It’s been a roller coaster of a year since I released Move To Fire. Here are the highs and lows:
Shortly after its release I get a wonderful reaction from best selling author Seth Godin and he gives me the book’s first blurb (a personal and professional highlight).
Publishers Weekly not only gives it a starred review, it follows that with the placement of Move To Fire at the top of its first ever IndieWatch booklist, a new quarterly feature listing well-reviewed, independently published books (ditto that personal/professional parenthetical above).
Award winning author — and friend — Brian Fies gives it a heartfelt, objective, great review.
Amazon reviews come in and they’re positive; readers really like the book; as a bonus, many write that “I couldn’t put this book down,” which is very special because that’s exactly what I had wanted to achieve.
I get representation by one of the best nonfiction agents in the business
The book gets a nice mention by stellar journalist Robin Abcarian in her LA Times feature about the attorney featured in the story
My screenwriting partner and I start to get a sliver of legitimate interest in a film project based on the book
Notice the lack of anything mentioning sales? Yeah, it’s tough, and I find it hard to express just how much I appreciate everyone who bought a copy. It’s a struggle, and your loyalty, and leaps of faith, will never be forgotten.
Let’s use the lack of sales thing to transition to the low:
We submit the book to major publishers for consideration — names that even only occasional readers would recognize — and ALL praise it (“…astonishingly well written…”), and pass on it, because “we just don’t know how to ‘position’ it…”, or, as one summed up, “books about guns don’t sell.”
Been fighting that idea, that this is “a book about guns,” constantly.
But I know, I got nothin’ to whine about, really.
So this is an update, a thank you, and to whatever the next year brings. I’ll keep you all updated… (think movie, movie, movie).
Journalist Robin Abcarian did a nice profile piece on attorney Richard Ruggieri. Move To Fire is mentioned in article and in an accompanying photo you can see the book on a shelf behind Ruggieri. check it out here.
These are just a few notes from the notebook I used while watching attorney Richard Ruggieri’s closing statement in Brandon Maxfield’s case, which was the first time I saw the attorney ‘work.’ The note in the upper right references how Ruggieri had told his young client not to attend due to the sensitive, difficult issues Ruggieri would be talking about. Upper left are quick notes about the jury, and below are notes about Ruggieri explaining that he wasn’t asking for sympathy for Brandon, but rather for empathy. Although I’d done some research on the story prior to this day, Ruggieri’s closing statements and his masterful connection with the jury convinced me to write Move To Fire.
Brian Fies is a personal and professional friend. His review was unsolicited and, frankly, unexpected. With his permission, I included this part of his review on the book’s Amazon Page: “…like a legal thriller…the suspense is compelling. Move to Fire isn’t an anti-gun screed. Move to Fire is a passion project by a writer who knows how to mine facts, build characters, and use them to tell a terrific story. I found it an engrossing, well-built narrative that pulled me through, page by page.” — Brian Fies, award winning author of Mom’s Cancer and Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow.
Brandon has met more than a few admirers over the years. Here, he and attorney Richard Ruggieri talk with then SF mayor, now Calif Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (who is now running for governor) at 2005 event honoring Brandon (photo courtesy Greg Habiby).