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Playing Publisher, Agent, Publicist

The book is written. Many sleepless nights have gone into the masterpiece, many readers have given their feedback, and a release date has been set. Now the entirely agonizing part of the entire process, publication.

The fun (fun used almost sarcastically here) is doing hours of research to ensure I don’t miss a single integral process in the entire bout of publishing. Had I managed to have an agent most, if not all, of the process would be covered. I could sit back and wait for requests for verification on page proofs, story flow, accept editor’s feedback and only tweak the novel minutely upon the agents request. Currently I have submitted myself to a flow of multiple projects at one time in the light of one major project, my publication. There are many major points that I have to ensure to hit, all of which could make or break my books chances at success. I took the liberty at compiling a brief list of these chores which I will undoubtedly have to accomplish.

Get the Book Edited

One item that had gone through without major attention to detail with my past projects. Though I had a publisher to take care of these things, it was at best; sad. Realizing that not only is my grammar terrible, but punctuation fails almost to a fault. There would be no possible way for me to go through the entire contents of two-hundred fifty pages and catch all the most glaring mistakes let alone the little technicalities. With that I have researched many editors, some charging upwards of $1,000 for a 90,000 word novel! I was lucky to find one who would only charge a minimal fee! Now I just have to scrape the barrel to get even that for her.

Pre-Publication Reviews

A most vital and important step in the process of rolling out a book. This involves knowing this book is in it’s final stages and in near pristine condition before sending it off for Magazines, Newspapers, and Reviewers to determine my fate. If two or more magazines who published a review were not favorable, chances are the book would sink before it even had a chance. Believing in my work this is something I am more than willing to take on. But with that are more interesting things.

Typesetting

Any novice to publishing would easily look this over. They believe all they have to do is convert a word document into a pdf and voila! That assumption is terribly wrong and will undoubtedly turn a tale of amazing talent and artistry into a slushpile inhabitant. Simply opening a book to the first page or two will tell any publishing industry insider whether it had a professional do the work. No worries, most typesetting jobs will only set you back roughly $800 (or maybe $5 a page).

Advanced Reader Copies

These little buggers are a ton of fun! Almost all magazines and reviewers have different terms and submission requirements for these copies. Some say it must be a mock up with ARC written on the back cover with a fact page including word count, page count, ISBN, distribution centers, publisher information. While others ask it be an in-tact book autographed by the author (They usually assure you that the book won’t be sold as it’s against their policy), and that this is a courtesy to someone willing to take time out of their lives to review your work (Fair, I say). So for the ARC’s not only is it best to have the book in the best condition it can be in (I would hope a few edits have already been done, typesetting somewhat apparent, and cover design set), but it should be sent out to the reviewer 4-6 months prior to the month of publication.

So now the Pre-publication work is done (somewhat) as the publisher, now on to Publicist!

Find Shelf Space

This is the main hurdle, and many of the items listed following this all help to gain that much needed shelf space. The point being most books have a month AT BEST to sell. If not, they are returned. And don’t think a book store will stock your book without a book return policy in place. This is only the mom and pop stores! Trying to get into B&N and Borders is something similar to a battle between David and Goliath.

Research and set up Radio Interviews

Having a target market helps to get this part in play, but still nothing can quell the magnitude of listing the hundreds of talk radio shows out there for the contact. Best part, I’m pushing my own book! Nothing worse than saying “Hi! Have you heard of the amazing new book written by none other than me!!!!” Something is just off about it. I like to stick with emails, but I have a feeling if I had a good pitch letter drawn up I might be able to call some stations and cement time blocks rather than sending electronic mail into the abyss of the internet. Even when I do find a station, I have to find an angle relative to the listeners and style of show they have set up to ensure I not only sound informed, but also don’t kill the pitch of my book by sounding like a babbling idiot.

Press-Release

Another extremely important aspect of the process. Drawing up the words that will help to sell the book while informing of any upcoming events. As in, have my events planned out well in advance, and make sure I keep the facts straight for the press-release. Nothing worse than attempting to fix a spelling error in a press release once it’s already been sent to the printer! It’s also gotta pop, no sense in writing an awesome book if the Press-Release is gonna drool.

Research and Pitch Newspapers and Magazines

For post publication reviews or opportunities at an interview. The research alone is killer, add to it the drone work of writing a pitch letter to them why I would be so totally awesome for their interview is tricky. Anyone can toot their own horn, or you could pay someone to do it for you. Looks like this starving artist is gonna have to toot his own horn without making it seem that way.

So these are just some of the fun things I get to do wearing all the hats. Hopefully if it’s done right, this will be the last time I have to worry about all of this, and can just focus on my new novels, which I have about four new ones started already. I have to get busy with them, not all of this! But here’s to learning.

Thanks for reading!

Caleb A. Mertz

The Way it Was Meant to Be

Good Day!

Last night the boyfriend was away, and I sat at my computer mostly watching mom play Bingo. I decided I wanted to get to working on my Query letter once again, but definitely found it difficult to get started. Any way, I am on Agent Query Connect.com and have posted about five different versions of my query letter on the site already. I imagine that I must be boring some people so I thought about a title change. I went through titles such as UNEXPECTED DESSIMATION, PLANNED ABOMINATION, then finally, THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE.

Obviously I can change the title at any time, but I want to try something different. This book has been “done” for about six months now, and nothing…

Tell me what you think of my new Query Letter:

 

Dear Mr. Woohoo,

Please take time to read the following query.

Finally understanding the plan his mother said God had for him, left President Rakford in a place of agony and despair. With darkened eyes and severed rationality the lady in his head laid victim to the rage that she brewed within him. Even in her death there was more to quell, Rakford quickly turned on the sect that began the Great Christian Revolt and sneered at the possibility of relief.

Before his mother died in a car crash, she thrived off knowing he was to be part of God’s plan. Having his boyfriend over the night before, caused her dreams to falter, and her relapse into alcoholism. The lady in his head reminded him of this, and how his dad left because of him. She reminded him that everything he had been through, making him strong, wasn’t as he thought. She reminded him of the lies he had built his life on, causing it to crumble. Before this lady, President Rakford had addressed the United States on peace and well-being. He faced the beginning of the Great Christian Revolt the best he knew how. The plan his mother spoke of had been executed for thirty-five years, which left Andrew Rakford little time to calculate something to put off those plans.

Accepting the possibility that the center of his religious up bringing was against him, forced him to consider the malicious options at hand. If he were submissive to the way things were heading, he would just be the enemy of God. If, however, he embraced the truth, maybe he could defeat the opposition and be victorious over the man that was said to create the heavens and the earth.

THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE is a 68,000 word finished novel. An end of times thriller, tuning into the fears of 2012 yet promising a world past this.  I have had two books self-published “With Thoughts of Jason” and “The Silhouetted Leaves”. To write the work described above I combined church experience along with the world of witchcraft, which I had practiced briefly. Political involvement and raised in a military household has helped as well.   Partial or full manuscript is available upon request.  Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Caleb A. Mertz

possible synopsis…

Good morning! I am writing to you now with the hopes that some of you will happily provide some feedback on which of the following three synopsis’ would make you want to read “The Unexpected”

#1

Everyday across the media there are invigorating statements relating to the end of the world.  Nostradamus, the Bible, and the mayan calendar all predict the end to be in 2012.  What if we lived to see a world beyond this where there was peace and abundance.  What if this was the perfect world to begin the ultimate chapter of the end, the Revelation.

When Andrew Rakford becomes President of the United States of America he wishes his mother was there because she was the one that always said that God had a great plan for him.  Now as he grows and survives multiple terrorist attacks his life begins to change without much more than a thought towards it.  Forgetting his mother and moving forward with his own plans he soon finds what this great plan had always been.  The Anti-Christ has never been  a position that has been so well taken with a drive and dillegence as by Andrew Rakford

#2

The threats of 2012 loom everyday on the news, in our minds, and across civilization.  What if we made it past this to see a world that initiates it’s president with an Inaugural massacre which makes way to the great Christian Revolt?  “The Unexpected” creates a world much like the one we live in today but filled with anxious twists of what’s norm, from Christian terrorists, blatant execution without due diligence, and modern day concentration camps.

Andrew Rakford is a young President of the United States starting out at the youngest age allowable, 35.  With a swarm of warped memories of his childhood and life practices Andrew is capable of using charm as well as intelligence in attempts to literally make everybody happy.  Till he learns of the truth of his mother’s reactions to his life, and the true reason why his father had left so many years ago does he remain a man of unfathomable patience and kindness.  Smart twists to the plot and story line add the dramatic effect of this novel never truly allowing the reader to see what will happen, though told through a third person omniscient point of view.

#3

Imagine that you are at the ripe young age of 35.  You’ve just received a promotion where you feel you can make everything better, the wrongs into rights and the woes into victories.  You’re mother always used to tell you that you were going to be a mighty man of God after a priest had prophesized this for you.  Here you sit being agnostic, but still having a love for your deceased mother, her lovely sayings, and realistic revelations.

The Christians have united and created a terrorist group that is reigning destruction on the United States and countries abroad because they feel that the government has become too corrupt to go on.  A combination of assassination attempts, terrorist attacks, and a plethora of missing people finally makes you initiate a plan in order to keep the world safe.  A plan that would ensure people follow you, and don’t oppose you.  A plan where the world is the edge of your every command.  You now know that you are the President of the United States, and you are the Anti-christ.


Pitching the Big Idea

Yesterday while I spent the day off I had some serious issues with writing. I wanted to get writing as soon as I had gotten my day started. Waking up was trouble enough. I knew that as soon as I stepped out from the bedroom there would be a severe heat that would cause me pain.

In my office I have some postcards that I have made up of all of my projects. The one that is front and center is “The Unexpected Teaser” So I’m looking over this and the dreadful reality sets in. Some moron decided to put December 010 as the release date. Having had been through the publication process with my publishers I know that it takes upwards of six months from the moment they sign you, and December  is less than six months away.

The bigger thing is that this one I am aiming for the stars. With it’s relevance to modern day happenings and the over all excitement that it draws, I feel that it would be a great find for any reader. But then how do I pitch this un-solicited work to a mainstream publisher and turn this puppy into a solicited work?

I’m not sure how to answer that. I do however have one draft of a pitching letter that is drawn and getting revised constantly. Depending on the mood I’m in I can either be so optimistic about this project, or I can be downright awful to myself and my hopes.  I look to About.com to help me out in this time of need.  It’s through Ginny’s plethora of information about publishing that I can finally attempt to make things happen.  I’d love to be able to post my pitch letter here, but I can’t.  As I said before it’s only in its infancy stage.

There’s one more thing.  I am looking up the publishers that might publish something of my genre and or story idea.  I am currently on page 112 of what I’d like to be a 250-300 page novel.  Time is of the essence in getting this work done and published as closely to December as I possibly can.  It’s a deadline that I have set for myself, which may help in the actual completion of this project.

If you have any ideas or comments on what I am going through definitely take the time to comment.

Caleb A. Mertz