An Open Thank You Letter to Readers

This one is for you readers. For those of you who took a risk on a relatively unknown quantity (me) by plunking down cash for my PI/mystery novel, A Real Piece of Work. For reading it, and for expressing your love of the book to everyone you know.

Your words of praise for the novel have encouraged me more than I can express.

I also feel vindicated as all hell.

You have to understand—I knew it. Back when I was submitting A Real Piece of Work to agents, and then my agent to editors, I knew that if I could just get the book into the hands of readers…well, I knew you would love it. At the time, however, the book and I first had to run the gauntlet of mainstream publishing.

Indy outrunning the giant boulder in "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Looking back on the experience, it was like that scene at the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indiana Jones is running out of the cave, clutching the golden idol like a football as the cave collapses around him. Except in my version, the cave was mainstream publishing, the golden idol was my manuscript, and the light at the cave entrance was publication (preferably in hardcover).

In the movie, Indy outruns the giant boulder and makes it to the light.

In my story, the cave collapsed around me.

But I survived. I survived and crawled out of the rubble with my book intact. After a suitable recovery period, I looked around for a more direct route to readers, which I found in KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in the film masterpiece "Double Indemnity."

The great Billy Wilder, screenwriter of two of my favorite films, Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity (co-written with Raymond Chandler), had great faith in an audience. Remarking on the wisdom of movie theater audiences, he once said, “An audience is never wrong. An individual member of it may be an imbecile, but a thousand imbeciles together in the dark— that is critical genius.”

Although my audience for the novel has yet to reach a thousand, I’m gratified that so far they’ve been in agreement about the novel’s virtues. Following are snippets from their Amazon reviews, as well as some of their comments on Facebook and Twitter:

“I read A Real Piece of Work in three days. I could not put it down. Didn’t get much sleep for a couple of nights, but it was well worth it.”

“I can’t believe how addicting this book was.”

Orcutt’s masterful addition of wit and humor makes A Real Piece of Work that much more irresistible for those who haven’t historically flocked to the mystery genre. Dakota Stevens and his indispensable sidekick/chess champion Svetlana Krüsh are intoxicating and a delightful modern take on the noir detective style.”

 “The author’s ability to paint a picture or scene with words is astounding.”

“The characters came to life in 3D for me. I know Hollywood will come knocking on this door, and even though it is premature the movie could never hold a candle to this book!”

“From chapter one, you don’t want to put the book down.”

A Real Piece of Work is a proper, old-school P.I. novel. It’s fast-paced and exciting, with snappy dialogue, likable characters, and a thrilling plot that kept me guessing right to the end.”

 “Looking for a good winter read? I’m proud to share the work of a great writer (and happy to say, a friend), Chris Orcutt.”

“I found myself amused and intrigued in every chapter. Orcutt can weave a story that keeps you hanging on until the very end. The action, tension, and suspense make you feel the need to desperately turn the page.”

“Read this journey. It’s a rare literary mystery.”

“In the presence of a shapely vixen whose hair smells like mint, a guy can stand idly by in his shorts for only so long.” OMG @chrisorcutt

A Real Piece of Work claims to be the start of a series of books centered around a detective named Dakota Stevens, and I for one hope that the series goes on forever, for what we get in this first outing. People in the reviews keep mentioning Spenser/Robert B. Parker, and they’re right; but add a good streak of John Le Carré, turn the roaster up a notch, and maybe you’re getting in the ballpark.”

“I have enjoyed all of the Spenser novels, but Dakota Stevens and his sassy sidekick Svetlana, are my new favorite detectives.”

“The writing style is engaging and witty, the plot twists reel you in from the first page, and the characters came to life. I literally couldn’t put this book down until I finished it. I am now stalking this author on Amazon, anxiously awaiting the release of his next book in the series.”

Hard at work on my beloved Hermes 3000—arguably the best manual typewriter ever made.

Of course I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop—the inexplicable one-star review that claims my novel is the worst thing that reviewer has ever read and that I should be summarily exiled to Antarctica for publishing it

But in the meantime, I’m going to bask in the wisdom of the audience.

Thank you again to all of you who purchased and reviewed the novel, and I invite anyone else reading this to pick up a copy—whether for yourself or as a gift for a mystery lover.

Thank you, too, for vindicating me, for proving I was right.

I wrote the novel for you readers, not agents and editors, so to receive your praise and the ultimate compliment—your time—makes what has been an arduous journey completely worth it.

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By Chris Orcutt

Writer — The Dakota Stevens Mystery Series, Short fiction, Plays — Editor & Speechwriter for Hire — Avid Golfer, Chess Player & Awesome Wood-Splitter — Twitter: @chrisorcutt

Comments (1)

  1. Jim Blaney October 23, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I echo all the comments above and add that I cannot wait until your third edition comes out. Keep it going and you will soon be going to Paris again…lol