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Going to DC

So the latest from the keys. Last night I edited Killer Commute for about four hours. For the first time I copied and pasted the novel into one file. I've done a spell check, and I know I need to read through the whole thing. 320 something pages. The novel is by far the best novel I've written. Acid Tree Park was filled with a few chapters that could have been edited out, and discussing editing - it was obvious after others read the book and from their comments, it needed a professional or at least my friend DZ who has incredible insight and expertise. Last week I received the following email:

Dear Mike, Thank you for your interest in the Five Star Mystery program. I'm attaching a brief outline of the terms of our program, along with the Five Star Author’s Handbook for your review. I am also attaching a Trademark Reference Sheet from Five Star for your review and an “Author Tip-Sheet” (required by Five Star) for you to fill out and return with your manuscript. After reviewing these terms, if you still wish to submit your novel: 1. Please attach the complete manuscript in a single electronic file (in MS Word or RTF format), formatted according to Five Star’s guidelines (see pgs. 18-20 in the Author’s Handbook).2. Include a short synopsis (one page) in a separate file.3. Review and completely fill out the Author Tip-Sheet form attached. Please do not use “track changes” to fill out the form.4. Send the above three attachments (the manuscript, the synopsis file, and the completed Author Tip-Sheet) with your reply to Please note that there is no need to complete the Author's Agreement (pages 24 and 25 in the Handbook) at this time; that will be executed only if we acquire your manuscript. Please let me know if you have any questions, or if there is anything else I can do. Best regards,Rosalind GreenbergTekno Books

This looks very promising and I responded to Roz that I would like two weeks and then will send the novel as well as completing the attachments. There is an advance, which is a rarity for an unknown. I will need to detail promotional work as well as do some homework since they are conscientious about trade mark infringements. What I mean, I need to check if I can use Long Island Rail Road...Budweiser...etc. I edited some lyrics from songs. This is the real deal compared to some of the other publishers and the potential for reviews and awards are here. This doesn't mean I signed the contract. All in God's hands.

Today, I received another rejection from another publisher. I don't think there would've have been a good fit if they accepted me. From their web site they are bent on sarcastic remarks and even mentioning or boasting that one of their employees or owners is an atheist. What does this have to do with publishing mysteries? And who cares what the owners first name is or if it's real. Yeah!

Hi Mike,Thank you for letting us look at sample material from your book. We appreciate the time and creative energy you have put into your work. I’m sorry to tell you that, after careful consideration, we have decided that your book does not meet our needs.

The most common reasons queries are rejected are:Poor grammar and/or spelling and frequent typosThe author is telling the story instead of showing itUnrealistic dialogue
Poor characterization
The plot is derivative
We don't accept poetry, or juveniles, or children's books, or non-fiction
Our acquisitions editor is having a bad day

Keep in mind that this is just one publisher's opinion on one particular day. Another publisher might very well decide that this is exactly what they are looking for. Whatever the reason for our rejection, we thank you for thinking of Swimming Kangaroo Books and hope you will keep us in mind for future submissions. Dive into a good book at

OK, time to read and edit for a couple of hours till I pass out.

Tomorrow we're headed to Baltimore and on Tuesday morning we'll be up early to witness the inaguration of Barack Obama


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