Monday, June 30, 2008

Summer Solstice 2008

Here in Seattle is the neighborhood of Fremont, "The Center of the Universe." In addition to a colorful bridge across the Lake Washington Ship Canal Fremont has an nuclear missile and a statue of Lenin, both obtained surplus after the collapse of the Soviet Union. At one time Fremont was something of a funky artists' colony, but gentrification sent them packing for more reasonable rental markets. It was during the funky years that they started celebrating the Summer Solstice, something suitably non-traditional. The event became formalized by the neighborhood association.

The parade prohibits motors, animals, and signs. Everything else is a go. Naturally someone thought they would march nude and it caught on. Ten years ago there were maybe a dozen men and women who painted themselves up like Celtic warriors and rode their bikes along the parade route. This year there must have been a couple of hundred.

Here is my photo record.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Marketing a Mystery

I have just completed entering the edits on my other book Tiny Details, a mystery. This is the first book I wrote and I tried to sell it in 2000 without success. After eight more years of experience I dusted it off, revised it, and sent it off to my editor who offered several thousand corrections. Now it's ready for prime time.

I will do as before, assembling lists of publishers and agents and sending off query letters and sample chapters. The mystery market is very different than the historical fiction market so perhaps it will catch an influential eye and find a place in the publishing world. I mail off the first query letters to publishers. I approach publishers first since they pay royalties directly to the author.

A literary agent, the only avenue to the large houses, takes a fifteen percent commission. That's a standard and probably fair share, but it does come out of my end. So the small publishers get first crack. Down The River, is still under review at one publisher who thought enough of the first fifty pages to ask for the whole manuscript. One agent in New York who I had not heard from in months and months wrote back today that she liked the story, but had some reservations and declined. It was the most thoughtful reply I have ever had from an agent or a publisher. At least she read it and for the most part, she liked it. I sent her a thank you email.