Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Advance Review Copies Are Here!

My preview books have finally arrived! I am so excited! It is an amazing thing going through the three-year process of writing a story, editing it, setting the type, working with an illustrator, registering the copyright, getting an ISBN and barcode, and then finally seeing it all in tangible form! It is a surreal experience holding the advance review paperbacks, seeing my character's names on paper, and turning back Rudy's incredible cover to read the story.

I printed about 1,000 advance review copies. This is far more than most publishers print for a book, but I wanted to spread my book far and wide to gain the maximum amount of review attention possible before the final hardcover comes out. I'll be giving these books away for free to anyone who is honestly interested in reading and reviewing them. So, feel free to contact me through my blog with your mailing address if you'd like one.

While I am sending these books out for review, I'll be simultaneously working on the finalized book and the book web site. The final book, text-wise, will be very similar to these advance review copies, except that it will be free of grammatical mistakes. Advance review copies like these paperbacks (also called galleys) commonly do have mistakes in them as they are "pre-publication" books rushed to advance reviewers to generate buzz ahead of a complete editorial review. So, I'll be re-reading the book for a twelfth time this month to see what horrifying errors I missed on my eleventh review. It's a good thing I enjoy the story! :)

I'll also be working on the web site which has some cutting-edge functionality to be announced soon. I plan to include games, more of Rudy's drawings from the story, and a special "members only" section of the site for people who own the book.

In the meantime, I'm just reveling in having a tangible copy of my book in my hands!



Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Happy birthday Aiden. Wow! Four year old! Miss ya buddy.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My Latest Query Letter

Although I am self-publishing my book, I do ultimately want to obtain an agent. I keep running across people in this process who may be interested in representing me, if the book sells well through my self-publishing efforts. So, today, I revised my cover letter one more time.

After doing even more thinking about what constitutes a good query letter and focusing on the essence of what I want to communicate, I have revised my query letter to the following.

What I Like About This Letter
  • The quote in the header: I decided to shift from a quote illustrating the writing style of my book, to a quote from Dr. Ride. I figured her words would carry more import than mine, and that my sample chapters included with my query letter would be adequate examples of my writing style.
  • Short: This letter is much shorter, obviously. I tried to keep it under a page and make it even less than that.
  • More relevant experience: Instead of covering each of my barely relevant experiences in one line a piece, like in my previous letter, I decided to focus more on my directly applicable experiences.

What I Don't About This Letter
  • The messaging of math & science: Although the Onyx Sun series does seem to excite kids about technology, it is less directly apparent how this translates into real math & science education. This link seems a little weak to me, at least until I have the lesson plans I have planned for these subjects available.


“Our future lies with today's kids and tomorrow's space exploration.”
- Dr. Sally Ride

Specific Person

Dear (Agent/Editor’s Name):

Somewhere, right now in the world, the first person to walk on Mars is sitting in an elementary school mathematics class. How closely this child pays attention may determine the fate of humanity’s next great steps in space. Yet, with the United States falling far behind other countries in math and science, this child may not be an American.

The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun is a young adult, fictional novel I have written to inspire American children to engage in math and science. It follows the adventures of ten-year-old Zack Goodspeed, who discovers his genius-inventor grandfather has secretly built man’s first interstellar spaceship. By stowing away on this ship, Zack is thrust into a journey that lands him on the Moon, throws him into life-threatening situations, and culminates in his saving humanity itself.

I work for the largest educational software publisher in the United States and wrote this book after personally witnessing the educational pandemic affecting our children. Our competitiveness as a nation is threatened by our kids’ ennui with math and science. Unless we can correct this, countries like India and China will set the world’s agenda.

I have woven my experience inspiring kids to learn into this book. I also have a proven ability to sell educational products to teachers and administrators. My connections, coupled with the book’s content, and a national need for educational engagement will make this book a story kids will enjoy and our country can benefit from.

The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun is the first book in a series. I am currently working on the sequel, The Wicked Adversaries of the Onyx Sun.

In my research, you have arisen as a quality source for representation of my completed book. I eagerly await your response. I have queried five other agents simultaneously.

Christopher Mahoney