#9 is Finished! Now what?

I finished the edits on my ninth book, Fan Mail. What helped were two things. First, I use a writing program, ProWritingAid which lets me know punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes, but it also lets me know if I overuse a word or phrase. It gives me alternate choices. The tricky part is because adolescent kids (my main characters) tend to have limited vocabularies, there will be words and phrases that are used multiple times. So, I need to be choosey when using different terms and expressions. The words and phrases have to fit the character(s).

The second help is that I always edit the previous chapter before I write the new chapter. This does two things for me. It helps in the overall editing process, so there is less to do at the end. But it also, and this is the main reason I read over, and check and edit the previous chapter, it helps me get into the scene, the setting, and the character’s mind. It makes writing the next chapter easier.

The abbreviated synopsis of Fan Mail, more like a book blurb, is:

Two adopted brothers and four friends, all high school kids, form a popular modern-county rock-n-roll band that is making a name for themselves around the state. Adopted brothers Randy and Bobby, along with band member and best friend, Danny, receive fan mail that began friendly, but has since turned dark, menacing, and aggressive. The letters are ignored by the three boys, which angers the sender. To get their attention, a car bomb is set off, and a suspicious white powder was found in a subsequent letter to Danny.

Because of the growing threats, Randy and Bobby question if they should leave the band. The letters cause stress, strain, and jealousy within their family. So much so, Randy’s and Bobby’s father has a heart attack, and the family of adopted boys is pulled apart, causing them to turn on each other.

Can Detectives Graff, O’Connor, and Eiselmann find the author of the letters before anyone gets hurt or dies?

Fan Mail is a coming of age story embedded in a gripping thriller that will keep the reader guessing who is behind the letters and the car bomb, and fearing one or more of the boys may die before the culprit is found.

A tagline I’m using with Fan Mail is:

Letters from a fan begin friendly, but turn threatening and menacing, causing a heart attack, and stress, strain and jealousy. They threaten to pull a family apart. Who would have thought a bullet would bring the family back together?

This book differs from the other books I’ve written. It is not a straight thriller-crime story, but more of a coming of age story wrapped in a thriller. It is longer than my other books. Like my other books, it was fun and satisfying to write. I laughed out loud and wept in spots as I wrote it. It will tug at your emotions and will cause you to reflect.

I subscribe to the belief that a good book, any book, is never finished by the author. A book is finished by the reader. His or her feelings and experiences with the book color the book and make it his or her own, aside from the author.

So, what comes next?

I have several beta readers reading Fan Mail. They will point out flaws, try to pick up any mistakes in punctuation and grammar my writing program and I didn’t find. They might point out weaknesses in the plot line. So when it gets published, the reader has a “clean” copy to enjoy.

Next, it goes to an agent (for those looking for one) or to the publishing company. Publishers have an editing process and I will get several versions to look over to accept or to reject the suggested changes. This takes a couple of weeks, if not longer, depending upon the number of revisions the book goes through.

At this same time, the publisher’s design team develops a cover for the book. I’ve been blessed with the covers David King and his crew have come up with. I find them striking. They stick out and catch one’s eye. I believe that a cover attracts a reader, as much as an author’s name recognition does.

The cover process also involves finalizing the book blurb. It might be the same as the one above, or it could be different, depending on a mutual decision between the publisher and me.

Once everything is completed, a press release is written and sent to various outlets. The book might be entered into several contests. I generally use a blog tour or two to drum up anticipation and publicity.

I compare the publication of a book to pregnancy and giving birth. Not that I have firsthand experience with the process, other than watching my wife and learning from her. But, from the book’s idea through the writing, editing, and the entire publication process, it takes nine months to a year, sometimes longer, depending upon how long the publisher’s line of new books is.

That’s why when I say “I’m finished with my book!” you don’t see it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble right away. It takes time. The publisher doesn’t want one book robbing the spotlight from another author’s book.

Before the actual publication, I will get advance copies to sell. The book will also be scheduled for preordering through the publisher. And as a side note, the ebook (Kindle or Nook) comes out after the paperback version. Not long after, but long enough to cause me to receive questions from some of my readers.

Yes, Fan Mail is finished. But it isn’t . . . yet. When I know the publication timeline, I will be happy to share it with you. While you are waiting, here are my other books for you to enjoy, along with other ways to keep in touch with me.

Connect with me on Social Media: 
Author Websitewww.jrlewisauthor.blog/
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author  
Amazon at: www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /

Blaze In, Blaze Out: A Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read! A BestThriller’s Editor’s Pick!

Eiselmann and O’Connor thought the conviction of Dmitry Andruko, the head of a Ukrainian crime family, meant the end. It was only the beginning. They forgot that revenge knows no boundaries, vindictiveness knows no restraints, and ruthlessness never worries about collateral damage. Andruko hired contract killers to go after and kill O’Connor and Eiselmann. The killers can be anyone and be anywhere. They can strike at any time. They care nothing of collateral damage. Andruko believes a target is a target, and in the end, the target must die. https://amzn.to/34lNllP

Betrayed: A PenCraft 1st Place Winner for Thriller-Fiction! A Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery/Suspense! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read Award Winner! A Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner for Fiction-Crime-Mystery!

Betrayed is Now Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! https://amzn.to/3AfUUpS

A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is talking. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Greed can be all-consuming, and seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx

Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent, and methodical. So far, he has murdered eight people. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, do not know they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm

Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com 

Caught in a Web is also available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! http://bit.ly/2WO3kka

They found the bodies of high school and middle school kids dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. A violent gang, MS-13, controls the drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors. They send Ricardo Fuentes to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696  
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they live in separate parts of the country, the lives of Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their futures grow dark as each search for a way out. https://amzn.to/34nXBH5
Book One, Stolen Lives: Editor’s Pick by BestThrillers! Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Crime Thriller finalist in the 2021 Best Thriller Book Awards!
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they will end up like the other kids they found- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. To make the investigation that much tougher, Kelliher suspects that one of his team members might be involved. https://amzn.to/3oMo4qZ  
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
The boys are home, but now they have to fit back in with their families and friends. Their parents and the FBI thought the boys were safe. They were until people began dying. Now the hunt is on for six dangerous and desperate men who vow revenge. With no leads and nothing to go on, the FBI can only sit back and wait. A dangerous game that threatens not only the boys, but their families. https://amzn.to/2RAYIk2 
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
Three dangerous men with nothing to lose offer a handsome reward to anyone willing to kill fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern. He does not know that he, his younger brother, and a friend are targets. More than anyone, these three men vow to kill George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and hide. A fun vacation turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Nation Reservation, high on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather. Outnumbered and outgunned, George will make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his adoptive father and his adoptive brothers- but can he? Without knowing who these men are? Or where they are? Without knowing whom to trust? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and death? http://bit.ly/SplinteredLives  

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