“Sentence first, verdict afterwards.” -Lewis Carroll
When I retired from my consulting firm in 2000 my family and I moved to France. It was time to stop traveling for a while and I always enjoyed writing (even after three business books) so I turned my hand to writing novels. The key question in starting a novel is always the same: “What to write about that?” The answer everywhere I looked and from the people I spoke with was, “Write what you know.”
That advice led me to review my past experiences in search of a topic and I landed on the incredible time I spent between 1968-1969 as a third-year college student at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. A classmate of mine from the Univeristy of California Riverside and I traveled to Beirut and met up with around 30 other college juniors from small and large universities across the US, all on a Junior Year Abroad Program. Needless to say it was an adventure in culture shock and definitely expanded my appetite for travel to exotic places.
One of the pivotal events that year was a late night attack on the Beirut Airport on December 27th, 1968 by Israeli commandos. At dawn thirteen burned-out Middle East Airline jet carcasses could be seen littered across the runways and the airport terminal was full of bullet holes. Life changed!
Beirut overnight went from what many called the “Paris of the Middle East” to a war zone and we now had armed guards at all entrances of the university day and night. The arab students held anti-American protests weekly on campus, disrupting classes. This was my first real taste of international politics, religious hatred and terrorism as the Palestinian Refugee Camps in southern Lebanon became a breeding ground for terrorism.
So, in 2004 I published a novel, The Beirut Conspiracy, a political thriller using my experiences in Beirut as the backdrop. The publishing process was a nightmare: difficult, frustrating, time consuming, and expensive. Sending sample chapters to agents and publishers, getting standard rejection letters (most agents weren’t accepting new authors and publishers weren’t accepting unsolicitied manuscripts, except of course the “vanity press” where you pay to get your book published). So I wound up going with a small publisher, essentially a “vanity press” in disguise (a mistake I would urge everyone avoid). Not only did it cost me but it took over 6 months for the publishing process. In the end my book was carried on Amazon.com and while I sold a few to my friends and others, it became a standing joke: “It’s not a million seller but I have a million in the cellar!”
Well, technology and the Internet have revolutionized the publishing world (and the business models) and I suspect even more radical changes are on the way. Today I just published a revised ebook version of The Beirut Conspiracy using the Kindle Direct Publishing site in all of about 30 minutes and the book went live in about 24 hours. Talk about taking the waste out of an antiquated publishing system, radically compressing time to market, and it’s free (except for a 70%-30% royalty split between the author and Kindle; better than traditional publishing terms).
We all know the arguments agains self-publishing (lack of professional editing and no professional publicity support, plus a way to keep “poor content” off book shelves) citied by the traditional publishers. But there are a growing number of professional writers cutting out the “middleman” and the cost and going straight to their readers through electronic publishing. Seth Godin has a lot to say about this revolution in publishing.
Anyway, this is a long way of saying I would be honored if you took the time to look over my newly revised and published ebook novel and even more honored if you bought it ($5.18 in the US and the equivalent amount in the UK and Europe), and especially honored if you would send me feedback. And you can expect a couple of more novels from me coming soon in ebook format.
By the way, you don’t need to purchase a Kindle eReader to read this book. You can download a Kindle eReader app for your PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, and several other communication and mobile platforms. So no excuse not to buy a copy and get engrossed in a “cracking” good thriller.
Tight Lines . . .
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