Agents, and publishers, and editors, oh my!

You want to write a book, make sure you get yourself an editor. Someone that will critique you, push you, make you better.

I learned a long time ago that a writer is the worst judge of his or her own work.

Of course, that’s not how I started out. In the beginning, I believed my words were pearls and strung together, they made a really fine necklace.

Then I discovered that the pearls were often still in the clam shells and needed to be pried out by an editor.

I was lucky in finding two wonderful editors for my latest novel, “My Grave Is Deep.” Michael Johnson and Fran Allred of We Edit Books were honest, tough, and so easy to work with it barely hurt when they said I could kill a few darlings and still have a fine book. I love them both. If you write a book, hire them.

What you may not need is an agent, or a publisher.

I had a terrific little independent publisher put out my second book, “Tears of God” and then re-release my first novel, “Tears in the Rain.” Unfortunately, Word Branch went out of business, leaving me with the decision to try and find an agent, or a new publisher.

I tried. Send out lots of queries. Lots of sample chapters.

Got lots of rejections. Nothing new. Many, many famous authors were rejected at first. Most of the rejections were nice though. Agents and publishers saying the writing was terrific, but the “project” — a word I despise when talking about a book — just wasn’t for them.

Well, one rejection wasn’t so nice. A publisher of “thrillers” told me my query letter was among the worst he’d ever read (this on the same day I received a response from an agent saying she wished other queries could be as well written as mine), but that he’d “take a look at the manuscript anyway.”

He did, and came back with this: “The book has too many thrills.” He said that, yes he did.

Patience isn’t my middle name. Or first or last, either. I was getting antsy about getting the book on the market.

I finally decided I’d had enough when an agent wrote this: “I am THRILLED to be reading your manuscript. The writing is wonderful. Is it still available? I must say, however, that I’m not sure I have the passion for your project, but thank you for thinking of me.”

It was then I decided I’d publish this myself on Amazon’s KDP platform.

There are limitations, of course. You can only find the book in Kindle and paperback formats and only on Amazon. Barnes & Noble is out. So is any other book chain. And, the book isn’t in stores, which cuts way back on its ability to become a bestseller. Or seller for that matter.

But it’s out there and I hope some people not named Williams will find their way to it, along with the other two Noah Greene mysteries.

If for no other reason than the fine editing job by Michael and Fran.

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