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Newsletter Dated: 10/31/2007 8:04:46 PM
Subject: Soup*s On
Andrea Campbell’s Newsletter
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, professional friend of Andrea*s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine.
Have questions, comments, or ideas for future publication? I look forward to your input and hope you will stay around.
In this issue:
• From the Author*s Desk
• True Crime & Diane Fanning
• Primate Press, LLC, My Experience
*** From The Author*s Desk ***
This issue has a Q & A interview with Diane Fanning. I met Diane in New York City a couple years ago when her book, Written in Blood, was an Edgar nomination for true crime. When we made plans to meet and I saw her for the first time, I knew we had good chemistry right away. Diane is also in a private e-list group with me and several other writers called Death Writers Talking. You can imagine how interesting the
e-mails for this group get!
Detective Notebook: Crime Scene Science is now in a new format. A .pdf e-book with real graphics makes this book doubly fun. It’s for ages 10 and up, and includes activities that kids can do at home to collect fingerprints, learn chromatography, and more. Popular with teachers who buy them 20 at a time, this CD allows students to plug in their own copy. Tell your own children’s teachers about it, I have good deals for multiple purchases. Have teachers e-mail me at: email@example.com
November 5, I am going to be featured in an interview for Author’s Access. It’s a phone call that is converted into a website broadcast that anyone can listen to. Here is the URL for more information: http://www.authorsaccess.com
November 9, 5:30 p.m. Friday night, find me at Hot Springs Country Club for an Arkansas Author tribute put on by the Literacy Council of Garland County. I got the opportunity to choose the authors this year and we have a wonderful line-up! Charlaine Harris, Laura Parker Castoro, Grif Stockley, Dusty Richards, Carla McClafferty, Janis Kearney, Melanie Sue Bowles and me, the best in their genre, if I do say so myself! We will have readings, book sales, hors d’oeuvres, and lots of interaction.
I love to e-teach. So I am very excited about my new, online e-course: The Gatekeepers: All About Agents and Editors—Getting them, working with them, and growing as a career author. It is 4-weeks-long with lots of forum interaction and a weekly >chat< night. For more information, please visit: http://www.absoluteclasses.com/Campbell/gatekeepers.htm
*** True Crime & Diane Fanning ***
Q.: Diane, tell us what type of writing background you have. Did you study journalism in college? take writing courses? what?
You’d have to go back to high school to find any educational writing background for me. I took a journalism class in tenth grade, was the news editor of the school paper and did an internship at the now defunct Baltimore News American. However, when I went to college, I majored in Chemistry.
For as many years as I can remember, though, I have done what I considered the two most important things to learn the craft. I’ve read obsessively and written incessantly.
Q.: I'm sure many of our mystery writing readers have lots of questions for you, so let me think: Isn't writing true crime fairly gritty? How do you begin a project? and where do you find your source material?
There is a gritty element in writing true crime since you need to view crime scene photos and read autopsy reports. I focus more, though, on the human side of the story—the lives of the victims and the impact on their family, friends and community.
The genre provides many rewards that make the grittiness pale in comparison. One of my books, THROUGH THE WINDOW, played in instrumental role in securing justice for a wrongfully committed woman. Others have had a positive impact, making a significant—although less dramatic--difference in individual’s lives.
When I start my work, I review all available press coverage seeking out names of possible sources. When I speak with each of those people, I always ask, “Who else do you think I need to contact?” The answers to that question expand my list of possible interview subjects to those who have not been questioned by other media.
In addition to interviews, I get documents from investigators, prosecutors and the courts. When possible, I attend the trial.
Q.: A word about your publisher. Have you been with the same folks from the beginning and how is the true crime market?
St. Martin’s Press has published all seven of my true crime titles. Although a number of publishers release an occasional true crime book, only two—St. Martin’s Press and Kensington—have a book out every month:
Q.: What is your latest book about?
My latest book, OUT THERE—released on October 30—is about Lisa Nowak and the astronaut love triangle that made headlines and punch lines in February of this year. It was an unusual writing experience in true crime since no one died and there were no crime scene photos or autopsy reports.
Q.: Do you find yourself getting emotionally involved with these lives you document? Have you ever been threatened? Since we live in such a litigious society today, have victims or principles try to scare you with lawsuits?
I often get emotionally involved with victims’ family members. Many of them maintain contact with me for years. I became very connected to one victim, Susan McFarland, because of access to her personal journals. While writing GONE FOREVER, I experienced a grieving period over her death.
Most of the threats I have received are anonymous, obscenity-laden and empty. Threats of law suits abound though, usually from those with a connection to a perpetrator. The woman who married serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells after he was on death row, for example, sends me threats of imminent legal action on a regular basis.
I was a party in one actual law suit. I was backed wholeheartedly by the legal department at St. Martin’s Press who viewed the litigation as an assault on my first amendment rights. When the plaintiffs made a $4,500 offer to settle this six-figure suit, St. Martin’s wanted to accept since the next step in the legal process would cost them $20,000 or more.
Nonetheless, they offered to continue pursuing the case on the grounds of the principle involved if that was what I wished. I decided to settle for the sake of the publisher’s bottom line and because the legal action was interfering with my work and my life.
Q.: You did receive a nomination for an Edgar. How did you find that experience?
The nomination for an Edgar Award was exhilarating. Not only was it the ultimate validation from my peers, but it also was a great excuse to travel to Manhattan for a fabulous party.
Q.: What are your goals for the future?
My first mystery novel, BITE THE MOON, was released this summer. I really enjoyed writing fiction and want to continue. My goal is to have a novel and a true crime book published each year.
I have also discovered how much I love public speaking and teaching opportunities. I would like to do more of them. I enjoy sharing my experiences and knowledge in classes for writers, talking to high school students about the lessons they can learn to protect themselves and making presentations about the writing life that gives me so much pleasure and enjoyment.
*** Primate Press, LLC My Experience ***
Last issue I told you I started Primate Press, LLC., my own publishing company. Several people have asked for details.
I did the paperwork online to incorporate, (It cost me $89, and, if you do a search for Limited Liability incorporation + your state’s name, you will find a service for yourself). The e-application also made it easy to get my Arkansas tax id number by supplying paperwork to the Secretary of State (my guy is Charlie Daniels in Little Rock) where you file for $50., and receive an incorporation certificate. You also have to contact the IRS in order to set up your tax filing system (I did it by telephone—although the IRS agent spoke to me as if I was ten-years-old).
I selected a logo—a cute graphic of a monkey gymnast going over a bar that I got from ClipArt.com, a great subscription service for downloading graphics and photographs. You can get an e-newsletter from them first, if you’re thinking of buying a subscription. If you plan on doing a lot of website building or sell sheet advertising, it might be for you; It runs $169.95 per year but they often have sales with $40 off.
Currently I am studying Adobe InDesign. I bought it at discount, (version 3), from the EverythingOutlet.com for $259.99 and formatted my own book text. (I also upgraded my Mac operating system for my husband and myself by getting OS X Tiger from Amazon for $169.99; your computer should stay up-to-date with current software).
From the information I gleaned from book designer, Pete Masterson, (see the Jul-Aug issue of Soup*s On) and his book, Book Design and Production, (cost $23.76), you cannot turn a book into a printer if you typed the copy with MSWord or any other computer word processing program. So, InDesign was a must for me. Books don’t read well, look professional, or have the same eye-appeal if you don’t readjust it to a higher standard. By the way, I did get book formatting advice and help from Larry Kozial. I won a Web site makeover from Dynamic Graphics Magazine (July 2007 issue) and Larry did my Web site re-design. He is my new best friend. I hope to have an interview with him next issue.
I also learned how to write a RFQ—Request for Quote—from information I got from Dan Poynter’s Book: Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual (I used saved-up points at Writer’s Digest Book Club), and Fern Reiss’ book, The Publishing Game (purchased from Amazon.com). The RFQ is a document that you prepare with the specifics of book production, that is to say, how you want your book to look. Do you want a softcover trade book? Do you want a glossy or matt cover? 10-pt. or 12 pt. (thickness, non-curl)? How many pages? Are there graphics or illustrations? What type of paper? and so on.
While waiting for responses, I bought the domain name monkeyromance.com and designed a website (Adobe GoLive CS2) where you can get Author*s Notes, a Sell Sheet, and media information. I have three other sites with Network Solutions, so I will upload (piggyback) with them. I’ve been online for a while, so prices won’t help you here. I’ll post the site when I get the pub. date.
Then, since I knew my book would have full-color art made from digital camera photographs and photo-shopped images, I began to collect printer names of overseas companies from lists on Masterson’s site, and a Publisher’s Weekly article about overseas printers. When I had a list of companies I thought I should solicit, I sent my RFQ to about 30 different ones. The printing prices from each company come into your e-mail box and you have to sort through them, looking at specs and prices, for your particular budget. Several of the book reps called me direct by phone and I loved that! It was a great way to ask questions and learn more about printers.
In the meantime I joined SPAN, the Small Publishers Association of North America, and got a discount because I am a professional member of ASJA, the American Society of Journalists and Authors; it cost me $70. They have good benefits and networking.
Next step was purchasing ISBN numbers. I went to R.R. Bowker for that. We registered online and bought a block of ten ISBNs, and I added in the barcode for our first book. Total cost there was: $300. You will typically use one ISBN number for each edition, whether that is large print, hardbound or whatever. We have four titles scheduled for production over the next year and a half. The first is a hoot! It’s called: Love Monkey: A Tail Tale of Desire, Romance and Intrigue.
The printer we decided on is in Korea: Asia Printing Co., Ltd. in Seoul. MinSoo Chung has been my representative and his service is exemplary. And their book samples are gorgeous. I will tell you what I am paying if you are going to self-publish yourself; and you e-mail me privately.
This coming week I am going to open a small business bank account and am going with Arvest, they have the best plan. That’s the report for now…
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters we will share a new interview or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area of my life or work you would like to discuss, from autopsy to monkeys, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. : 0 )
Copyright©2007 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here, fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.