Home› Main Category› Clubhouse
Battle at Fortue Mills
Has anyone reads Dan Chamberlin's book? I read the "Long Shooters" a while back and really enjoyed it. I bought this one on Friday, started it on Saturday and Finished on Sunday. I really enjoyed it. A great story line with wounderful attention to detail!
Nicely done Dan.
Nicely done Dan.
I like Elmer Keith; I married his daughter
But sorry, I've not read his new book, having been pretty much busy writing my own 3rd novel.
It's "Battle at Fortue Mills"?
I assume it's on Amazon? Checked, didn't find it.
It is a safe link Sam
I'm glad you enjoyed it. But maybe you read it too quickly. You need to slow down and see the words. Battle of Fortune Wells. There weren't any mills around there. Just water tanks etched in rocks from eons of erosion. Of course, the Comanche maybe ground some maize in the rocks...but they didn't get the name.
Still, I'm gratified you enjoyed the book.
Dan, we need another book.
I also enjoyed both of your other books Dan. Keep us posted when it is released.
Ah! Found on Amazon, will download to Kindle asap.
Thanks for the heads up, gang, and Dan, the slight correction.
Dan & I are both working on novels but he's to be admired because he has a full career w. a regular day job and I'm retired. I know what a difficult task it is to write and proofread an entire novel while working full time, not an easy assignment.
Now with his 3rd book, Dan has switched genres and is encroaching on my territory! ha ha
So since Dan has moved from Westerns to mysteries, I suppose I'll need to do the same, as my 4th novel is a modern-day supernatural thriller. Or 5th, maybe, as I've got at least one more mystery in my head, buzzing around.
Anyway, gang, those who haven't read "Long Shooters" you need to get the book asap! It's a Western with a solid mystery premise folded inside, and it's not your typical cliche Western shoot-em-up. Instead it's a solidly paced story of a murder and how that is resolved, yet still very true to the Western genre. Great reading.
No. I just finished the novel and I'm now shopping for an agent (or "paying" publisher) so you & I are at the same equivalent junction.
I have however just had a "nibble" from a publisher that looks good, but as you know, these things take forever to pan out and usually don't. Sigh.
I had an idea for a book I wish someone with a knowledge of firearms could write. I'd call it "1911" A story of a firearm from the date of manufacture till the present day. From the design table of John Browning to the trials. From factory, to armery, to the the RTC, the trenches of WWI, Frecnch countryside and the under ground. How it found it's way to an airmen in WWII and to his son in Korea. His grandson in Vietnam then stolen and mis-used. Recovered and returned...... the story line would make a gun nut cry.
Interesting premise, following a single 1911 all through its existence. And yes it would make gun nuts cry.
My advice to you is the exact same as I give to others who suggest that someone should write a book: "Get started!"
In the meantime, we're keeping our fingers crossed re. your submission to the Brit agent.
Btw, you submitted your book in hard copy. How many printed pages was it? You'd said your length was about 100k words, right?
Contrasting, my own 3rd novel is considerably shorter, at 60k plus. Nicely spaced (1.5) & formatted, that comes to 185 pages.
How do you feel about publishers with a somewhat limited return policy? Lemme 'splain this to others who may not understand the publishing biz.
When bookstores stock new books for sale, they have an agreement with the publisher. The store orders a certain number of books, from a dozen or two up to thousands (think Stevie King) but if the book doesn't sell, the books can be returned for full credit.
Also, the store needs a certain markup to stay open, say a 20% margin. So if a book sells for $20, the store profits $4.
Problem is, small publishers don't have the capital to guarantee a free return, nor do they have the margin to offer a requisite markup. So the bookstores simply don't order from publishers who don't provide the needed guarantees or profit.
Dan and I have experienced this problem with our first books, and essentially relied upon Amazon internet sales almost exclusively.
A specific example... here in Houston is a mystery bookstore "Murder by the Book" which is the 2nd largest mystery bookshop in the USA -- the largest is in SF. And the store here would not order my novels. What I did was obtain a couple dozen copies at discount from my publisher, give them to MBB on consignment, and they sold every copy. Nevertheless they would not order my book and stock it. Eventually I sold a couple hundred copies of my 2nd novel through the mystery bookstore, but I had to front the deal.
Therefore... I've made a personal promise to myself, that I will not sign w. the previous publisher for my new 3rd novel even though they asked about it. I will only go with a publisher who can guarantee at the very least to stock at my local bookstores.
The other aspect is an advance on sales. Why should we want an advance on royalties? Well, because there are some prestigious awards and committees out there who review books, especially genre books like Westerns or mysteries, which Dan & I have written.
Many of these committees won't review a book unless it's from a publisher that pays at least $1k in advance. Like it or not, being paid a cash advance is a Rubicon to cross for the aspiring writer.
The 3rd aspect is advertising. Now a huge seller like King and a few others will even get expensive TV ads. Most other authors however get touted in trade magazine ads that the publisher puts into these magazines. The publisher also may create posters for bookstores to put in their window or on the shelf. More famous authors of course get those cardboard stands you see in stores.
Now Dan did a remarkable thing, boosting his Long Shooters to a very high status in Amazon sales, where it was the best selling Western online for several months. And I'm sure he picked up a nice chunk of change for this, kudos to Dan for his own marketing work and salesmanship. I had considered the same for a while but last fall I got very ill, was in and out of the hospital, and lost energy and interest in pushing my own book.
Becoming well again, I simply turned my energies to my 3rd novel, recently completed (as Dan's 3rd book was) and now we're both in an agent / publisher search.
So Dan, lemme ask... how committed are you to moving from the very low key, low budget, zero sales support that we both experienced from our publisher and seeking a more lucrative deal?
I say this out of general curiosity, one fairly unknown writer to another, but also because the publisher with which I'm currently chatting wants a 3 book deal, my new book plus both of my older books. And maybe options on my 4th novel, now in progress.
The cold hard points of advance payment, sales support via advertising, and return policy haven't been discussed yet, and to do so would be to push the pawn too far across the board at this time. But I'm thinking about it, so I'm asking what Dan's thoughts are on these issues.
Being raised up without TV, I read my first book when I was about seven or eight years old. My older sister belonged to a book club. I think the book was "Kentucky Stand" but it might have been "Step Right Up" or one of the other book club books. I remember "The Golden Hawk" (Frank Yerby, a remarkable memory feat!) and "The Laughing Stranger" which I couldn't get into.
Love books. I've published short stories, had briefly an agent until I didn't produce, worked on a novel (a little) but determined I'm not a novelist. I don't quite understand the process.
Hell, don't let that stop you -- Dan and I've written 3 novels each and we STILL don't understand what we're doing!
It's not so much the money itself as the desire to be published with some recognition.
Btw, I'll PM you a list of AAR agents who are accepting mysteries.
Next time I saw her, she handed it back, holding it by the corner of the paper as if it was toxic, "I never want to read anything else you've written. I don't even want to talk to you again."
I actually do have a couple of fans, as in exactly two, a guy and his wife who came to my last book signing and were kind enough to keep in touch, buy several copies of my novels to give to friends. But two paying customers, although nice, just doesn't cut the muster. Oh, well...
He and I had modest success with our first 2 novels. We've both written "genre" books -- Westerns and mysteries. They have a specialized market that's slightly different from "mainstream" novels -- stories about relationships mostly. Thing is, if you've read either of our novels, you can see that neither of us has written plain formulaic trash (the snooty critics have this attitude toward genre novels) but in fact our stories have deep personal stories, strong characters, and very believable accounts of the world.
Anyway, both of us are essentially "mid-stream" writers. We've both enjoyed modest success -- Dan sold a lot more books than I did, due mostly to his hard work helping boost his "Long Shooters" novel. Problem is, our publishers did almost nothing to help sales and it was mainly via Dan's hard work that his book has been lots more successful than mine. Of course it may be that his book is also better than mine (I tell myself "couldn't be" of course, duh). Those who haven't yet read "Long Shooters" are in for a real treat, so you newcomers really need to check it out.
When I say that he and I've had "modest" success, I mean that we at least have found publication, and no, we didn't pay to have them printed.
Thing is, a lot of aspiring writers get hooked up with "subsidy" publishers, known in the biz as "vanity" publishers. They will print anything, so long as you foot the bill. I've happened to be asked to review a couple of self-published novels (I wrote dozens of book reviews for a mystery website) and most of these subsidy-published novels are awful. They're also full of typos (tpyos?) and for the most part unreadable.
Dan and I are okay in that we found a small publisher who edited, proofread, and published both print (trade paperback -- 9"x12") and e-books. We were paid fair royalties but the advance was either zero or near that.
So what Dan and I are both doing is to make the next step upward. We're both looking for "legit" agents who would then find a legit publisher for our new novels. At the same time I'm also looking for larger publisher who pays more. Dan may also take this route as well. But nowadays, few legit publishers accept direct submissions. They instead use agencies as an automatic filtration process.
Thing is, honest and legit agents accept no money up front and are in fact forbidden to do so by their membership in associations like AAR (association of authors' representatives). They are selective and only take on clients whom they are sure will earn them their efforts. Legit agents normally charge 15% but only after the book's sold to a publisher, only upon payment from the publisher, and charge zero up-front fees.
So the real hurdle Dan & I face is not to land a publisher but to land an agent. If we sign with a "legit" agent, we're about 80% there, and can expect to have our book shopped to large publishers with a very good expectation of a decent sales advance. This is because the main barrier is to land a "real" agent -- these agents stay in business and have these NYC Park Avenue offices for one reason: They sell the hell out of their clients and earn that 15%, and the bigger publishers in turn know that the agents with whom they've got established relations won't send them a dud.
The term "advance" some might not know. Let's say you sign with a publisher who will sell your book for $20. Your percent on sales would generally be about 10% to 12%, maybe a little more. Let's figure 10%, so for each book sold you'd get 2 bucks. A small publisher such as Dan and I had would pay the same approximate, as the contracts are usually "boilerplate" unless you're Stephen King. Except that our advance on future sales was zero or near zero.
We all know that Hillary got $15mil for her book but it will be a flop, and the publisher likely won't recover the advance, hey. Incidentally, if a book doesn't make back the advance, no, the author isn't required to return the advance.
So what sort of advance might Dan or I realistically receive if our book is picked up by a major publisher (Random House, Putnam, etc)? Oh, in the neighborhood of $20k to $50k. Honest.
And this explains why both of us are eagerly seeking a larger book deal. And frankly, I think we've got a decent chance. Dan's first book Long Shooters is superb (sorry I've not yet read his 2nd) and although my books haven't been as successful financially as his, my 2 earlier novels did receive excellent reviews. This small level of success for both of us should help us when working to find a good venue for our new 3rd novels. I think my new book is at least as good as the first two, probably better, and I'm also confident that Dan's new book is top drawer.
So that's where we are right now. Dan, of course, please add or correct as you wish.
I was contacted also by a publisher. Big time, major publishing concern, called me on the telephone. Doubleday, IIRC. Who was interested in novels, not short stories.
I was proud, but unable to produce. So there went my literary future. Too bad. I coulda been a contender. Well, no I couldn't. I didn't have a novel in me.
But Gene, you'd be surprised about having a novel "in you" -- I started my 1st novel as a short story about a detective and it just grew like Topsy. My suggestion is to take another fling at it, start by sketching out some thoughts, expanding them.
btw, Gene, getting a story in the Southern Review is a great achievement, not to mention the Andrew Lytle prize! Kudos. And it's evidence that there certainly IS a novel rattling around in your mind.
My sole attempt since then is definitely a short story and was weak (good idea, but bad execution.) And not novel material. Everyone has a novel knocking around in their head, but sitting down and knocking it out, not me. If I write a page in a single day, with all the self editing, even on a short story, I'm zipping along. A year into a novel is not my idea of fun. Motivation is lacking.
Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
Bisley, thanks for the review by the way. It was very nice. The reviews have been very gratifying.
First of all, Gene, my sympathies to your loss. I understand all too well what that's like.
But regardless, some self-motivation should be helpful, dude. It took me about 8-9 months to write a novel and that was while working full time.
Of course if you don't want to write, don't. But I've found that in many ways, it's a bit therapeutic and soon becomes fun.
For those who may not know, the "Southern Review" is one of the most prestigious literary publications in the USA, and quite a treasure to be published there -- I should know, having been rejected 3-4 times by them on my own short stories, ha ha. And the Lytel prize is much admired as well.