First, thanks to the thousands of my readers who entered the contest to win a signed advance reading copy of The Cuban Affair. Three names were picked at random, and the winners are: Judi D. of Hailey, Idaho, Nanci T. of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Stephanie B. of Summerfield, North Carolina who is giving the book to her dad, Eddie, who is celebrating his 92nd birthday.
I wish I could have sent everyone a copy, but everyone who entered will get the copy they pre-ordered, on September 19. Thanks for ordering, and thanks for your emails that accompanied many of the entries.
BookExpo (the largest annual book trade fair in the U.S.) has just concluded at the Javits Center in New York City, and I’ve posted some photos on social media.
My publisher, Simon & Schuster, has made The Cuban Affair their lead title for the fall season, which almost guarantees that the first printing will be sold out, so the printing presses are running 24/7 to keep up with demand. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but as I said in my May Newsletter archived, I’d love to debut at #1 on the bestseller lists, and your online pre-orders can help.
If you’d like to read the first chapter of The Cuban Affair before you order, I’m posting Chapter 1 on my website in July, then Chapter 2 in August. On September 18, the day before publication date, I’ll post the last chapter and give away the ending. Just kidding.
On June 3, I did a joint appearance with my good friend, Doug Brunt, at the Book Revue bookstore in Huntington, Long Island, NY. Doug signed his new book, Trophy Son, which is a great read. It was a lively evening, and if you were there, thanks for coming. And thanks to Book Revue owners Robert and Richard Klein. As always, they were terrific hosts. Patronize your local independent bookstore.
People often ask me, “What do you do after you’ve finished a book?” Well, I usually have a drink and pat myself on the back – with my free hand, not the hand with the drink. Then I spend a week straightening out my writing room, boxing up all my research material and sending it off to Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center where my archives are kept. They’re happy to get my research notes, my handwritten manuscripts, and my typed drafts, and I’m happy to get rid of the clutter. The archivists separate stuff that got boxed by mistake, like fast food wrappers and chop sticks from the sushi place next door, and they send this stuff back to me. But seriously, if you’re ever in Boston and you’d like to see the Nelson DeMille archives, go to BU’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center. If you come across any receipts that the IRS wants me to produce, let me know.
Tuesday, June 13, is publication day for MatchUp, which I mentioned in my last Newsletter. Some of the best writers in America have contributed a short story to this International Thriller Writers anthology and this is my #1 recommendation for a great summer read. Check out John Corey working with Lisa Scottoline’s Bennie Rosato. You will not be disappointed.
So what else do I do after I’ve finished a book? Glad you asked. One of the first things I do is to make sure that everyone – author, agent, and publisher – agrees on the title. Titles are important. If Jaws had been titled Teeth, it might not have done so well. Similarly, if the Bible had been titled Jews, sales would have been limited.
Next, I look at mock book covers from the publisher’s art department. Covers, like titles, are important and I think we have a winner with this one. It’s true you can’t tell a book by its cover, but you can tell who the author is, and you’ll notice my name is in big letters, which will be embossed and metallic on the book. I protested that this was too much, and I begged the publisher to tone down my name, but they insisted – so I approved the cover.
The next thing I do is read and edit the flap copy, catalogue copy, ad copy, press releases, promotional material and so forth. Then I spend hours with the publisher’s publicity department planning my book tour: radio, TV, and press interviews, bookstore signings and whatever else needs to be done to launch a book. You can see why authors say, “The easy part was writing the book.”
But enough complaining. This is my 20th book since my first, By the Rivers of Babylon, published in 1978. What started out as a hobby became a career, then a life. I am blessed.
The Fourth of July falls on Tuesday this year, and I wish everyone a safe, patriotic, and happy four-day weekend.
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