised by all the important details they knew nothing about?

What will FBI investigators and DOJ prosecutors think of it?  The book explains a lot more than they did about how Ivins went about committing the crime.  The book fills in a lot of blanks. 

What will journalists think about it?  The book doesn't paint a very nice picture of their profession.  The anthrax attacks of 2001 resulted in some of the worst examples of media reporting in modern times. 

What will scientists think about it?  There are many examples in the book of scientists with mistaken beliefs arguing against scientists with solid facts

What will friends and co-workers of Bruce Ivins think of it?

Time will tell.

I expect to be receiving five "proof" copies on Wednesday.  I'll then send out the "proofs" to people who will go through the book looking for typos and minor problems in grammar, etc.  When I have their feedback, I'll make the changes and tell the printing company (Create Space) to go ahead and release it.  They'll make it available for sale on and it can be ordered via bookstores.  I expect it to be available in November.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oct. 7 - Oct. 13, 2012 Discussions

Last week, there were no 11th anniversary news stories about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  Nor were there any updates about the Syracuse hoax letters.  So, my comment on my web site for Sunday October 7 was all about the progress I've made on my new book.

I received another rejection from a literary agent last week.  It was another form letter, but it was in response to a query I sent out on August 1.  So, it took the agent 65 days to respond.  That was the only response I received, so it's looking more and more like I'm going to self-publish.

One thing you need to do if you self-publish and don't want to hire "professionals" to do all the work for you, is to design the cover.  I think I've pretty much settled on the cover art for the book.  For the moment, I'm still keeping the title confidential, but here's what the combined back and front covers will probably look like:

I decided to publish the book via Create Space, which is owned by  It's "print on demand" company, which means they do not publish a truckload of books and send them to you to put in your garage or in a warehouse somewhere.  It means you do not have to fill the orders for books and incur the shipping costs to get copies to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.  In theory, the print-on-demand company just prints a copy whenever anyone wants one, and they take care of the shipping.  (In reality, they probably print a small supply and reprint when the small supply is gone.)  That makes the production costs for a single book much higher, but it also means you won't end up with a warehouse full of books you cannot sell.

Click HERE for Wikipedia's explanation of what print-on-demand is all about.

I have lots of other chores to do before they can start printing.  I need to get a Library of Congress Control Number, which goes on the page after the cover page of the book.  When I have that, I need to upload a single pdf file to Create Space that contains the entire book.  They run some kind of program that checks for typical errors in the pdf file.  If there are no errors, we then go through a process of doing "proofs" to see what the printed book pages will actually look like.  Those "proofs" are shipped to me to look over.  If everything is okay, they then tell me how much it will cost to print copies.  That tells me what the retail price needs to be.  That enables me to put the price on the back cover and obtain the UPC scanner code for the bottom of the back cover.  That lets me finalize the cover art.  And, again there's a "proof" process.

Then I'll probably have them print me 30 or 40 copies, which I'll give to members of my family and to sources who helped me with the book.  I may also send copies to journalists and scientists who might write reviews for me.

So, the end is in sight.  I'm still hoping that an agent will want to represent the book, but if no agent has asked to do that by the time I've received the 30 or 40 copies and had a chance to look them over, I'll tell Create Space and to put the book on sale.