R. Michael Phillips is a classically trained artist who has been painting for over 25 years. By combining his creative talents with a passion for London he conceived the fictional world of the East London Adventurers Club, home to The Ernie Bisquets Mystery Series. Three books in the series are complete and there are plans for at least five additional books following The Adventurers of London’s most remarkable pickpocket. Michael is a proud member of the Crime Writer’s Association and Mystery Writers Of America. I will be reviewing the third book in the series, PASSAGE OF CRIME, and Michael is giving away a hardback, signed copy so be sure to 1) leave a comment below and 2) go HERE. Michael is here today, on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, to tell us to finish the book! Welcome, Michael.
Finish the book!
By: R. Michael Phillips
Get Published Today!
Getting an Agent in 5 Easy Steps!
Publishers are Looking for Your Manuscript!
Get Your Book Noticed!
We’ve all seen these promotions. One after another, promising a clear, step-by-step way to becoming the next Dan Brown or Mary Higgins Clark. Believe me, it’s not that easy. If it were, we would all be best selling authors. As it is, we’re not, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have it in us to beat the odds and go for it.
Ask any author at a book signing what it took to get where they are now and I’m sure their journey started with hard work and disappointment. You’ll hear stories about how many times their first book was rejected, how editors cringed when they saw their 9th draft, how many times they had to go back to the beginning and revamp the plot, etc., etc.
Now I know this seems the opposite of an uplifting, if-you-write-it-they-will-read, never give up, blog post from one writer to another, but give me a few more minutes of your time and I’ll get to the good stuff. I’ll get back to those four promotions I mentioned at the beginning of this, but before I do that there are three minor steps you need to follow first.
Step 1. Finish the book. Until it’s down on paper (and when I say paper I mean in some type of digital form saved on your computer) in a form that can be read, an idea for a book is nothing more than a fleeting flight of fancy. You can talk about it all you want, but until it’s on paper it’s not a book.
Step 2. Finish the book. You dotted the last “i” and crossed the last “t” in what will surely be the next great American novel. You sit back in your chair, finish the last sips of the cold coffee you poured six hours ago, and say to yourself, “it’s done.” Right? You couldn’t be more wrong. All you’ve done is finished the first draft. That was the easy part. If at some point between step 1 and step 2 you felt the urge to take a creative writing class, or an intensive workshop on sentence structure, I applaud your dedication to doing things right. There’s a reason you enjoy the books you read, and that enjoyment can be explained in a class or two about writing. It’s well worth the investment.
Step 3. And now the most important step–FINISH THE BOOK! Go get another cup of coffee and start back at the beginning, turning your mass jumble of strung together sentences into a presentable story. When this is done move onto the editing process. You’ll need help here–a good copy editor and beta readers. This is where we separate the writers from the authors. You probably won’t like most of what they have to tell you, but its necessary. If you want to hear how wonderful your book is, show it to your mother. If you want a book that can capture the attention of an agent, a book people will want to read and enjoy, get the guidance of a good editor and beta readers first. After these people are satisfied, you can safely say you’ve finished the book.
Now, about those four come-ons listed above. These are certainly an option now that the book is finished, but not in the ways you think. So, lets look at them from a new perspective.
1. Get Published Today! Since the advent of POD this is certainly more of an option than it has ever been. Amazon, Lulu, and the list goes on. If you’re able to set your book up into their templates, you can have your book for sale almost immediately with no cost to you. If not, they provide services at set prices. Just be cautious about who your paying, what you’re getting for it, and what rights (if any) you’re giving up.
2. Getting an Agent in 5 Easy Steps! This one is a little trickier. If you followed the first 3 steps listed above you’re partway there. Before proceeding, do your research. Find agencies/agents that specialize in your genre. Sending it anywhere else is just a waste of time. Then, on to Step 4. This would be to draft an incredibly creative, this is amazing, I can’t wait to read the whole manuscript, query letter. Even though this is a three-paragraph document, don’t expect to do this in one sitting. You have one shot at capturing an agent’s attention, make it count. There are great resources on the web (some free others not so much) for crafting compelling queries, so I won’t go into it here. This is a post for another day. Step 5: start querying. It’s best to keep a log of the queries you’ve sent. Expect rejections, its part of the process. To keep your mind off the responses, get started on your next book. There’s a chance the first one won’t see the light of day, so you’re second effort will have to pick up the charge and press forward. You can always return to the first later.
3. Publishers are Looking for Your Manuscript! This is very true, but once again you need to have a finished manuscript at hand before venturing down that road. Small independent presses have popped up all over. You can usually contact them directly with a query/synopsis. Do your research, find a publisher specializing in your genre and have at it. Remember though–expect rejections. If you’re looking more toward the large, mainstream publishers you’ll need an agent–see #2 above.
4. Get Your Book Noticed! This is something you need to do no matter what. Get the public interested as early as possible. Before querying, have a website/blog to get the buzz going. Use all the usual social channels to promote the coming of your novel. Hint at the characters and conflict, but don’t give too much away. You are the best marketing person for your book, so get out there and promote.
The best advice I can close with is–don’t give up. I was told a long time ago that 90% of writers give up for one reason or another and never become published. If you look at it that way, you’ve already eliminated 90% of your competition. Be part of the 10% and finish the book.
PASSAGE OF CRIME is a traditional English mystery that brings together the unlikely combination of a dowdy old Scotland Yard Inspector and Ernie Bisquets, a reformed pickpocket, in this whodunit set in contemporary London.
London’s East End, once known for poor boroughs and a derelict rail yard, is enjoying an optimistic resurgence. It’s becoming an affordable option for middleclass residents looking to have their pounds go further. Despite this sweeping out of old rubbish, a cautious step is still advised when passing by a few remaining dark alleys. If only Mary Walsh had listened.
Prophet Brown, a disfigured, pathetic little man, called Detective Inspector Flannel after stumbling upon the body of a young woman in one such alley. Flannel quickly realizes she is not the random victim she appears. Add to that, the crime scene is hauntingly reminiscent of an old unsolved case; a case that almost ended an otherwise brilliant career eight years ago.
For the moment, Prophet Brown is the only solid link between the two cases. He has been in the employ of a charismatic and well-connected Member of Parliament for 17 years–the very man Flannel unsuccessfully accused of the murders in the previous case.
Flannel finds himself navigating a very treacherous course. His superiors have warned him for the last time to tread cautiously around the MP, and the rising tide of the past threatens to pull him under. Reluctantly, Inspector Flannel turns to a most unlikely ally, a reformed pickpocket named Ernie Bisquets. Together they disentangle a mesh of old lies and current clues attempting to bring a ruthless murderer to justice–ignoring the dangerous notion of murder being a carefully disguised trait passed from one generation to the next.
I loved the book. Of course I love police procedurals and British ones the best. Detective Inspector Flannel and reformed pickpocket Erne Bisquets make a great team when it seems a murderer has resurfaced after eight years. This is a very well written mystery with very well drawn characters. It is a series you are going to want to follow. Now you will excuse me while I go back and start it from the beginning so I will be ready when the 4th in the series comes out! ♥♥♥♥♥
- web www.eastlondonadventurersclub.com
- blog http://rmichael-fifer.blogspot.com
- GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2995205.R_Michael_Phillips
- Buy the book: Amazon B & N
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