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I have been working on being a better writer and going to writer conferences to improve my craft.

I have to first apologize to my readers and fans. I hope you are one. The feedback I have received from people who have read Hear You Think is that the book is captivating and fun to read. Since I am not a very social person, updating this web site has not been a priority for me. I advertised on Facebook for some time last year. To access my advertising, I had to set up a Facebook account. I am not sure the difference between the author and personal Facebook pages. I do not open the FaceBook pages very often. Yeah, I am most happy sitting at my desk and computer creating books that are entertaining and fun to read.

I have learned much in furthering my craft as a writer by attending several writer conferences. Last year I attended ThrillerFest XIII in NYC (July 2018). This year I went to the Mystery Writers of America's SleuthFest in Boca Rotan, FL (March 2019). Also this year I learned more at the International Thriller Writers' ThrillerFest XIV in NYC (July 2019). During those conferences, I learned new talents to write. I learned how to develop interesting characters, the fun of twists and surprises, plus many other elements in improving my ability to write books to increase the reader's experience.

I have finished the first draft of my latest book, Operation Boomerang. I am currently applying some of the new elements I have learned in this revision process. Soon, I should be in a position to submit it to my editor. I have a new editor that is well known and respected in the industry. By attending the writer's conferences, you make industry contacts and friends. I now count many best selling authors as personal friends. I have found that writers, in general, are a cooperative group. Everyone wants to help. The attitude is to encourage more and better writing. The opinion is that it helps to have quality books out there to satisfy the reading public.

Another education I have received is the way to make your books available to your readers. My first book, Hear You Think, was put on Amazon as both an electronic and paperback versions. That is called self-publishing or being an indie (short for independent). This path does not include a literary agent or a print publisher (hardbound books). The track to a literary agent and print publisher is called the traditional route. If you do both, you are called a hybrid author. I know authors from the conferences who are in all three categories. There are advantages to each route. With Operation Boomerang, I will be attempting to go the traditional path. The benefit to the author in the traditional way is that the publisher will do all the promotion and marketing. The publishers also like to edit your book, create the book cover and possibly the title. The other downside for the author is that the timeline for getting the book to the reader can take an additional year. I have heard of some publishers making the time lag a short period of one month. But that is rare.

The other tricky problem in going the traditional path is obtaining a literary agent. Most agents get book offerings in the thousands each year. Usually, those books go into a pile that is called the slush pile. Crafting your letter of introduction to the library agent, called a query letter, is extremely critical. The writer has to make the query letter stand out and get the literary agent to separate you for consideration. There are a lot of factors the literary agent has to consider in their decision. One that I have heard is the type of book you have written and what genre their publisher contacts feel is marketable. The traditional path has more ways to be rejected than to be accepted. Many current best selling authors have been rejected some 40 to 50 times before they hit the right literary agent and then a publisher. Some of those authors are very familiar names to you and would surprise you.

With all that said, the writer, such as myself, does this because it is a passion. The days that I do not write, I feel I did not do anything enjoyable. That also extends to the marketing concept of social media. At conference sessions, we are told social media is vital to getting your name out there and build a following. Now is where I make the pitch to send me an e-mail. Then I have your contact information so that I can communicate with you with your e-mail address. I can then give you a heads up on new developments. That is if I get a publisher or to send you a small portion of a new book. In other sessions, we have been warned not to let social media dominate your time. It can. The advice is to write, write, write. On that note, let me end this insight column and now WRITE. Don't forget to go to the Contact page and send me an e-mail message. Thanks.

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