by Leo Maloney
Writing my first novel has been a 3-year process. When I started, I had no concept of the work and time that would be required. It seemed to me that I had a pretty interesting story, based on my thirty-years of experiences as a Black Ops contractor. I naively thought that when I was finished writing the book, a publishing company would jump at the chance to publish it. I had no training as a writer, but found I had a knack for telling a story. I combined events and characters from my past in a plot that I felt would appeal to thriller readers. Other authors had to do research … I was writing from experience, so I felt I had an edge.
I brought my manuscript to ThrillerFest 2010 in NYC with the goal of getting an agent. I didn’t. But I learned about writing “rules” and the procedures involved with publishing. Upon returning home I refined my novel and sent query letters to dozens of agents. Some sent back polite letters stating that the book wasn’t their type; others ignored me.
I considered giving up, but then decided to explore self-publishing. Having some experience with promotions, I opened my own publishing company, Independent Publishing House (IPH), with a NYC address and phone number. I found experts in the specialties that I needed: freelance editors, a graphic arts designer, printer, publicist, and a consultant who was working in publishing. With their help, I produced my book and printed a first run. With Lightning Source as distributor, the book was available on Amazon.com as both a print and e-book. I was able to place copies in a local Walgreens and independent bookstore, but was frustrated that Barnes and Noble would not talk to me.
I knew then I needed a publisher.
After about seven months, I was fortunate to have a conversation with Michaela Hamilton, Executive Editor of Kensington Publishing Corp. A couple of weeks later I went to NYC to meet with Michaela and also met everyone at the company, from the owner to the mail handler. Everyone treated me like a member of the Kensington family. Within days I had a contract for a 2-book deal. After some editing and an impressive new cover, Termination Orders was released.
I attended ThrillerFest again this year, and was asked to be on a panel. I will attend Bouchercon and will participate on a panel there as well. I have several signings at bookstores scheduled as well as radio interviews.
I think one of the most important benefits of a mainstream publisher is that “they’ve done it” … they have a formula that works. In addition, they can get you into stores that a self-published author cannot get into, unless he already has a huge reputation. It took a great deal of hard work, self-promoting and luck to get to this point.
What I have learned from this journey is not to give up. If you believe in yourself, have a good commercial product and work hard, you can be successful.
TERMINATION ORDERS: Once a trained killer for the CIA, Dan Morgan has built a new life for himself. But when he receives a desperate plea from his former Black Ops partner - reportedly killed in a foreign battle zone - he flies to help. It should be a routine mission, extracting a human asset from the region. But it's not routine; it's an ambush. Now Morgan is running for his life, holding crucial evidence. With his contacts dead and family in danger, Morgan must take on a full-scale conspiracy in the highest echelons of a vast global network that plays by its own rules - when it suits them. For Dan Morgan, it's about to come to an end in Washington, D.C., on a national stage, in the crosshairs of a killer...