Sunday, December 16, 2007

Litigator Publishes
Chasing Hunter
Chasing Hunter, a new novel published through BookSurge, has author Cort Malone running toward success. The novel follows Jake Hunter, a summer associate at a prestigious Manhattan law firm who finds himself caught up in a harrowing game of cat and mouse that puts his friends and family in grave danger. When Jake discovers his mentor, the firm's biggest rainmaker, lying in a pool of blood and near death, the attorney's final words lead Jake to evidence that could topple the highest ranks of the Russian mafia.
A few of the reviews on Amazon have compared Malone’s work to John Grisham. An insurance coverage litigator with the Manhattan law firm of Anderson Kill & Olick, Malone would like to emulate Grisham and his Rainmaker character Rudy Baylor, with success in the court room and on the bestseller list.
He recently took time to share his experiences writing and publishing Chasing Hunter.
What kind of marketing are you doing for your book? What have you found to be most successful? What has been least successful?
Chasing Hunter became available on Amazon on October 25th, so it has only been out for about 7 weeks, and I feel like I am still in the early stages of marketing. At this point, I have focused more on getting all of my family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances to read the book. To that end, I emailed everyone I knew with about the book, and asked them to forward the email on to anyone they thought would be interested. I also had postcards made up and mailed/distributed them to over 1000 people. We have hosted two book launch/signing parties (in New Jersey and Long Island), and I have also brought the book into several bookstores in an effort to get them to carry it. Finally, BookSurge helped me compile a press release, which was distributed to close to 800 media outlets. The email campaign and the launch parties were the most successful marketing efforts, and the press release appears to have been the least successful.
Did you seek a traditional publisher for the book prior to pursuing print-on-demand? If so, what kind of experience was that?
Before pursuing print-on-demand, I attempted to get an agent to represent me and attempt to sell Chasing Hunter to a traditional publisher. I did the research, studied the agent's guidebooks, and sent about 16-18 query letters to the agents who I believed were the best fit for my book. Unfortunately, the responses were all very brief form letters, often stating that the agents were not taking on new clients or did not feel that Chasing Hunter was right for them. Although this experience did not work out, I am glad that I went through it, and feel that it was a good learning experience for how to do a better job approaching agents in the future.
What led you to decide print-on-demand was the way to go? How did you go about researching the industry and what led you to decide on BookSurge?
I wasn't sure that print-on-demand was "the way to go" until after I began researching the industry. As with a lot of research these days, I think my first effort was typing the phrase "self-publishing" into Google and reviewing the websites that popped up. Other than my online research, I spoke with the few people I knew in the publishing field, and at least one person I knew that had self-published another book. One of the factors that led me to BookSurge was an article by a journalist about self-publishing. The article detailed the writer's own experience with self-publishing through BookSurge, and her experience had been extremely positive. After this article led me to BookSurge, I was pleasantly surprised at how quick, easy and inexpensive the process seemed. The more I explored it, the more confident I became in using BookSurge, and that is why I decided to use them to publish Chasing Hunter.
What are the strong points to the BookSurge process? How was there customer service? What areas could they improve on?
One of the strongest points to the BookSurge process is that they provide you with detailed information on exactly what is needed in order to publish your book. For someone like me, who took the publishing process extremely seriously, BookSurge gave me all of the information I needed to make sure that things would go smoothly. The customer service was very prompt and helpful - all of my inquiries (and there were many) were answered within a day, and often much quicker.
One area that could be improved is the quality control regarding the condition of the books. Although the majority of the books were delivered to the people who ordered them in pristine condition, there were at least a handful of orders that were unacceptable. Because the problem with these books included ink/color running over from the back cover onto the front cover, and splotches on the covers of several books, I am fairly confident that these were printing issues as opposed to damage that could have been caused during shipping by Amazon. After a few calls to complain about this, it seems that the quality of the more recent books has been top-notch, so I would give good marks again to the customer service department for responding to my concerns. One other random note - the books are occasionally different sizes, with some being slightly larger/smaller than others. Not sure how or why that occurs, but it would be better if all of the books had the same dimensions.
How was the cover designed and what is your impression of the final product?
I purchased the cover photo from a stock photographs website, which included an agreement granting me license to use the photo as a book cover. I had help with adding the graphics (title and author) to the cover photo from a friend at work, and I am ecstatic with the final product. I think the picture captures the plot of the book well, and my friend did an excellent job with the graphic design.
What prompted you to write this book? Have you always been a writer?
I have always loved writing, and the story for this book has been rattling around in my head for at least five or six years. Regardless of whether Chasing Hunter (and the sequel that I am currently working on, Serial Hunter) ever takes off, I would never stop writing because it is what I am passionate about, and what I truly enjoy doing. Although it is a work of fiction, several aspects of the book come from my own life - my career as a lawyer, interactions with friends and family, and my educational background all provided inspiration for Chasing Hunter.
How much did your work as a litigator influence this book? Can you describe your work? What type of cases do you deal with?
Although some people have called Chasing Hunter a "legal thriller," that description is somewhat of a misnomer. There is no trial or courtroom drama in the book, although the main character works at a Manhattan law firm. I consider the book more of a suspense thriller, and often call it a combination of The Firm and The Fugitive. Because there is not much "legal drama" in Chasing Hunter, my work as a litigator did not really influence the book. My specialty in the law is representing policyholders in insurance coverage litigation (a fancy way of saying that I help people try to get money from their insurance companies). I also have experience in commercial litigation and other general litigation matters.
Who are some of your writing influences or favorite writers/books?
My two favorite writers are Michael Connelly (especially the Harry Bosch novels) and Robert Crais (the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike books). I've also read almost everything by Grisham, Baldacci, and Deaver (the Lincoln Rhyme novels). Much of my writing style is similar to these writers, as well as to Harlan Coben and James Patterson. Several of the Amazon reviews of my book have mentioned the works of Coben and Patterson as books to which Chasing Hunter compares favorably.
Are you working on a new project? If so, what is it about and how is it coming along?
I am working on the sequel to Chasing Hunter, which is titled Serial Hunter. It is a psychological thriller involving the search for a serial killer and the psychiatrist who thinks that he can cure the murderer before he kills again. Several characters from Chasing Hunter will be returning for another fast-paced adventure.
Please feel free to add any additional comments you'd like.
I would just like to thank everyone who has supported Chasing Hunter so far, and those who I'm sure will be supporting it in the future. As I've told everyone who knows me, I am always happy to discuss the book with readers, pass along advice about my writing/publishing experiences, sign copies, attend book club meetings, or anything else of that nature. Writing Chasing Hunter and getting it out to the public has been one of the most enjoyable, satisfying experiences of my life, and I am thankful for everyone who played a part in making that dream a reality.


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