It’s with deep sadness that I share the news of Robert Ressler’s passing, who died in his sleep this morning at the age of 76. Officially, Robert was known as a “former FBI agent, author, and lecturer,” but he was so much more than that: he was a founding father of what’s now known as the Behavioral Analysis Unit. He was instrumental in constructing, and contributing to, the knowledge base of serial offender behavior in the early days of criminal profiling.
We’ve finally launched my completely redesigned website, which has been months in the making. I came to realize that over the past 14 years I’ve amassed a lot of content. For “Alan Jacobson fans,” there’s a plethora of information on each of my novels, including reviews, interviews, reading guides for book groups, book trailers, video interviews with my buddy, FBI profiler Mark Safarik—and lots more.
For aspiring writers, there are pages of articles on choosing an agent, the business of publishing, what to look out for in contracts, how and when to apply for a copyright—and other topics of interest to those trying to get published.
You’re now caught you up on what happened after I handed in my copyedits for Crush. But what else have I been doing? Well, LOTS. To borrow from a cliché (because I can’t use them in my novels, and sometimes they’re fun to throw around), it’s been pedal to the metal. Here’s what’s been going on, in a nutshell (and I’m leaving stuff out because I can’t remember it all!)…
With Crush now “in the can” and rolling off the printing press, the task of promoting it—letting people know it’s out there—is crucial. My publisher is unusual in that it encourages (and requires) authors to be involved in the promotion process. In sum, promotion has been going on for months. I’ve written material that’ll be used to promote the novel…for websites, like AuthorBuzz, for blogs, and other web-based venues; I’ve worked with my publisher to rewrite and finalize the jacket text (the descriptive passage that’s on the book flap); I worked extensively with the Audio publisher to select the best voice actor, listening to clips of actresses who’d make the best Karen Vail (talk about tough!); I’ve notified key people of Crush’s release and had galleys sent (or sent them myself) to reviewers, booksellers, and others; worked with one of the Napa Valley wineries mentioned in Crush to coordinate our big book launch event.
The mass market paperback for The 7th Victim is now available. I’ve made a few minor corrections to the text and helped with tweaks to the interior layout design. Mostly, however, this is a process that’s handled by the publisher, particularly my project editor, who oversees the production and printing. The 7th Victim paperback is available in bookstores nationwide, at your favorite online retailer, and on Kindle. For those who don’t know, The 7th Victim was named to Library Journal’s “Best Books of the Year” list—a tremendous honor, considering it was chosen from amongst 7,000 entries.
In my continuing blog series of an author’s behind-the-scenes life (actually, it follows the process from the time a novel is readied for submission through publication and book tour) it’s only fitting we talk now about the next step that happens in a novel’s life: the paperback edition.
Sometime around the point I was handing in the final tweaks to the galleys for Crush, I had to submit changes I wanted made to the text for The 7th Victim.
The reviews are arriving—and I’m very, very pleased. I wanted to share them with you. I won’t bog you down with the full text, which repeatedy recaps the storyline, so here are pertinent excerpts:
Crush is “addictive…(with) a shockeroo cliffhanger.”
“As a bookseller, reviewer, and avid reader of thrillers, this novel blew me away. (It’s) the best the industry has to offer…from one of the very best writers in the industry today. In these uncertain times, getting lost in the grips of the best thriller to come along in years is just what we need. Be one of the first in line when Crush hits the stores; it is sure to be a HUGE contender for major awards.”
–BestsellersWorld.com (Russell Ilg)
“Told from the viewpoints of the protagonist and the antagonist, readers see fascinating perspectives of a predator and a hunter challenging one another. CRUSH is a very exciting and chilling thriller.”
– Midwest Book Review (Harriet Klausner)
Forgive me…it’s been four months since my last post (sounds like a confession). But I haven’t been off in blog vacationland. I’ve been researching and writing the next Karen Vail novel, which will follow Crush (due out NEXT MONTH!!). That’s the other thing I’ve been doing—getting ready for Crush’s launch.
So let me briefly bring you up to date on what happened since I last posted on the process of publishing a novel. When we last spoke, I’d handed in my Crush copyedits (see post of 4/2). The project editor reviewed all my notes and changes—I’d “touched” 130 pages of Crush, and made about 200 changes. Some of those were formatting (incorrect quote mark, missing period, improperly formatted paragraphs)—stuff that happens when a Word document is digitally converted into publishing software. But a lot of it consisted of contextual changes. This can be merely polish (fixing repeated words) or seeing something I (or my editor and copyeditor) hadn’t seen earlier when the novel was in manuscript format. There’s something about seeing it printed like a book that makes the eye and brain see the text differently.
Let’s take a brief break from my series chronicling the behind-the-scenes production process involved in publishing my forthcoming September thriller, Crush (if you haven’t yet read these posts, start from the first entry; if you’re reading this somewhere other than my website, my prior articles are at www.AlanJacobson.com). I want to say a few words about eBooks—specifically, Amazon’s Kindle…with an emphasis on the Kindle2.
For several years, eBooks have been hovering in the background, electronic fodder for the new generation. Some embraced it and loved the portability while others turned their noses because it wasn’t a paper book they could hold and feel. The biggest criticism was that these books needed to be read on a computer-like backlit screen, and these people said they spent enough time in front of their computers…or the light bothered their eyes after prolonged periods. This only served to underscore the fact that there wasn’t a physical book to hold.
I’m back amongst the living again…my copyedits have been handed in and I’m back to outlining and doing research for—oops, almost spilled the title of the new Karen Vail novel I’m working on. (If you’re new to my blog, rewind…or, rather, click on the link to the right that’s called “Prior entries” [if you're reading on Amazon, go to my website, www.AlanJacobson.com.] I’m documenting the behind-the-scenes process of publishing my forthcoming novel, Crush.) This stuff is unedited to save time…which is better spent writing new novels, right?
So what, exactly, is copyediting? Standard editing involves reading the book with an ear to evaluating the plot, the characters, the pacing, the story, etc. A good editor is astute about the genre in which the author writes and understands what he’s trying to accomplish. The editor may suggest changes that tighten the story by cutting a scene (or a sentence), or suggesting you draw out the suspense by withholding a piece of information longer, etc. (Standard editing has become a rarity the past decade or so because of its cost; fortunately, my publisher still employs the services of astute editors.)
While I was away (from the blog space) news hit my inbox. What’s the news? Wait—for those who are joining us mid-blog (is that a term?), I’m documenting the production process of getting the next Karen Vail novel written and into print. So scroll down (or look to your right under “Prior entries”) and read the other postings. (If you’re reading this on Amazon, the prior postings are available on my website, www.AlanJacobson.com. Click on the “Blog” tab. I know, kind of obvious, but…)
So I’ve now received the cover art for Crush. I suggested minor changes/improvements/ refinements to the art and my publisher agreed with my thoughts. It evokes the same feel as The 7th Victim, which, as we’ve been told many times over, was a winning piece of art. A great many people loved it. The cover for Crush is clean, classy, and eye-catching. As soon as I get permission, I’ll post it to my site…probably in May, I would guess.
Key Jack Bauer’s voice: “Previously on 24…”
Oops. Sorry, got carried away. I’m enjoying this new season of 24 (after last season’s disaster, they needed to come back strong or their franchise would die a death not unlike Tony Almeida’s. Then again, Tony didn’t really die, did he?).
But I digress. When I last blogged, I’d worked with my editor to polish the manuscript. I know, I still haven’t told you the title. I will—I promise. If you haven’t yet read the prior blog posting, go ahead and read it so you’ll know what’s going on. This entry is kind of like Chapter 3… Either scroll down, or look on the right under “Categories, Prior entries.”
So I submitted the final manuscript on January 26.