The Author Guy Blog

24th May 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. We’ve all heard the expression “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, with all due respect, that ain’t so. Or at least that’s my opinion.

I’ve done a tremendous amount of research during my ten-year author journey about all aspects of the world of writing, publishing and marketing. That research has constantly supported the importance of the book’s cover when readers are making their selections, especially when purchasing online, and that’s where the preponderance of books sales occur given the demise of most bricks and mortar bookstores.

I’ve read, and I believe, a captivating title is critical. Mine are Dancing Alone Without Music (think about the metaphorical mental picture that creates), Follow Your Dreams (who among us hasn’t wanted to, or still wants to?), The Girl on the Bench (who is she? Where is the bench? Why is she there?), and Blue by You (a hopefully understood word play of the song Blue Bayou).

We can’t trademark or copyright a title, either for literary work or a song, but we can strive for a title that is unique or almost unique to our work – as I believe mine are.

The actual design – color selections, art work, font selections – should be left to professional graphic designers who know what they’re doing. We can guide them, of course, to including pointing them to the covers of other author’s books that resemble what we have in mind.

The actor Julia Roberts was recently quoted as saying the book’s cover is 80% of her purchase decision. Probably on the low side.

I’d like to hear from you. Agree? Disagree? Your thoughts?

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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17th May 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. Today I want to endorse a periodical magazine for your consideration, especially if you are, or aspire to be, an author of works of fiction. That magazine is Garden & Gun.

It’s title gives you a strong indication of what you will find between the covers, and it has a definite ‘southern” focus on hunting, fishing, cooking, dining and travel. It also has articles about music, fiction and non-fiction, the arts … and so much more. It’s extremely high-quality in terms of the actual physical product, and subscriptions are modestly priced.

Why do I recommend G&G? Because the writing, the prose, in each of its varied categories is among the best you will read anywhere. The word choices of the various writers are both splendid and splendidly woven together in descriptive and captivating sentences. For me, each monthly edition adds tons of words to my own self-created Word document entitled Words & Phrases that I refer to constantly as I write.

I encourage you to give Garden & Gun a look-see. I’d be astonished if you’re disappointed.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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10th May 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. Just returned from a six days in Florida and a four-day cruise around the Caribbean with my bride/best friend of thirty-five years. This was only our second cruise, and there will definitely be more in the future.

After ten years that yielded four novels, I find myself much more relaxed regarding my author journey since my escape five months ago from the self-publishing world. Don’t get me wrong. It was a wonderful experience and I learned more than I can possibly describe but, at least for me, a lot of the self-induced pressure has abated.

My first book with the new publisher and their partner Simon & Schuster will be a re-release of what is now a scrupulously and meticulously edited manuscript of my fourth (and award-winning) novel Blue by You. The “new” Blue will be published sometime later this year. The rough draft of my second of a two-book initial commitment, For the Love of Charlie Chaplin,
will be finished in a month or two. It will then begin its journey down the step-by-step conveyor belt from an initial publisher internal review, through editing and formatting, a stop along the way for cover design, the production and marketing.

All by way of saying I have a book scheduled for release in 2024, and one in early 2025. I expect to finish my sixth manuscript and have it published much later in 2025. My new publisher has a right-of-first refusal on all my future work – here’s hoping I can continue to meet their stringent requirements. So the pressure to perform creatively (on my part) has largely gone away – at least for a couple of years.

Also, and not insignificantly, the pressure of doing everything myself -creating the manuscript, and then finding resources to format and publish, as well as book cover designers and ultimately an independent publisher to produce, has now all been corralled with one entity with deep and robust experience and expertise.

After four-plus decades in the pressure cookers of corporate life in both public and private companies, and a lengthy stint as an independent consultant, I know that pressure can be a good thing – in moderation. I’m now “moderating” as I enjoy my last one-third of life.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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3rd May 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. I’m delighted to report the relationship with my new publisher, who is affiliated with powerhouse Simon & Schuster, is meeting or exceeding all expectations I had when I signed the exclusive contract with them back in December of last year.

As I’ve mentioned previously, a re-publication and re-release of my novel Blue by You will be my first book with them. Even though Blue received three international award recognitions in 2022/23, the book is being treated as a brand new manuscript. For the past two months, I’ve been working a ton of hours with a marvelous Toronto-based editor going line-by-line and word-by-word, metaphorically running a comb through tangles of POV (point of view) mis-steps, information stacking, setup and payoff, paragraphing, on and on.

I’m pleased to say that the first two of a three-step process (documental review and line edit) are now complete, and what was a very good book is now, I believe, a great one. We now move to the third step, copy/edit in order to have pristine finished product to turn over to interior formatting while the cover design folks step in and assume their role.

The remaining two steps are the actual production (initial print run will be 2,000 copies) and the commencement of marketing with an all-hands-on-deck “launch.”

No firm date for the launch has been established, but it will happen this year and I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Until next week … Vay con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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26th April 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. We were talking about “cutting the cord” to television and streaming service access, and whether or not I was entirely satisfied with my decision to do so a couple of years ago. The answer is “no.”

I miss my once/weekly routine of viewing what I believe to be the best show ever – CBS Sunday Morning. If you’re not a viewer, I highly recommend you become one. I miss some sporting events, especially those that are “one off” like the Kentucky Derby or the rest of the Triple Crown. I experience pangs of regret when I read recommendations in The Week magazine for viewing for the upcoming week because at least one will look especially enticing. But I’ve stayed the course and I don’t see a departure any time soon.

What I don’t miss are news programs telling me what I know has already happened (I know from online updates I receive throughout the day), especially since the preponderance of what they feature is negative or violent. And I rejoice in no longer viewing and listening to the cable TV
talking heads. I recall flipping back and forth between Fox and either MSNBC or CNN following presidential debates or a State of the Union speech and not understanding how these so-called purveyors of knowledge and insight could have been watching the same events.

We only have so many hours in the day, days and weeks and months and trips around the sun. I’m simply sharing how I’ve chosen to spend, or not spend, some of that time.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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19th April 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. I hope everyone made the applicable income tax filing deadlines for last year’s endeavors, and that in return, the IRS was exceeding kind and understanding toward you.

It was about this time, two years ago in April 2022, that I stopped watching television. I metaphorically “cut the cord” if you will when our cable/internet service reached $265/month and I couldn’t satisfy in my own mind a favorable cost/benefit assessment. So, when we moved into a fully renovated, mid-century Leave it to Beaver home, we only signed up for internet connectivity. We watched old television shows, and both old and new movies, on DVD, as well as read – books, newspapers, magazines.

Cable proved to be a more difficult addiction for my bride of thirty-two years to escape, and slowly, over time, subscription streaming services were added. Now we have more viewing options than ever before, at about half the cost, but still I can be found elsewhere in the house come evening hours after supper. Not a criticism of my best friend, just different choices.

In the hours before bedtime, I’ll either read books or surf You Tube since I awakened to the reality during the past cable-free two years that it’s a phenomenal entertainment and research search engine unlike Google, Bing, or my favorite – Duck Duck Go.

Am I a hundred percent satisfied with my decision? No. More about that next time.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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12 th April 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. We’ve all likely heard the adage it takes at least 10,000 hours of applied effort to master something new. I recall reading Tiger Woods had practiced and played more than 10,000 of golf before he became a teenager.

Well, for me, I long ago passed the 10,000 hours invested in all aspects of fiction writing and I feel as if I’m still in kindergarten. This despite receiving highly-regarded award-winning recognition in three international competitions. For decades I considered myself a very accomplished business writer (I have a degree in journalism), but I simply had no idea the number of moving parts inherent in the craft of fiction writing.

Many authors begin their journey by achieving or attempting a MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree or attend numerous author-focused seminars, either in-person or online. I’ve done some of that, no doubt far less than I should have, and together with independent study and research I’ve crafted my own MFA course and syllabus that is constantly updated. It is in a word document I’ve labeled Write/Right and it is open on my computer most writing days for ease of reference.

My primary focus, and thus the main subjects, are: Perseverance, Formula, Word Count, Style, Editing and Re-Writing, Basic Plots, Storyline, Tension and Conflict, Show Don’t Tell, Character Development, Setting and Dialogue.

All of this material comes into play before my editors step in when a manuscript is in rough form, and still a valuable touchpoint throughout the editing and re-writing process until a final work product is achieved.

I haven’t encountered any other author who’s gone down this path, but I assume they exist in legions with some form or other of resource compilation. Mine seems to be working fine for me.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve


5th April 2024

Hello out there.

Welcome back. Spring cleaning is normally associated with material things in one’s house, but for me, it’s been a different yet incredibly welcome derivation. I’ve been de-cluttering my computer – specifically, uncoupling from newsletters I once deemed either valuable or potentially so – and no longer do.

What prompted this initiative is my previously-discussed escape from ten years of self-publishing. As a result, a vast number of email newsletters to which I, as a self-published indie author, had subscribed that were somewhat interesting but no longer relevant. Instead of simply deleting them as they arrived in my in-box, and took the next right step and clicked the “unsubscribe” link.

Inspired by a sense of weight being lifted, and then embarked on shutting off a significant amount of invasive communications on Facebook that arrive throughout the day. I’ll share that Facebook is the only social media platform to which I pay any attention, and I can go days without feeling the pull to log on and begin scrolling down.

In truth, it now feels as if I’ve gone on a diet that resulted in immediate weight loss. Were that it could be true for the extras pounds accumulated during the winter that will be more difficult to shed.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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29th March 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. Mother Nature is slowly pulling back the curtain on springtime here in the Bluegrass State, and all is well in my world. I hope it is in yours, as well.

A well-planned and highly-anticipated cruise from Ft. Lauderdale around the Caribbean is on our (my wife and me) late-April calendar. With things progressing so wonderfully at Indigo River Publishing, and with my Oregon marketing guru, RJ McHatton, working his magic, I decided against including Wi-Fi in our pre-paid menu of amenities to be selected when the cruise was booked. Gonna leave the computer behind.

I have found at every stage of my life, but especially now that I’m midway into my 70s, that friendships are everything. So I’m delighted we’ll be accompanied on the cruise by a wonderful couple and dear friends from our hometown who will be flying to meet us in Florida. For our part, we’ll be driving down to have the opportunity to spend a few days going and coming with another couple living in Orlando with whom I’ve been friends since 1980.

Years ago, a friend in Utah (who has since passed away) said something to my wife I’ve remembered to this day. She was expressing concern that I was a work-alcoholic with no hobbies to bring balance to my life. He said, “I beg to disagree. Larry collects friends.”

Making and keeping friends has never been difficult for me, and both endeavors bring great joy to my life. Thought it was worth sharing.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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22th March 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. My previously self-published and award-winning novel Blue by You is moving quickly through the editorial process with my new hybrid publisher Indigo River. I have final say regarding any changes their folks suggest, and mine will be a quick turnaround so that we can move ahead to the publishing phase (new cover design, formatting, etc.).

My incredible marketing resource, RJ McHatton of Bend, OR, is in direct contact with Indigo’s marketing team to craft a launch ahead of the book’s availability for pre-ordering. Over the past couple of years, RJ and I have fine-tuned a marketing plan, one focused on the elimination of marginal opportunities, driven by the belief success will come more from what we choose not to do rather than what we actually pursue. Trying not to fall down rabbit holes, if you will.

I’m doubly excited that my Indigo relationship (and I can’t say enough great things about them) brings with it the distribution prowess of Simon & Schuster, one of the world’s Big Five mainstream publishing companies.

I don’t yet have a projected release date, but I’m hoping for early summer. The final first draft of the manuscript of my fifth novel, For the Love of Charley Chaplain, is poised to begin Indigo’s editorial review process. My goal would be publication around Thanksgiving, but reality might dictate an early-2025 release. Stay tuned.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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15th March 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. It’s been said (by whom the first time I don’t know) that the only thing permanent is change. That certainly happens to me seemingly all the time, and one example occurred a few weeks ago and reversed something I said in my very first blog posting back in December.

Backing up a bit. For years, one of my writing goals has been to become a syndicated columnist, both for the writing pleasure it would bring, and as a means to promote my author brand and my books. I thought I was on my way when our local paper began publishing what turned out to be
seventeen feature columns I wrote for their 6X/year, four-color lifestyle magazine. Then in 2023, cost-cutting measures changed (in my opinion) the quality of the magazine’s physical product, and they wanted my position (the inside back cover) for ad placements. I respectfully said “no,”
so they asked if I would write a monthly column for the newspaper itself. I jumped at the chance.

I committed to submit columns months in advance for their review, as well as their assurance they could depend upon me. But like most community (although my hometown is Kentucky’s third-largest city) newspapers, there have been staff reductions and communication with me was a casualty. My columns as written with no editorial comment appeared in December and January, but my Valentine-themed submission didn’t appear, without explanation, in February.

Our agreement had been that I would provide content without receiving a fee if the paper committed to a presence for me every month. In my view, they didn’t live up to their side of the bargain, but I decided to withhold final judgement to see if they would contact me about a March submission. They didn’t. As Kenny Rogers famously said: “Ya gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.” I folded, and left the table to seek a better game. I’ll let you know what happens … as soon as it does.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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8th March 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. The middle of February, I learned of the death of a high school classmate. Only a few days earlier, she’d been at church on Sunday morning, so her passing was unexpected. With very rare exceptions, no one will know when the last grains of sand in their hourglass of life will find their way to the bottom.

But when I was asked to read a scripture passage (the Beatitudes) her family had selected, and to say a few words of remembrance at her service, I was drawn to a two-sentence verse in the fourth chapter of the book of John: “How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your
life is like the morning fog; it’s here for a little while, then it’s gone.”

We’ve all likely heard the expression “Live each day as if it were our last.” Nice homily, but in my view, impossible. No one would live their life that way – completely devoid of optimism for tomorrow. I prefer my own version: Live each day such that if it turns out to be my last, it would be one of which I could be proud. Proud of the things I did, and the things I chose not to do. Proud of what I said, and of the things I chose not to say.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios.

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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March 1 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. This week’s contribution speaks to something I learned early-on in my author journey and was reinforced by something I read last week in a magazine.

In preparing my first book for publication about ten years ago, my research revealed the two most important things reader’s consider when selecting a book from an author previously unknown to them are the title and the cover. Modesty aside, I think all four of my titles are interesting, perhaps even compelling: Dancing Alone Without Music, Follow Your Dreams, The Girl on the Bench and Blue by You.

When I changed indie publishers a few years ago, I didn’t have the rights to, or couldn’t find the original artwork for, the first three books. Admittedly, I was in a hurry to make the change, so I worked with a graphics person to designed similar covers for all three. Because of the parchment background, I’ve labeled them The Parchment Series. But I am especially proud of the cover we designed for my fourth book, the award-winning Blue by You.

As I prepare to release my fifth novel later this year, I believe the title For the Love of Charley Chaplain will be a word-play attention-getter as was Blue by You. I have several ideas in mind for the cover, and it’s importance was brought home again to me last week when I read that the actor Julia Roberts places 80% or more of her book selection decision-making on the cover.

One final note on the subject. You may have noticed, as have I, that once an author becomes famous, his or her name becomes more prominent on the book’s cover than the title. It is to that I aspire.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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21st February 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. Last week, my son noted in an email reply to one of mine that he’d just noticed the hat in my signature line:

I replied that it was a component of my author “branding” but I had hoped it wouldn’t be so subtle as to go unnoticed by a family member for the better part of three years.

I am a proud member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, an organization here in my home state dedicated to doing important charitable work for those less fortunate. To become a Colonel, one must be approved by the Secretary of State before the certificate is signed-off by the sitting governor. I’ve been a member since the mid-1980s, so my certificate was signed by the only woman governor in Kentucky’s history – Martha Lane Collins. All by way of explaining the hat is a Kentucky Colonel hat.

The Old English “G” (that also appears in my name on my book covers) holds special meaning to me because it’s how my late father signed his name. I recalled this uniqueness and have proudly incorporated it into my author branding.

One final bit of branding is the salutation I employ at the end of written correspondence:

Larry
The Author Guy

Simple explanation. I’ve gained a tad bit of recognition (dare I say, notoriety) in my hometown of Bowling Green due to my novels and my monthly newspaper column, and I have a rather unique last name. When I’m introduced to someone for the first time, the name recognition sometimes kicks in, and more than once I’ve heard, “Oh, you’re the author guy.”

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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16 th February 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. Last week I commented that opinions are like noses – everyone has one. I wrote it because I disagreed with what I felt was an untrue and unfounded statement of absolute posted to an author-centric Facebook group. It caused me to ponder so many other “absolute” statements and admonishments I’ve read over the past ten years regarding the craft of writing.

It’s been my (albeit limited) experience that most of these proffers of advice come from people who are either not published authors, or if they are, unsuccessful ones. I’m remined of the old saw: “Those who can – do. Those who can’t or won’t – teach.” Here are just two that came two mind that I felt were worth sharing.

A now-deceased supposed writing “expert” by the name of Bickham had an entire chapter in his book entitled “Don’t describe the weather.” He goes on with the added admonishment to never begin a book with weather. Well, perhaps he had in mind the infamous and much-maligned opening of “It was a dark and stormy night.” But to never describe the weather, something that is such a big part of our daily lives? Something that is a great source of the all-important conflict essential in a work of fiction? I humbly beg to disagree.

Early in my ten-year author journey, I attended a two-day writers’ conference. One of the instructors, a purported bestselling author, told the class she hated the use of “he said or she said” in attributing dialogue to characters, and it should be avoided at all cost. It occurred to me sitting there that she probably hadn’t read many classics, or legitimate bestselling books. One of my favorite authors, the late renowned Robert B. Parker, sprinkled “he said” and “she said” all over his pages of dialogue. And as an added note, I saw that same admonishment against the use in a
recent Facebook author group posting. Oh, well.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios – and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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9th February 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. I have so much to learn about my chosen craft of fiction writing that I seek advice and information whenever and wherever I can find it. As a result, I’ve joined several author-centric Facebook groups and up until now I just read the postings, make notes when appropriate, and keep on scrolling. But not this week.

An author inquired of the group if her already-published indie novel had any chance of being picked up by a mainstream publishing house. Another group member responded “Absolutely not” and went on to opine that it would only happen if the book had achieved stunning sales success, as was the one-off and well-known instance of Fifty Shades of Grey. Two, possibly
three, problems with that response.

First, I don’t believe in “absolutes” in the co-joined worlds of writing and publishing. Second, from personal experience, I know the “absolutely not” to be absolutely not true. My award-winning fourth novel, Blue by You, did not achieve great sales success (as is the case for 99.9% of self-published books – it’s just a sad but true reality). But it will be republished and re-released later this year by an affiliate imprint of one of the world’s Big Five publishing houses.

The third possible problem with the “absolutely not” statement is that I can’t find the woman’s three-part name anywhere as a published author. If she is, then I guess it’s with a nom de plume. If she’s not a published author, from whence gains her this “absolute” insight?

Opinions are like noses – every person has one. I fear this person may have become a bit of a Pinocchio with hers.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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2nd February 2024

Hello out there,


Welcome back. Last week, I wrote about my affection for short books and offered several recommendations. But what is worth sharing, I believe, is that for authors penning short manuscripts, they’re swimming against the tide. Actually, more like a tsunami of bias driven by arbitrary (in my opinion) word count thresholds.

To be considered “a novel” by agents, editors, publishers and professional reviewers, a manuscript must contain a minimum of 65,000 words, with 120,000 words carrying the author into a danger zone of overkill in terms of acceptability. When the word count fails to chin the bar of 65,000 words, the term “novella” comes into play – and more often than not, derisively.

I’ve read and been told that short books “cheat” a reader, somehow lessening enjoyment and not offering good value for the purchase price. Others may think that way, but not me. Last week, among the short books I recommended are Love Story, Bridges of Madison County, The Old Man
and the Sea, and Of Mice and Men
. What do they all have in common? They were made into award-winning movies.

For those who believe short books are unfair to the pocketbooks of readers, consider this – from readers. In 1970, the year it was released, it is widely reported that one in five households in America had a copy of Love Story. One in five. Oh, my! A little over twenty years later, Bridges
of Madison County was released, and over time it sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. And more recently, I believe the illustrated book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy was the bestselling book of 2020 with a $22.99 price tag. And my guess is the word count is less than that of weekly columns appearing in the Wall Street Journal or the New
York Times.

Different strokes for different folks.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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26th January 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. When I first began writing fiction ten years ago, a dream deferred for almost fifty years, I intended to follow in the footsteps of Eric Segal and Robert James Waller, authors of “Love Story” and “Bridges of Madison County” respectively.

As measured against the traditional model for a novel in terms of word count, these were remarkably sparse. But so are these books I highly recommend that can easily be read in one sitting: John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men;” Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea;” “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann; “Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer” by Fredrik Backman; “The Prophet” by Kahil Gibran; “Star Bright” by Andrew Greeley.

It might take two sittings, but these four are remarkable:” Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom and “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch, and from my childhood, “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls and “Old Yeller” by Fred Gipson.

The late Robert B. Parker was a prolific bestselling author in the mystery/thriller genre, and I’m a huge fan because his books, like mine, are dialogue-driven. But my favorite of all of his books was the sentimental “Love and Glory,” a short novel released in 1983 as one of his earliest works.

Here’s what I believe. For both the avid and the casual reader, the shorter the book, the greater the chance it will be read and enjoyed again and again. If you doubt my thinking, I encourage you to give it a try.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios.

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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19th January 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. One of my resolutions for the new year was to read even more than I’ve endeavored in the past. Since I write fiction, I read novels almost exclusively – for two reasons.

The obvious one is the pleasure that comes from escaping into the imaginary world created by another author. A perhaps less obvious reason to those who are not writers or authors (and there is a difference) is to learn from those more skilled than I am.

I look forward to each new offering from John Grisham, though I confess disappointment in his latest “The Exchange.” The amount of his descriptive violence was a new experience for me, and the prose didn’t seem as robust and flowing as I remember. But that might just be me.

I highly recommend these three books that received awards and/or stunning reviews in 2023 – “Resurrection Walk” the much-anticipated sequel to his bestseller “Lincoln Lawyer” by Michael Connelly; “Tom Lake” by one of my absolute favorite authors Ann Patchett; and “The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride. All three are New York Times bestselling authors, and I firmly believe you won’t be disappointed with any or all of these selections.

I’d be delighted to hear from you – about the books you’ve read that captivated you, as well as those that disappointed you. All part of my journey of learning as much as I can about the craft of writing and the profession of being both a writer and an author.

Until next week …

Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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12th January 2024

Hello out there,

Welcome back. Last week, I spoke of my 10-year journey from the world of self-published “indie” authors to being accepted for distribution by one of the Big Five largest and most prestigious publishing houses. But that timeframe pales in comparison to others about whom I’ve read.

In the Forward to Terry Whalin’s “10 Publishing Myths,” author Jerry Jenkins wrote that he published 124 books before his Left Behind novel series took hold, selling 60 million copies.

James Patterson, the world’s most successful author as measured by book sales, experienced his first book being turned down by 31 publishers.

James Lee Burke’s book “The Lost Get-Back Boogie” was rejected 111 times over nine years before LSU Press published it – and it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Publishing industry phenomenon “Chicken Soup” was rejected 144 times before it was finally published, and has now sold over 500 million copies in over 20 variations.

Author Rod McKuen had been selling books out of his car before being discovered by famed editor Nan Telese, then for a few years he accounted for 24 percent of Random House revenue.

Somewhere between 700,000 and 1 million books are published every year, and very few of them will sell in meaningful quantities. I’m ever-hopeful about my future, but the truth is, the joy I receive from the craft of writing is in and of itself my greatest reward.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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5th January 2024

Hello out there, and Happy New Year

Welcome back. I hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful holiday season, and that the new year dawns brightly for you as one filled with health, happiness and prosperity – however those three words are defined in your life and in the lives of your loved ones.

Well, things have changed remarkably for me regarding my author journey. I just signed a two-book deal with an affiliate imprint of one of the world’s five largest and most respected publishing houses. The agreement also gives them the right-of-first-refusal on all my future books. One of the two books will be from the just-completed manuscript of my fifth novel entitled For the Love of Charley Chaplain. But the greatest joy for me in this new relationship comes from the fact that my award-winning fourth novel, Blue by You, will be republished and re-released as my first book with my new publisher.

Both manuscripts will undergo intense review and analysis by worldclass editors to assure that both books will be the very best they can possibly be. Blue will be released first, with a new cover design, sometime this coming summer. I’m hopeful that Charley will be available for release around Thanksgiving.

My ten-year journey from being a self-published “indie” author to acceptance in the elite reaches of the publishing world is difficult to put into words. Suffice it to say I’m thrilled to begin this new dimension of my author journey, and I’m delighted to have you accompany me.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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22nd December 2023

Hello, out there,


Welcome back. Today, I’ve been thinking about the expression “the reason for the season” as it pertains to Christmas. What about the inverse – when the season becomes the reason, moving from a noun derived from Scripture to an adjective associated with the last few weeks of the year?

This time of year, for many or most of us, connotes a feeling that can reach in and touch the human spirit. As a novelist, I remain in awe of the Hallmark Channel’s ability to create a seemingly endless run of seasonally-themed movies, all essentially telling the same story with basically the same type of characters with the requisite happy ending in so many different versions. Yet it’s likely not the true meaning of Christmas (noun) that keeps viewers coming back for more, rather the sentimentality of the Christmas (adjective) spirt in each and every storyline.

Not complaining, mind you. Rather wishing there was a way for this seasonal feeling of happiness and goodwill toward others to last throughout the coming year. Here’s hoping the spirit of Christmas (noun and adjective) permeates your life and those near and dear to you throughout all of 2024.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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15 th December 2023

Hello, out there.

Welcome back. Today, I want to share with you how proud I was when, upon renewing my passport recently for the fifth time since 1981, I listed my profession as “author.” It represents a dream come true for me since my high school days, and places me into what I believe is a very special category – one I encourage you to join.

I’ve read many times that 80% of the U.S. population has thought at one time or another about writing a book. Only a very small percentage actually begin the process, and a miniscule number will go on to finish a manuscript. Sadly, for me at least, an even smaller subset of that tiny number will go on and actually publish a book.

The rise of small and mid-size indie and hybrid publishers in recent years has opened doors for authors that were previously closed by the tight knit community of agents and mainstream publishers. I, for one, happily walked through that door ten years ago, and I would be delighted to share my hard-earned insights with anyone who contacts me at larry@larrygildersleeve.com.

I believe it was Maya Angelou who said something to the effect that if there is a book you want to read that hasn’t yet been written – write it. To which I say – Amen!

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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8 th December 2023

Hey, out there,

Welcome back. Today, a word about words.

A few weeks ago, the autobiography My Name is Barbra was released. No need to identify the author – who else could it be? But here’s the thing. Isn’t 992 pages a bit much, even for someone with such a stellar stage, film and music career? I think it is.

The comparisons I’m about to make are by no means parallel or comparable, but they are, I believe, illustrative about the verbosity trap into which so many people in the public eye are prone to fall.

The account of creation in Genisis is told in only 400 words; the Ten Commandments in 313; the Lord’s Prayer in 66. The Declaration of Independence, written in 1776, contains a mere 1,322 words, yet the
2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) extends to almost twelve million words with all of its associated regulations.

Whether written or spoken, I believe more words don’t always, or even usually, equate to better.

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr’s largely extemporaneous I Have A Dream speech in August of 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of 250,000 lasted just seventeen minutes. Stadium sermons to assemblages in the tens of thousands over many decades all over the world by the late Reverend Billy Graham were almost always under fifteen minutes.

The Gettysburg Address, written on a train enroute to the event, contained a mere 286 words and lasted only a few minutes when spoken. The man immediately preceding President Lincoln spoke for an hour and a half. Does anyone know his name? Over 150 years later, speakers and writers still persist all too often in floating a battleship of words around a rowboat of thought.

As I promised in my first posting a few weeks ago, with my books, my columns, my blog and elsewhere, I’ll never feel such a need or entitlement

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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1 st December 2023

Hey, out there,

Welcome back.

Today, I’ll explain a couple of things about this blog.

I’m a huge admirer of the late bestselling author Pat Conroy (even visited his gravesite in a small cemetery near Beaufort, South Carolina cemetery). After his passing in early March 2016, a collection of some of his speeches, magazine articles and letters was published as A Low Country
Heart (Reflections on a Writing Life).

In reading the book, I learned he began such reflections with the simple words “Hey, out there.” From all that I’ve read about him, including his 2018 biography My Unremarkable Life, I don’t think he’d mind this one tiny bit of emulation.

Secondly, I live in a Southern town where residents know each other and their business … or think they do. When folks became aware of my books and my newspaper contributions, and I was introduced for the first time, because of the uniqueness of my last name, more than one person responded, “Oh, you’re the author guy.” I am indeed, and proudly so.

While I have acknowledged borrowing a few words from Mr. Conroy, I’m unaware of any other writer referring to themselves as either “the author guy or gal.” As I become better known as a novelist, and that is certainly my dream, I wouldn’t mind one bit if others borrowed my self-anointed sobriquet.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios

Larry B. Gildersleeve

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24 th November 2023

Hey, out there~

Welcome to the very first Author Guy blog. And let me begin by saying I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

A bit about me. I’m a retired corporate executive who, ten years ago, began pursuing a lifelong dream of being a published author. I now have four novels in print, and you can read the first three chapters of each one at www.larrygildersleeve.com. My fifth will be released in early 2024.

In addition to this blog, I publish a monthly newsletter (you can sign-up on my web site) and I’m a featured columnist in some of Boone Newsmedia’s sixty-plus newspapers across the Midwest and Southeast.

For my weekly blog, I intend to remain focused on writing, combining my original thoughts with things like quotes and facts about other authors, books I’m currently reading or recommend to others, as well as the importance to both readers and authors of libraries, independent bookstores and indie/hybrid publishers.

You have my commitment that every week, I will be brief. Less, hopefully, will be more.

Until next week … Vaya con Dios.

Larry B. Gildersleeve