Opinion, Please

Barring any unforeseen difficulties, Hypocrisy, my fourth novel, should be released in about 4 to 6 weeks. All the pieces are in place. I just need to be patient while everything comes together. I never believed that writing books and publishing them had so many angles—lots of things a writer might take for granted. Or in some instances, not even know certain tasks exist. Writing is an art. But getting what you write published and read is a business; an extremely challenging business. There are so many things to consider: Editing. Cover Design. Back Cover Copy. Copyrights. Marketing. PR. Social Media. Preliminary Reviews. Formatting. Acknowledgements. Author Bio.

Heaped on top of the pile are, perhaps, the most daunting issues of all: Will the book sell? Will it enjoy positive reader reviews? These are two questions that could drive a writer mad.

This post was not meant for me to whine about my sleepless nights or the anxiety I face as a publication date draws near. I’m not seeking pity or even a reassuring hug. I just wanted to let you know that the business of writing isn’t nearly as glamorous as one might think. Like every other “job”, there are occupational hazards. That said. I would love some early feedback on the concept of this book. Below is a very brief synopsis. Please read it and give me your candid opinion. One thing: I prefer brutal honesty to diplomacy. A writer learns through criticisms not accolades. Read on.

Dr. Lauren Crawford is a brilliant research scientist who discovers a revolutionary treatment for cancer that not only extends life, but much improves the quality of life for terminal cancer patients. The treatment, in some instances, can even cure certain cancers. On the evening before Dr. Crawford holds a press conference to announce to the world that the FDA has given preliminary approval of her new cancer treatment, somebody follows her to her car and puts three bullets in her head. Now, two homicide detectives, Amaris Dupree and T.J. Brown, are assigned the task of trying to determine who killed her and why. As the detectives dig deeper into the investigation, a terrifying story unfolds.

          Hypocrisy is a medical thriller that takes place in New York City. It examines the ongoing controversy over cancer research and the very real possibility that finding a cure may not be the ultimate goal of the higher powers in the medical community.

Did I get your attention?

 

 

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Moving Right Along

As you know, after publishing three of my novels, two of which did very well, Amazon Publishing kicked me to the curb. At first, I was blinded by anger and I must admit, lots of four-letter words spewed from my mouth. But when my emotions calmed down and I returned from the abyss of self-pity, I realized that their decision not to publish Hypocrisy was not a rejection; it was an opportunity.

After doing some extensive research on the complexities of self-publication, I found the whole concept rather daunting. There are so many things to consider that I felt overwhelmed. Fortunately for me, having already published three novels, I had made some key contacts in the publishing world, so I started making phone calls and sending e-mails to a network of people who could help me through the maze of self-publishing.

The good news is that I found someone—actually, as luck would have it, she’s a long-time friend—to design the cover, format the manuscript, upload it to the publisher, and help me get some traction at various writing-related web sites. I am also talking to a woman who runs a very successful marketing and PR company specializing in promoting authors. Some of her clients have made it to the NY Times Bestseller list. And then there’s a dynamic literary agent who is currently reviewing the manuscript, and if she feels strongly about it, she’s agreed to represent me to the foreign markets. I also have arranged for an excellent editor to review and perform a final edit on the book. I’ve worked with her in the past and based on her uncanny ability to find even the most obscure mistakes or inconsistencies, I’ve given her the nickname, “Hawk Eyes”. If all goes well, Hypocrisy should be published as an e-book as well as a physical copy in late January or early February.

So, the wheels are in motion and I can’t wait until it’s published. And just in case you’re interested, here’s a very brief synopsis of Hypocrisy.

The story takes place in NYC and it’s a medical mystery. Dr. Lauren Crawford, a brilliant research scientist discovers a revolutionary treatment for cancer that not only extends life, but much improves the quality of life for terminal cancer patients. The treatment, in some instances, can cure certain cancers. On the evening before Dr. Crawford holds a press conference to announce that the FDA has approved her new cancer treatment, somebody blows her brains out. Now, two homicide detectives are assigned the task of trying to figure out who killed her and why. Was it a random shooting, or is there a deeper story?

 

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Good read, but Flawed

As a big fan of the TV series, Castle, I was curious to read one of Richard Castle’s books. So, after much thought, I bought a copy of Frozen Heat. First let me say that there was much to like about this book. The plot was interesting. There were many twists and turns, a few surprises, and a bit of a cliffhanger at the end. Castle’s writing style is a little off-beat, yet entertaining. As a novelist myself, I often have a more discriminating and critical eye than the typical reader—especially when it comes to technical issues. Here are my gripes.

First off, the book is about 30 or 40 pages longer than it needs to be. I think there are passages that do not serve to propel the plot forward and they seem like fillers. There are also way too many characters. It seems that a new name pops up on every other page, and I found it often difficult trying to figure out who was who. Almost all of the dialogue is without attributes identifying the speaker. For the most part, it wasn’t difficult to figure out. However, many times I had to backtrack to be sure I knew who was talking. Lastly, this may sound petty, but in several scenes, the narrative is written through the eyes of multiple characters. One point-of-view per scene is the Golden Rule.

Overall, it’s a pretty good book and worth a read.

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Another Fork in the Road

Well, after waiting 46 days for Thomas and Mercer, a division of Amazon Publishing, to evaluate Hypocrisy, my fourth novel, feeling as if I was awaiting the results of a biopsy, my editor sent me a very tepid and impersonal, five sentence e-mail informing me that they’re not interested in publishing it. When you consider that Amazon published my first three novels and that over the years I have cultivated great professional and personal relationships with many key players on staff at Amazon, it seemed rather cold and insulting for them to kick me to the curb with not so much as a phone call or believable explanation. My editor justified their decision by simply saying that they already had a few mystery/thrillers that take place in New Your City, and that my book would not “compliment” their current list. Really?

First of all, how many novels, TV thriller series, cop shows, lawyer shows and a gazillion other avenues of entertainment take place in NYC? Clearly, Amazon’s rationale doesn’t make sense. Yes, Hypocrisy takes place in NYC, but it’s a medical thriller about a conspiracy to suppress a cure for cancer and the storyline is imaginative and original. I would have much more respect for Amazon if they simply told me that the book is total crap and it’s utterly sophomoric. I can respect honesty—no matter how painful. But I have zero tolerance for B.S.

So, after a great deal of soul-searching, I have decided to self-publish Hypocrisy. It can be a risky business, but my prior books have done pretty well, particularly They Never Die Quietly and Resuscitation. So, my hope is that Hypocrisy can hitch a ride on the success of my first three books.

Stay tuned for more updates.

 

 

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A New Realty

About three weeks ago I submitted a copy of my 4th novel to my editor at Amazon Publishing for her evaluation. In the past—long before Amazon Publishing evolved from a small operation with 10 employees and 5 authors to a Mega Publisher working with over 200 authors—I’d submit a manuscript and was reviewing a publishing contract the next day. Not any longer. They now ask you to wait 30 days for them to decide whether or not they want to publish your book. I guess this is called progress, but not from my point of view.

Although Amazon’s attitude, marketing strategies, and author relations policies far surpass those of the “Big Six” publishers in New York City, the intimacy that once existed between publisher and author is no longer a business model. In the early days, on any given day I could pick up the telephone, call my editor, or author relations manager, even the head honcho, and actually speak to them on the telephone. In this new age, I must cherish the phone numbers already in my contact list because Amazon now has a policy that prohibits any employee from revealing another employees phone number.

My editor promised a yah or nay by November 4th, which is rapidly approaching. What puzzles me and concerns me is the fact that to date, I’ve heard absolutely nothing from her. I wasn’t expecting her to hold my hand or give me daily progress reports. But I did expect that at some point during the 30-day evaluation she might at least touch base and give me a brief overview of her thoughts thus far. Maybe, considering the number of submissions she has to evaluate, my manuscript is sitting on the corner of her desk collecting dust. Maybe she’s so busy and overloaded with manuscripts that she’s either going to give it a quick read this weekend or extend the November 4th deadline. Whatever the case, I’ve chewed my fingernails down to the bone.

To preserve what little sanity I have left, I’m over 20,000 words into book #5. I think it has a thought provoking title: A Piece of You. Can you guess what it’s about?

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Here we go Again

For those of you who believe I left the galaxy, I’m letting you know that I am actually still occupying space on planet Earth. Since the day I created my web site/blog, time and time again I’d vanish and then apologize for my absence. As a novelist, I know that it’s essential for me to stay visible and to attract as many readers as possible to my web site. And the only way to accomplish that goal is to post regularly.

I haven’t updated my blog since June 2! That’s inexcusable! It’s also damaging to my writing career. Readers have lots of choices and if a writer doesn’t remain visible, his or her loyal followers will jump ship and a promising career can come to a screeching halt. So, here I go again; promising not to vanish for weeks and months, to update my blog regularly even if I only write two sentences. Keep me honest if I go back on my word. In fact, feel free to browbeat me. Enough said.

On a more productive note, it might interest you to know (I hope) that I just finished Hypocrisy, novel #4. I’ll be submitting it to Amazon Publishing in a day or so. Although they published my first three novels, there is no guarantee that they will publish my latest work. Each book has to stand on its own merits. I’m hopeful, of course, that my editor will fall in love with this book, but I’ll be biting my fingernails until I get the “verdict.”

Just in case you’re interested, Hypocrisy is a medical mystery/thriller about cancer research. It’s a compelling story that will make you ask lots of questions about our healthcare system and the politics of cancer treatments. I’ll let you know whether or not Amazon agrees to publish this book. Stay tuned for updates.

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First Come, First Served

We’ve all heard the cliché, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Well, lunch may not be free, but if you want a FREE Kindle copy of I Do Solemnly Swear, my latest novel, just be one of the first 25 to request it. Simply go to: danielannechino@yahoo.com and write, “Please send my FREE copy of IDSS.” That’s it. No tricks. No hidden agenda. No calls at three a.m. trying to sell you a time share in Bosnia.

So what are you waiting for?

PLEASE NOTE: This FREE offer is available only as an electronic download to a Kindle device. It is NOT available for the Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook, or as a physical copy. Also note that it is only valid for the first 25 people who request it.

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