Writing fictional crime stories would be a cakewalk. After all, I had over 24 years of experience prosecuting and later defending criminal defendants. All those cases, all those courtroom trials, had to be a bonanza of story ideas ripe for the picking. All I had to do was sit down at the computer and type. The stories would unfold like magic. My first book would be gobbled up by a prominent literary agency and sold immediately to a well-known publisher like Simon & Schuster for a five-figure advance. So I did...banging away for hours on my computer keyboard.
Hours turned into days...days became weeks, and then months rolled by until I finished that first draft. My book, then known as The Deadly Harvest, was done. It was ready to submit. Then reality hit home. I discovered that Ernest Hemingway’s famous quote, "The first draft of anything is shit", was so true.
Heeding a friend’s advice, I utilized an editor. This step was known as misconception number two: all editors are created equal. The evolution of my first draft into my first novel had begun. It took me several more months of writing, finding the right editor, lots of research, and drafts to write the final version (Draft Number 8) and, voila, Price of Justice was born.
Then I suffered through the disappointment of rejection. I had read somewhere that 16 literary agencies and 12 publishers rejected John Grisham's first novel, A Time To Kill, which went on to become a best seller grossing about $250 million. Fourteen agencies rejected Stephanie Meyer's Twilight. We all know how that turned out.
As for me, I lost count of the number of literary agents to whom I submitted what I considered to be a fine piece of fiction. But their responses seemed to mirror each other: the book wasn’t the right fit for their agency. Wanting to publish the book ASAP, I elected to go the self-published route.
Misconception number three: the book was now published and it would sell itself. Hours were spent promoting the book on a multitude of websites, some demanding payment for the privilege. I spent more time promoting than writing my second novel. Then I wanted to become a regular member of International Thriller Writers but, being self-pubbed, I was not eligible. My wife suggested I try to contract directly with a traditional publisher.
Using the list of approved publishers provided by International Thriller Writers, I finally found a few interested enough in Price of Justice that they requested the full manuscript. When Black Opal Books offered a contract, I snapped it up. The manuscript went through a few rounds of editing and formatting before Black Opal Books published it on November 30, 2013.
When my next book, Cornered, was finished in September 2013, Black Opal Books wanted it too. Cornered is now in Black Opal's editing queue and is expected to be released in late Spring or early Summer of 2014.
Now I’m honored to be a regular member of International Thriller Writers Association, joining members such as Michael Connelly, John Sandford and David Baldacci.