The deed is done.
I have a publishing contract for my new novel, tentatively titled BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS. I suspect it will stick – the title, I mean, not the blood. Well, actually, the blood … Okay, that’s enough. Don’t want to give away the plot.
What I will say is that the book is about police brutality toward blacks, and was inspired by an incident in my locale more than 10 years ago that happened under the radar, but which I was made aware of. While the novel presents a social message, it also is, in my opinion, highly entertaining. (That, of course, is a purely objective viewpoint – no bias on my part whatsoever.) It has its share of violent scenes, but is light on the graphic kind. I am turned off by excessive gore, and never could understand the fascination with it.
A lot of intrigue permeates the plot, and will, I think (hope), keep readers turning the pages. Danger lurks around every corner, creating suspenseful situations that make for riveting reading. All of this is offset by a number of comic scenes, which I devised from themes in two of my favorite movies, Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood) and My Cousin Vinnie (Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei). A tragic love story adds pathos.
Landing a contract with a traditional publisher is more difficult than ever, as a horde of people with limited writing experience (and often talent) inundate book agents and editors with submissions. The vast majority of these are summarily rejected, and as a result, 70 percent of books in the market today are self-published. It all began with the advent of Amazon, which allowed anyone who fancied hermself (new pronoun) a writer to post hiser work on the internet site. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of good – and sometimes big-selling – self-published books that failed to interest traditional publishers or agents. These people are apt to become jaded from the sheer numbers of entreaties that flood their email inboxes. I know of an author who submitted her manuscript to 75 agents before one accepted the work and then recruited a major publisher.
My publisher is TouchPoint Press, owned by a former agent. Books in its cache have garnered a number of awards or award nominations. Acceptance of the manuscript depended on my willingness and ability to make several recommended changes. I thought the ideas were valid and would enhance its quality and appeal.
That contract offer came near the same time that another publisher made an offer. I preferred most of TouchPoint’s terms, and liked the editing insights. Another publisher offered a contract months earlier, but it was headquartered in a distant country, and didn’t seem to have a grasp on how to present the print version of its books.
TouchPoint’s acquisition editor hit the ground running, quickly requesting a potpourri of information for use in publishing and marketing the book. These days, authors are expected to actively participate in their books’ marketing and promotions. It was good to learn that the publisher seemed bent on doing the same. Publication is promised within 18 months, but considering the editor’s alacrity, I’m hopeful it will be much sooner.