About that Civil War Novel in Seven Parts

cropped-wilderness2.jpgWilliam Hanlin needs help . . . okay, William’s obviously pretty self-reliant and the mysterious J.A.W. is long dead but, well, his story needs a little help getting out there.

As some of you know, I’ve spent a lot of time since July putting together a narrative non-fiction book proposal with several sample chapters.

That’s out there – all 86 pages of it – with a literary agent out of New York I was referred to and . . . we’ll see.

In the meantime, there’s William, the project I vastly prefer to be working on. Two books done, William left out in the woods near Mechanicsville VA in the early morning hours of the beginning of the Seven Days battle.

The third book, The Widening Gyre is two-thirds typed, completely written, and about four weeks from being ‘finished.’ Less with help. Or I wake up tomorrow with the sudden ability to type fast and well.

The Hanlin novels are not in play with the agent. My choice, I was asked about them.

Here’s the deal – the fourth novel, The Blood Dimmed Tide is half Death-sedgwickwritten and edited as well. The novel in seven parts is outlined in depth, chapters, scenes, and long strings of dialogue have been written all the way through, including the ending.

As someone who’s read a few thousand novels, I can say with confidence that you haven’t seen anything yet.

If I went the traditional route with this the best case scenario for the release of The Rough Beast (Volume 7) would be around 2021 – it takes them 12-18 months to go from manuscript to print.

I love the Hanlin books, I want everyone else to love the story as well. I also want it over (I do, after all, know how it ends) so I can move on to other, partially written, fully outlined novels. That includes, as my friend Fred deduced months ago, J.A.W.’s story after he parts from William’s company.

1384800895013-AP-Finding-Lincolns-AddressWe’ve had a lot of great reviews, I get emails all the time, calls to get this to Netflix or HBO, etc. What we haven’t had is great sales, largely attributed to my hedging on the distribution channel and not spending to promote.

I have ample evidence, however, that the first two novels have been widely loaned out. A while back I was told by a video store (remember them) owner that the most stolen title in the industry was Office Space. Love the movie – I don’t know why but it somehow makes sense. It’s a neat little tidbit when you’re a bestseller, but …

Anyway, here’s what I want to do: I would like to sell 500 signed copies of the first two books from my ecwid site – signed because I want/need to add to my email base. I get no information from Amazon on who bought the books, have no way to communicate with those readers, though a few have sought me out (thank you).

So, everyone on the list will start getting some perks in the next monthSAM_1322– a monthly newsletter with insights and historical notes; deleted scenes (there’s quite a few, actually); the option to be galley readers if you wish, earn rewards for spotting misprints, and errata; vote on covers; get Forlorn Hope T-shirts (in the works); a lot more.

For my part, I need to put money into promotions, do a few ads, go on the road to book clubs and bookstores. I also need to go to Gettysburg for a day or two to walk the areas where I expect William and the 21st to walk. (Yes, I already know, exactly where and when and what happens July 1-4 1863, I just need to be sure it’s feasible on foot within real time constraints).

I did this at Antietam last summer was thrilled to death that what I envisioned William doing on September 17, 1862 was, indeed, possible. As you will see in The Widening Gyre. I will also be headed back to the Shenandoah Valley where the bulk of Pitiless as the Sun occurs.

The-Peninsula-Va.-The-staff-of-Gen.-Fitz-John-Porter-Lts.-William-G.-Jones-and-George-A.-Custer-So, I’m hoping you all can take a few moments out of your day to help promote the Hanlin series – send emails, I’ll be posting on my blog and Facebook, (if you haven’t already, please follow and all that stuff). LinkedIn, etc, could use a quick recommendation/ share. If you know of book clubs, Civil War groups, etc., please ask them to try it … if they’re not in the middle of nowhere, I might just be available to talk to them. Any and all ideas and referrals are welcome.

I’m thinking of doing a moderate Kickstarter campaign so I can really ramp this and the next two books up and take the time to put together a teleplay – I do have a few places to send one. Gifts would be everything from ebooks, to paperbacks, T-shirts, framed pages of the original manuscript, and, springing for a B&B for two nights for a couple of people to tour either Antietam or Gettysburg with me. If anyone has an opinion on this, please (please) let me know.

That’s it… Thanks so much for your encouragement . . .

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