I’m feeling much better now, after surviving the chaos of my previous blog. I discovered that, yes, if you ignore the strange sound that squeaks from inside your car it will in fact go away.
I took two weeks off from the day job and put fourteen 12-hour work days into my second novel, which is due to my editor mid-August, but will be delivered on September 15, which is, coincidentally, the launch date for BOULEVARD. I’ve come a long way, but I ain’t out of the woods yet.
I managed to write 200 pages in two weeks. This, after having reached page 150 a month ago, then throwing out 85 pages, then spending two weeks hammering out a beat-by-beat treatment from chapter one to the end (with the help of my wonderfully talented story-editor wife Ryen).
I crossed the 300 page mark last night (about 75,000 words) and I’ve got two weeks to write the next hundred pages to finish the book. Then one month for rewrites and a polish before handing it in.
So, what wasn’t doable two weeks ago is doable now. And I’ve got a good lead on turning the home foreclosure mess into a short-sell, so there’s hope there, too.
Meaning, I’m feeling much better, thank you.
And….the BOULEVARD train has left the station…
Reviews are starting to come in. Publisher’s Weekly and Book List so far, and I couldn’t be happier.
In my first blog as Murderati’s Newbie Author, I promised I would share the adventure. Report on the things I’m learning and the experiences I’m having. So here goes.
First and foremost – I recently joined the International Thriller Writers’ Debut Author Program and received their Debut Author’s Survival Guide. This is something I should have read a year ago. Incredible insights and practical advice about what goes on the moment your book sells. If I had read this earlier I would have saved my agent and editor tremendous heartache. Kudos to JT and others at ITW for having made this awesome resource available. It is something that I will continue to reference for months to come.
I’ve also been getting my tour schedule in order. I’ll be covering all of California as well as my hometown of Albuquerque, Phoenix, Denver, Portland and Las Vegas. The Vegas trip will be fun, since it’s being sponsored by a friend who has guaranteed at least twenty Vegas strippers in attendance. That might not mean much to you…but that’s what I call a friend. Needless to say, my wife will be attending this event.
I’m also excited about the invitation to speak on a panel at the West Hollywood Book Fair. I don’t know if I should feel honored or insulted, actually, considering that the panel is called, “Dark and Twisted: Testing the Limits of Taste and Depravity.” I’m afraid to meet my fellow panelists, unless, of course, I’m the most depraved of the lot.
I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some fantastic authors. Brilliant writers, all of them.
I figured the best way to illustrate what’s going on is to post my current “To-Do List.” It tells more about where my head is than anything I might write in linear form. So here goes:
To Do List
Summer of ‘09
1. Research tattoos
2. Join Mystery Writers of America, per JT Ellison’s e:mail
3. Join Sisters in Crime
4. Schedule time with David (The Novel) for black & white photography
5. Ask Eric or Scott if I should do a book trailer – Blair. L/W 6/24.
6. Schedule lunch with Mike DePasquale, re: Robbery-Homicide Division
7. Be a guest blogger on Naked Authors site per Patty Smiley.
8. Figure out Google Alerts – look at Brett’s e:mail message. What am I doing wrong?
9. Put tour schedule on website.
10. Figure out how to access website and make changes regularly
11. Let everyone know tour dates – drum up a crowd for each signing.
12. Figure out how to do an e:mail blast/save the date thing like Brett did for “Shadow.”
13. Website fix-its: a) Take out quote or attribute it to proper person – Salman Akhtar, not Carl Jung, b) Add new blogs, c) Add proper titles to author blurbs, d) fix links – from one category to the next, e) enlarge navigation buttons so people can read it, f) add book-signing schedule and appearances, g) add reviews when they become available, h) add new covers for hardcover and audio book.
14. Check in w/ Ray Porter re: audio book narration
15. Suzuki – send letter to yet another marketing manager
16. Set up newspaper interviews with Albuquerque Journal
17. Book air flights and pay for tour.
18. Check on train trip and hotels for San Francisco, San Mateo, San Deigo.
19. Get a booktour.com listing or account or whatever.
20. Pay back the $300 to Uncle Jerry & Aunt Annette
21. Practice autograph
22. Review Bouchercon list of events – sign up for things.
23. Check to see if I paid my business license for 2009!!!
24. Days to take off work – Sept. 10, 16, 21-25, Oct. 5-9, Oct. 15, 16, 28, 29, 30.
25. Finish Blog #6
The list, of course, is ever-changing and never-ending. “Get an iPhone quickly before all is lost!” has been accomplished. As well as “Figure out how to make a website.”
Some of the things on my list might sound a little strange. “Research tattoos” being number one. I want something specific to represent this moment in my life. I want a “rite of passage”, marking my transition from unpublished to published. I’m a tattoo virgin, too, so it’s a big deal for me. My wife insists I choose the artist based on the quality of biohazard suit he wears while applying the tattoo, as well as the tidiness of the satellite construction “clean room” from which he works. (I should have added one other item to the list – #26: Daily yoga and meditation to prepare for mother’s reaction when she discovers I’m getting a tattoo). Really, I’m a big boy, it’s not the first nor will it be the last mistake I make in my life. Yes, but this one is permanent, and the Rebbe won’t let you be buried in a Jewish cemetery…
What’s the Suzuki thing about? Good question. Good story, actually. I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a cool motorcycle for a couple years now. Oiy, he wants a motorcycle now? I’ve never ridden before. About a year ago I pulled up to one of my writing cafes and I saw the perfect bike. A little roadster, all black with shiny, bright chrome. Leather saddlebags. It was the best bike I’d ever seen. I drew closer and read the name on the gas tank, which was also written on the saddlebags. It was a Suzuki Boulevard.
Come on, now. What are the odds? This had to be the universe calling my name. The coincidence propelled me into action. This wasn’t just about finding the perfect motorcycle anymore. It was about finding the perfect cross-promotion marketing opportunity. I quickly found the names of two senior-level marketing execs at Suzuki and wrote to them, giving them the story, suggesting we cross-promote the launch of my novel with their motorcycle. I suggested I could have a banner on my website with a link to their website. I suggested they could sponsor my book tour, that I would ride the new motorcycle they gave me to book signings all across Los Angeles. I suggested they pay for my publicist.
I’ve sent that letter about four times now, to four different marketing executives.
The sound of crickets. Not even a return call to say, “Mr. Schwartz, your request is preposterous.” I should’ve taken the Suzuki item off my list months ago.
And, what, you’re giving me grief about practicing my autograph? You can’t tell me that wasn’t on your Debut Year To-Do List. So far I’ve signed three ARCs, and one was to Brett. The way my handwriting looks, I might as well take a chicken foot and an inkpad to my signings.
Anyway, the journey has begun. I’m getting the biggest kick out of watching my kids explore the world of publication. We’ll be road-tripping California, hitting Sea World and other exciting kid-friendly places along the way. It’s truly an amazing experience. The opportunity of a lifetime.
Let’s do something fun – give us a look at your current “To-Do” List. Just whip it off your computer or type it up and post it. Don’t you dare self-censor!