Publication Day

Forever Sheriff was published on May 18, 2022.

We knew it, my publisher, my readers (I hesitate to call you fans), and I. Amazon didn’t. Despite having “Publication May 18, 2022” on the book’s page for almost a year, and on that date also, it omitted to drop the pre-order and pre-order price guarantee language on May 18.

By 9:30 a.m., to use language of the latter half of Forever Sheriff, my switchboard lit up.  Ah, I admit to the sin of looking forward to the congratulatory calls.

“There’s no place to post a review.”  “It’s still on pre-order.” “When will it be published?”

To each I explained it was published and they must have accessed a wrong page. Then I went to Amazon.

OMG. True. All true. I found a way to get to a page that would accept a review, but even that small victory was still marred by pre-order calls on the book page. I wrote an anguished and hasty e-mail to my publisher.

Tiffany wrote back almost immediately. “I think your best strategy is to ask all your friends to place orders and swamp them with orders. We don’t know what they are doing.”

Creating a career of building readers for your books is a lot like selling insurance. Once you have worked through family and friends, you are given the opportunity to find out how professional you really are. So, here goes, calling all family and friends.

I was not consciously watching hour by hour, but it started to change. By Thursday morning, all the pre-order language was gone and customers/readers were informed of a ten-day backlog. Pretty good for turning a supply snafu into the appearance of a smashing sell-out. By Friday morning, the first review was up and posted with 5 stars.

So, let’s say “Publication Day” was “Days” and now it is here completing the trilogy of the three Sheriffs Simms. Founding Sheriff, delayed by COVID-19, marched into the emptiness of our times, and a high mountain desert, to bring justice and a system of justice where none had existed before. Fugitive Sheriff avenged his father and remained true to vows he had taken twenty years before. He had the best publication day. A fitting reward. Forever Sheriff proved true to his calling and his heritage, paying no attention to the publication day anxieties. He simply told me to take care of it.

Having a trilogy out is exciting, but that’s a future blog. Read them all. Tell me what you think.

Where Have I Been?

A good author, Sue Monk Kidd, once wrote that a serious artist knows to spend an amount of time devoted to having her (in my case, his) works read or heard equal to the time in creating the work.

Well, I am a serious writer, and this blog is, for the moment, my primary tool to find and encourage people to read and enjoy my books. So, where have I been for several months?

I have been Chairing the production of my 55th reunion at Harvard Business School.  I took it on under the rubric that it will help sell books. Blame Sue Monk Kidd. That possible self-deception has yet to play out, but it has created a big, creative, exciting, intellectual and personal party for eighty-year-olds.

In a special appearance embedded in our schedule, Professor David Moss, of “Democracy: A Case Study,” has agreed to share his expertise in Is American Democracy in Trouble? For the bulk of the program classmates will lead afternoon discussions about global financial systems, climate warming, migration, wisdom, how to be happy, and writing and publishing.

It is the latter two that may have justified my abandoning this blog for so long.

Leaving out other Harvard events, here are the June 6-8 Class events:Harvard Business School Class of '67 55th Reunion logo

Monday, June 6
6:30: Class Drinks and Section Dinners at the Faculty Club and The Harvard Club of Boston

Tuesday, June 7
2:00 – 2:40:  Welcome. Review of 1965-1967: The Years That Started Not All Of It But A lot Of It. Presentation of Class Survey: What We Learned About Ourselves. A Poem
2:45 – 3:25: Can Capitalism be Sustained?
3:25 – 4:05: Thriving in the Time of Global Warming
4:05 – 4:45:  Bringing Wisdom to Government and Society
6:30 – 10:30: Class Dinner at the Boston Public Library – 1960’s Music, Food and Chat

Wednesday, June 8
1:00 – 1:45: Is American Democracy in Trouble?
2:00 – 2:40: Happiness and Well-Being at Any Age
2:45 – 3:30: Refugees – Their Problem becomes our Problem
2:45 – 3:30: In the Pit: Classmates Discuss their Work, Published and Planned
3:30 – 4:30: Who Ever Told You That You Could Write? You Did!
3:30 – 5:00: Social time

In the Pit comes from my three semesters at the Gotham Writers Workshop. Everyone twice distributed 2500-word segments of their novel to the class. The next week they stood in the pit in front of the class listening to the criticism. No comment, disagreement, or interruption until all classmates had finished. Then. Ten minutes. These men (I tried for a woman out of the thirteen in our class) will be tested. The line-up: self-published 28 works; 24 plays and 5 novels; a book of advice to children starting their career; a book of poetry, a book by a professor of entrepreneurship, The Idea Isn’t Enough, a collection of privately published photos, and me with a minute on each of my five published novels.

Whoever told you you could write? opens a session devoted to publishing, traditional and indie; writing, and the writing process. The phrase summarizes the 350-word critique letter I received from the evaluation editor upon my effort to find a publisher for Fugitive Sheriff.  All classmates will share learn-the-hard-way stories and all attendees will be invited to question. Note, social time runs parallel to this session. It might be difficult to sneak drinks into a Harvard classroom, but for sure, they will be needed.

In shepherding this reunion and putting together these sessions, I perceived that we have many authors who have published and writers who plan to write and want to publish. I asked Harvard to give us a website. That was a no go. So, I created an HBS ’67 Authors, Writers group on Facebook. It’s up and will survive the reunion to give classmates a permanent location for conversation as well as posting news of recent publications or fresh aspirations.

So, that’s where I have been. Will it sell books? Who knows, but you will as soon as I do. Forever Sheriff was published last week. A great review was posted right away and I look forward to seeing yours.

To 2022 and You

Portrait of High Mountain Sheriff series author Edward Massey wearing felt cowboy hat, leather jacket and blue shirtWe all said good riddance to 2020, and 2021 lived up to the hopes we placed in it. A long year made up of starts and stops, generally improving from a fearful start to a not-another-variant end that is currently looking as pervasive and dangerous to our health as long-term inflation.  Once called pathologically optimistic, I am confident we will bring these threats under control, left to act as prudent, responsible individuals without excessive oversight from our betters.

My purpose in this post is not argument, but to wish that all of you will take the action you need to take to live a full life in 2022 while protecting yourself, as much as is within your power, from the ravages of our known threats, inflation and omicron or whatever new variant we face by year’s end. Keep your list of to-dos long and do them. The puropose of this post is to ask you/invite you to share with us your plans for 2022. Post them here with the contact form or send them directly to me on my e-mail, edward@edwardmasseybooks.com.

2d Chronicles, 15:7, inspired the theme of this post: Be ye strong therefore and let not your hands be slack for your work will be rewarded. The Massey version: Have faith. And do the work. So, please, share with us your plans for 2022, large or small.

Here are mine. To write four hours every day and exercise some. To have an extraordinary 85th (my sister)/80th (me) birthday with her family in Santa Fe. To create, plan, and experience a massive book launch for Forever Sheriff (May 18), the third novel in the High Mountain Sheriffs series. To focus and succeed at brand building. To have faith and do the work in my newly appointed role as Chair of our 55th Reunion at Harvard Business School (already remarkable  responsiveness from classmates willing to pull the oars to a stunning victory.) To write a book of short stories for Five Star. To live our summer lives with the Western Writers of America convention in Great Falls and five weeks at Drakes Island, Maine. To celebrate my remarkable wife’s birthday and then on to the holidays. There are some other little buds peeking through the snow. Maybe at year’s end, this blog will mention a few grand experiences I didn’t see coming.

So, to 22 and you. Post away. Like this one, send a photo.

Another beautiful morning at Pineview Farm

Dawn light touches a wooden wheel and gate at the snow-dusted valley of Pineview FarmHappy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and let’s all look forward to a wonderful 2022.

When I set out to write this little message for the holidays, my intent was to spread holiday cheer, without pushing book sales. That still is my intent, but this morning my cousin posted “Another beautiful morning at Pineview Farm.”

I am not meaning to make a book pitch, but this magnificent photo prompts me to tell you that Cousin Kay gave me permission to use her life’s tragedy in 1995 on Pineview Farm and set it back to 1865 as the central story in Founding Sheriff. My message today was to be one of joy and gratitude, and this photo makes it ever so much more tangible to have gratitude for a cousin like Kay in our lives and appreciate the joy of living on a farm, in a place, on the earth of so much austere beauty. The holidays are many things to many people but one thing they should be to all is a moment to experience and reflect on austere beauty.

Back to where I started: Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and let us all celebrate gratitude and joy as we look to a wonderful 2022.

–Edward

Just Released: Cover Art for Forever Sheriff

Forever Sheriff by Edward Massey Having a book published takes a lot of time first filled with intense research and writing and rewriting. After submission to the publisher, a second lot of time is filled with uncertainty and anxiety (even when your published has already published two of your books). To great surprise, an e-mail arrives from the editor with lots of work outlined to do. Deadline pressure builds up because the last thing you want is to delay the publication date. Finished, a final third lot of time goes to waiting for the days, weeks, and months to unfold to publication. Once more—and last week—a great surprise lifts your spirits and gives you what this is all about. Thrills. Last week, the cover treatment for the ARC (advance reader’s copies, for proofreading and reviews) arrived for approval. Wow! It’s real. The day after sending approval comes the news the ARCS will be in hand in two weeks. They really do have it in production. It’s time to start promoting the book. Like magic, that beautiful cover arrives the next day for promotional purposes. And they got it exactly right. Deputy Mark Simms has his swearing-in interrupted by rustlers. While he is riding out to the rustler’s ranch, old veteran Deputy Woodside gives him his first lesson in how to be the third Sheriff Simms of Summit County.

Order Forever Sheriff here.

Gold Quill Awards

Over the past decade, I’m proud to have received Gold Quill Awards for my novels Founding Sheriff and Every Soul Is Freeby the League of Utah Writers. You can find those awards listed below:

2020

My award for Founding Sheriff, titled the best novel of the year on August 15:

2019

In 2014, the League of Utah Writers awarded Every Soul Is Free the Gold Quill award (see below). Tempting the Gods, Sheriff Simms’s father, Sheriff Simms, has entered the 2019 competition. The award will be made at the League of Utah Writers Quill Conference in August, 2019. We’re hoping and we hope you are, too.

2014

On Saturday, September 13, 2014, during the Gold Quill Awards Dinner, I had prepared myself for a shutout, when:


Western Fictioneers Author Interview

 

On Feb. 13, Western Fictioneers, Doris McGaw, published an author interview in association with the Feb. 17, release of Founding Sheriff.  I am working on uploading it in a permanent, suitable format. Until then, please click here


Book Launch

Publication Date!

Hooray!!

February 17, 2021


The publisher, Five Star, deferred all 2020 publication dates from May, 2020, for six months. August became February. And now we’re here. Zoom is our new partner. Book Readings and Book Clubs will be the format through May, with great hopes that face to face events can start in June.

Book readings will contain four short readings (five minutes) followed by rousing discussion (ten minutes.) You do not have to buy the book to attend or to enjoy the readings.

Book clubs will assume reading the book and the study guide before the book club meeting. There’s no requirement to read the book  or the study guide beforehand. The sheriff won’t be at the door to check up on you, but you’ll have a lot more fun if you do.

Sign up is easy

In about two weeks, I will post the schedule of book clubs (with study guide) and readings through the end of May. Send an e-mail to edward@edwardmasseybooks.com with the date you want. A week before the event, your reminder will be a Zoom invitation and link. Simple. To those  who asked, yes. You may sign up for both. Use the Book Reading to get a preview or a leg up on the Book Club discussion.


Cybil – Under Western Stars

While my novel, Founding Sheriff, languishes in covid lockdown until February 21, 2021, Western Fictioneers has accepted my favorite short story of all I have ever written, “Cybil.” Notwithstanding it is my favorite, it has seen a dozen rejections in the past seven years, so I am particularly happy. As a matter of interest, all authors listed devote their share of sales proceeds to Western Fictioneers to pay for keeping it fee free for its members. The stories, like Cybil, are great, and all are 2,500 – 5,000 words, so, bite-size. It is a perfect gift for the coming holiday season and is available on Amazon both Kindle and trade paperback.


Disappointment

Five Star, publisher of Fugitive Sheriff, told me last week they had deferred their entire remaining 2020 publication schedule for six months. May became November, June – December, and alas, Founding Sheriff‘s August became February 2021.

While I agree with their observation that scheduling publication date events has become impossible (I subscribed to Zoom and started learning in hopes of creating virtual book events), it doesn’t work perfectly to set everyone back six months. Perhaps it is impossible for the publisher to publish six months’ worth of good novels in the eight weeks from Halloween to Christmas, but the loss of Christmas sales is the loss of 60% of all sales.

I know, there’s always next year, but there is another book next year, too. So, I am trying to finish Forever Sheriff, and I pray it will be published in November 2021. From disappointment comes hope, and I hope to sell twice as many books next Christmas.