The Mail I Get – Write With Me Edition

I got this email from a total stranger this morning. She said, in part:

“Okay, here goes. I’m a teen therapist for 20 years… I’ve been writing for a long, long time. Just putting it out there. I’d love an opportunity to write a script with you. I’ve no idea where one finds a writing partner.  I’m a novice at format not content or ideas. I am a sponge when it comes to learning. I admire you and sometimes you just gotta go for it. I teach people to ask for what they want, so I’m asking. Take a minute and feel how awesome my request is… I’m super creative and I like to write about real life events..with a twist. I’m a Gemini. If that helps, great..if not, I have many life experiences worth writing about and letting others go on that journey…I hope you want to know more!” 

I wrote back…

Sorry, I’m not interested in co-writing a script with you. I’m glad you teach teens to go after what they want… but you should also advise them to be realistic, to do research, and to learn about the best way to achieve their goals. Reaching out to professional writers to collaborate is not a successful strategy for breaking into the entertainment industry. Everyone has ideas and life experience…and an astrological sign. Instead, you should hone your screenwriting skill by taking classes or reading books… and write a spec script. Often the best contacts you can make are in those classes… the student next to you could sell her script and become your contact in the industry. If you want to learn more about breaking into TV writing, you might check out my book SUCCESSFUL TELEVISION WRITING.

Naturally, declining to appreciate “how awesome my request is” and jump at the rare opportunity to work with someone who has life experiences, is super creative, and a Gemini, didn’t go over well. She replied:

There are kinder ways to say things Lee.. but hey, You crossed my fb path, making yourself accessible so I went for it. I will continue to do so as I teach my kids. If you only wanted to be approached and praised and a book purchased, got it! I would never discourage anyone from trying. Opportunity lies everywhere. Please do not advise me on my skill set with my teens. You responded In a condescending manner. After many have reviewed your responses…people think your are rude and acted horribly!. I no longer admire someone who reprimands another like that…you take care sir.

Apparently, my posts showing up in her FB feed gives her permission to make stupid proposals to me. I didn’t say this, of course. Instead, I replied:

Your response to a polite rejection is telling. You clearly don’t appreciate the outrageousness, and presumptuousness (is that even a word? I really should know) of contacting a professional and asking to collaborate. It’s a huge, absurd and frankly insulting ask. Would you contact Diane Warren & Taylor Swift and ask to collaborate on writing songs, although you don’t have song song writing skills, but have coached teens, are really creative, have lived life, and are a Gemini? Would you reach out to Michael Giacchino about co-scoring a movie, or James Patterson about co-authoring a novel, or Ray Romano about co-writing jokes, or Amanda Gordon about co-writing a poem? I’m not in their league, of course, but your ask is essentially as ridiculous. They’ve worked hard to get where they are… and you want to partner with them? What are you thinking? I spend a LOT of time teaching, mentoring and helping aspiring writers…and have for decades. The difference between you, and all the aspiring screenwriters and authors I have worked with over the years, is that they take the time to understand the field they want to enter, to reseach how they work, and to learn the skills necessary to succeed. They don’t cold call professionals and ask to be their partner. You need to get real…and get over yourself. Or you are in for a lot of disappointment.

I knew where this response would lead, of course, and she replied exactly as I knew, and now you know, she would:

We do not agree. Thank you for your time. It was a mistake to approach you. Be well sir.
You need to stop. Your behavior is not constructive its destructive. Im done needing to hear from you. Not everyone fits your mold of thinking. You have been abusive. I’ll be sure to pass this experience on.

And then she blocked me. I don’t know what makes some people think they are entitled to make dumb requests like this…and then get deeply offended when their offer is rejected. I shudder to think what bad advice she’s giving to teens.

The Mail I Get: Rejection Edition

How to never sell your book…

We received a submission at Brash Books, the small publishing company I co-founded six years ago with Joel Goldman. After reading the submission, we decided to pass. This is the entirety of the rejection letter we wrote to the author:

Thank you for thinking of Brash for XYZ. Unfortunately, it’s not a fit for us. We wish you the very best finding the right home for the book.

His reply:

Keep printing The same redundant shit Arrogant ass, just remember the title of this book, u will see it on the best sellers list asshole.

And I’m sure he wonders why he hasn’t sold a book yet. (BTW, his submission was awful). So I decided to respond:

I sincerely doubt it… and I say that as a novelist who has actually been at the top of the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller lists multiple times. To be a successful author, you not only need to write well, and tell a good story… you also need to have some decent people skills. If I lashed out and called every publisher who politely rejected my work an arrogant asshole, I wouldn’t have achieved my success. How do I know? Because I ultimately ended being published by two of the publishers who’d rejected my previous work. You are clearly the biggest obstacle to your success. You might want to rethink your strategy.

He responded a short time later. 

 
This book has a very complex plot and vivid characterization that you couldn’t have possibly ascertain in the brief time you review my story. is a very complex plot, and profound characterization. This story is very unique, and has major shocking twists at the end! A PHD from Western Kentucky, who was a professor for 38 years is editing it, and compared it to Silence of the Lambs. It is very, very unique story, and intertwines orwellian themes, which compare to today’s political and social upheaval. I DO APOLOGIZE FOR LASHING OUT, NOT PROFESSIONAL AT ALL, sorry just have my heart and soul in this book, and you rejected it in record time, this is not my first rodeo, again I do apologize!

Still a little crazy, but at least he apologized. I guess that’s progress.

The Mail I Get: For the Weatherman Edition

There is are a lot of Lee Goldbergs out there. One of them is a popular weatherman at WABC in New York…and I get a lot of emails meant for him. I always reply and politely tell them they have the wrong Lee Goldberg (which you’d think would be obvious from the face on my website). By the same token, Lee the Weatherman also gets a lot of emails about my books. We met a few years ago and he invited me on his show. It was a lot of fun.

Here is just a tiny sampling of the mail I get for him:

Dear Lee,

Please be advised that Clason Point in the Bronx is pronounced CLAW-son and not CLAY-son.

And another:

Hi Lee it was nice you mentioned the Moon and Jupiter tonight but Saturn was there too.

If its clear tomorrow in fact you might want to mention in your forecast that the crescent Moon, Saturn and Jupiter are gathered even closer together.

And another:

What type of meter is on the wall in your home above the computer monitor?
While watching you broadcast from your home (I assume it is your home) there is a device with many numbers on it in red.
Is that something I can purchase?
Thanks

And another:

Thank you for thinking of Toms River Ocean County NJ. Other channels don’t talk about Toms River. You are the only one who speaks about Ocean County NJ. Thank you, thank you, thank you. BTW, I’m from Toms River.

And another:

Hi Lee- it’s a great idea to tell your viewers the reason for the nightly colors. However, please do it at 5 and 6 pm for the many viewers who are fast asleep at 11:20pm especially kids and my Nursing Home residents. Thanks – please reply if you get this request.

And another:

Hello, Lee!
Could I be of any assistance in reporting weather conditions/readings for the northeast Bronx – Pelham Bay Park/City Island?i.e.Rain, snow, flooding, temperature, barometric pressure, etc.
Basically.. just another set of eyes for this outer area of New York City.

And another:

I worked in landscaping for 43 years. Outside work 6 days a week, plus drove an oil delivery truck in the winter. Always out in the weather. In the last 3 years the wind, especially out of the northwest has been relentless! The only calm is early AM and in summer Bermuda high when dew points and humidity are raging. I’m on LI. so the proximity to ocean and sound and peconic bay, but REALLY…… what’s going on?

When I responded to this guy, and told him he had the wrong Lee Goldberg, he actually replied:

Sorry. I thought that was a little too easy.

The Mail I Get: Recommend Me Edition

Two weeks ago, the same day that my new novel BONE CANYON came out, a complete stranger sent me an email on Facebook asking me to recommend him to my agent:

Hi Lee: Need to ask a question. Do you have an agent, order you publish yourself? If you have an agent, can you refer me to him/her. I have completed a novel, 60,000 words. If I send a cold-call query to an agent, I get a polite response. If I send a query to an agent with a recommendation, I get feedback. So far, feedback has said my manuscript is “well written.” But that doesn’t mean they will represent it. Asking for your input and a recommendation to your agent. Thank you, Ben

I didn’t reply…because I was very busy promoting my book and I really didn’t want to deal with his request. Two days later, I got another note.

I sent you the above message. Would love to get a response.

I didn’t reply to that one, either. The next day, I got an email through my website:

I left you a message on your Facebook page but never heard back from you. Can you read it and respond?”

This time I responded. I said: “I am represented by an agent and no, I will not recommend you to her. What an outrageous and inappropriate request to make of a complete stranger. Why would I do that? I don’t know you and I don’t know your work. And no, I don’t want to read your book. Here’s a blog post I wrote on the subject.”

He wrote back on Facebook:

You’re an asshole.

Then he followed up with an email saying:

What an asshole you are. I won’t expand because I don’t want to hear your pompous diatribe. So I’ll leave it at that.

I responded:

From screenwriter Josh Olson who, in his great 2009 piece in The Village Voice, said it best when dealing with a person like you:

“At this point, you should walk away, firm in your conviction that I’m a dick. But if you’re interested in growing as a human being and recognizing that it is, in fact, you who are the dick in this situation, please read on. Yes. That’s right. I called you a dick. Because you created this situation. You put me in this spot where my only option is to acquiesce to your demands or be the bad guy. That, my friend, is the very definition of a dick move.”

Here’s the rest of his wonderful essay on guys like you:https://www.villagevoice.com/…/i-will-not-read-your…/

Your emails to me make it very clear why you’ve had no success finding an agent or getting published. You might want to rethink your approach going forward. Good luck!

Ben responded immediately:

You are still an asshole.

A bad guy.

A dick.

A jerk.

I am very secure in my writing. Based on past experiences, I am very secure calling you the above names. You made your position know. I get it. But you are pretty insecure otherwise it seems. Now asshole just walk away. Take a frickin hike.

Regards,

Me

Five minutes later, he added:

Response 2

From now on, just send me or people like me a one or two sentence response saying you are in no position to read a manuscript and offer recommednations. That’s all you need to do. But you make an asshole case out of it trying to shame people. It shows you are pretty insecure or at least very petty. You need to rethink your approach to dealing with well-intended writers.

Now I’d had enough. Here’s what I wrote:

Wow, are you full of yourself. Let’s recap, Ben. You sent a note on Facebook to an author you don’t know (or, apparently, don’t know anything about). You began by asking this question:


” Do you have an agent, order you publish yourself? ” 

If you’d done even the most basic research about me, you’d know the answer to that question, that I am a #1 New York Times bestselling author who has been published by Penguin Putnam, St. Martin’s Press, Random House, etc. But that was too much work for you. And if you’d ever opened one of my books, which I’m sure you haven’t, not only would you know if I have an agent or not, you’d also know their names, since I thank them in my acknowledgments. So, strike #1 for laziness, poor research and a complete lack of professionalism. (Add poor-proofreading: “order” instead of “or do” in your dashed-off, “cold call” email)


You went on to ask: “If you have an agent, can you refer me to him/her.”

You are now asking a complete stranger to make a personal recommendation, leveraging their hard-earned reputation and hard-won personal relationships, on your behalf… a huge ask, even for someone who actually knows me or even, at the minimum, my work.  But you don’t acknowledge that. You think it’s nothing. So, strike #2 for ignorance and rudeness. (Add poor proofreading: you forgot to add a question mark to the end of your question, which again underscores the unprofessional, dashed-off nature of your “cold call”).


You go on to say: “If I send a cold-call query to an agent, I get a polite response. If I send a query to an agent with a recommendation, I get feedback. “


So, you’re saying  I should do this for someone I don’t know because my relationship with the agent will help get you feedback. In other words, you’ll get more attention from the agent because she feels a responsibility to me, the person who recommended you. 


And you’re making that request with no acknowledgment whatsoever of the significance of what you are asking. And you don’t even ask politely. So, strike #3…for presumptuousness, ignorance and rudeness.


You go on to say: “Asking for your input and a recommendation to your agent.”

Now you are asking an author you don’t know, or even know anything about, to not only recommend you to his agent (twice, I might add), but now you also want him to give you feedback…another big ask. So, strike #4 for nagging, ignorance and rudeness. 

And there wasn’t a single “please” in your entire cold-call email, a big strike #4, for having no common courtesy.  

But you didn’t stop there. When I didn’t answer you immediately, because really, what could possibly be more important in my life than responding to a complete stranger, you asked me two days later to respond. When I didn’t, you then prodded me again, a day later, through my website:

“I left you a message on your Facebook page but never heard back from you. Can you read it and respond? Thank you”

You not only hit up a complete stranger for a big favor, you now had the chutzpah to insist on an immediate response… and to complain when you didn’t get one (and, once again, the word “please” seems to be missing entirely from your vocabulary…because the whole world owes you their time and attention). 


I’m sure you have no idea how rude and inappropriate that is, but we’ll set that aside. This may come as a shock, but I have a few other things going on in my life (for example, if you’d done any research on me, you’d know I had a new book come out last week and have been busy doing scores of interviews every day). I have no obligation to you… certainly not to drop everything to engage with you. 


But no, in your mind, there is nothing more important, more time-critical, than you and your needs…even to someone you don’t know and know nothing about.


And when I did respond, (“I am represented by an agent and no, I will not recommend you to her. What an outrageous and inappropriate request to make of a complete stranger. Why would I do that? I don’t know you and I don’t know your work. And no, I don’t want to read your book. Here’s a blog post I wrote on the subject…), your reply was:


“You’re an asshole.”


Amazing. And you have the gall to try to school me on how to behave? Your arrogance and cluelessness are astounding. You aren’t a “well-intended writer,” but you’re certainly an ill-prepared, impolite, and self-defeating one. You asked me for feedback. Well, now I’ll give some to you. 


The proper response from you to my reply would have been an apology, an acknowledgement that what you were asking was out of line and ill-considered, and that you now realize that it was a foolish way to approach an author for advice…especially one you don’t know…and that now you know no better. That you don’t blame me for being irritated, you would be, too. 


That might have led to something productive. Instead, you doubled down on ignorance and arrogance…and responded with a crude, childish insult that proved me right: You aren’t someone who deserves my help…or *any* successful author’s help. 


No, Ben, I am not an asshole. What I am is a successful author, screenwriter, TV producer and publisher who is very busy…and doesn’t have much free time. Even so, over the last thirty years, I’ve taught and mentored writers across the United States and all over the world…in classrooms, in seminars, at conferences, and on-the-job. The difference between those writers and you is that they’re smarter, more professional, more polite, and a lot less full of themselves.


You’ve made many dumb, cringe-worthy mistakes in your interaction with me…and instead of responding now by telling me that I’m an ugly, smelly, talentless, creepy, petty, vindictive, Godless asshole, shithead, bastard, prick and overall terrible person, don’t respond to me at all. Instead, think of this as a learning experience and rethink your deeply flawed strategy of “cold calling” authors you don’t know (or know anything about) for help. You need a new approach….because your current one sucks…and works against you. 

Lee

His reply was entirely predictable:

You really took all that time to write this. Wow I must have really got on your nerves. You are sick. You need help. Ask your therapist if this is logical. 
As I said a simple two sentence reply at the beginning would have sufficed. 
I’m not even going to read this
I’m just going to delete it
Good night

I don’t think Ben, with his attitude, is going to have much luck finding an agent or getting his book published.

The Mail I Get – Convicted Conman James Strauss Edition

You’d be stunned how any people have reached out to me to share their horror stories of being swindled or harassed by convicted conman & fake TV writer James Strauss… everybody from aspiring screenwriters to stiffed shopkeepers, from enraged military veterans to swindled conference organizers, from stiffed restaurants to stiffed Hawaii vacation-home renters. There’s been a surge in those emails in the last couple of weeks. I guess he’s stirring things up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, perhaps the only place on earth that hasn’t learned that he’s a total fraud. Here’s an excerpt from one of the many emails that I’ve received:

I live in Lake Geneva Wisconsin and today The Geneva Shore Report, which this James Strauss owns, told bold face lies […] saying [my] church and former pastors were in cahoots with the fire department where people were to vote.  His bold face lies and hurtful newspaper needs to stop. Please don’t use my name. But can you help my community?! And please hurry.

James Strauss’ mugshot, taken before he was sentenced to federal prison for fraud.

It’s YOUR community. YOU do something about it. If you, as a resident, don’t have the guts to stand-up against him, under your own name, and reveal him for what he is, how can you expect people who don’t live there, who have no stake or interest in what is going on, to do anything about it? Here’s an excerpt from a very lengthy email I received:

I am asking you to please not publish my name. Frankly, we cannot afford to feel the wrath of Mr. Strauss’s mean-spirited writings and video “reporting”. I am a long-time resident in the Geneva Lakes Area in Wisconsin. Sadly our lovely resort community is home to The Geneva Shore Report, a mean-spirited rag of a “newspaper” for which James Strauss is the creator and editor. He promotes his rag as “The most feared newspaper in America”.

I am writing to you because Mr. Strauss is damaging good people in our community. Mr. Strauss has made accusations via innuendo and flat out lies about our now retired pastors of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Chaplain on our Lake Geneva Fire Department, [and] slandered Karen Stein of KS Ministries who, out of her own pocketbook, invested a healthy half a million dollars in a clean and sober living house. What can I do to expose his con man lies? Please help!

I told him this: I’m sorry to hear that Strauss is continuing to ruin people’s lives…but there is nothing I can do about it. I’m not a journalist or a cop. The best advice I can give you is to spread the word that he is a convicted conman and fraud who spent years in a federal prison for swindling people. It’s information easily found on the Internet.

Outside of the Lake Geneva folks, I recently also got a desperate email from an aspiring filmmaker (he asked me not to quote his email on my blog) who was wary of doing free work for Strauss, who promised in return to use his contacts to help the kid break into Hollywood. This poor kid was shocked to learn that Strauss has zero legitimate Hollywood experience and asked me what he should do. My answer was simple: walk away. Strauss is a pathological liar and convicted felon who will screw you over.

It’s amazing to me that Strauss is still able to con people when the truth about him is so easily found in a google search. The way I look at it, anybody stupid enough to get into business with him deserves what they get.

The Mail I Get – Advice Edition

59_bigPeople are always writing me for advice about TV and publishing, not that I have any great wisdom to impart. But that doesn’t stop me from replying anyway.

Hello Mr. Goldberg:
I was referred to you by a friend of your friend XYZ…I am 64 years old and I have a screenplay that desperately needs a place to go, and your name was delivered as the unquestionable favorite.  Please let me know if you might be able to provide me any guidance or wisdom. Should you not be able or interested, (she tries to put away that big pouty lip), your suggestion of someone else would be greatly appreciated.

Unfortunately, I don’t have good news for you. In fact, I have very discouraging news for you. Everybody in L.A. has a screenplay they want to sell. You are one of thousands…and you’re competing with them all, inexperienced and experienced screenwriters alike. I’m neither an agent nor a studio exec, so there’s really nothing I can do for you. I don’t know of any agents who are taking on new clients (they are having a hard enough time selling the scripts written by the experienced clients they already have).
The best advice I can offer is for you to contact the Writers Guild of America to see if they can give you a list of signatory agents who are accepting unsolicited screenplays. The other thing you should be aware of is that ageism is rampant in Hollywood…and if you haven’t already established yourself in the business by 30, you are considered elderly and out-of-touch with popular taste 🙂 I’m 54 and feel ancient when I go into meetings…and despite my extensive credits, it’s still a hard sell for me. I’m just telling you this so you realise that you’re facing a very steep, uphill battle.

I am sure you get a lot of emails and maybe this may not reach you, but here’s hoping. I am an aspiring actress/model and went to a meeting with XYZ at Culver Studios last week. He claims to have been a director/producer for NBC/Universal but the IMDB just doesn’t seem legitimate. He also claims to be married to actress XYZ but there is hardly any information on her either.
He says he wants me to come and work for him and learn the business to become an assistant producer and star in his upcoming movies, but things just aren’t adding up. I called NBC Universal and asked them if his name was on the employee list and was not.  Due to all of the scams and human trafficking which he spoke a lot about, I want to be safe. Do you know how I can navigate safely through this industry and or have any advice for me on how I can obtain legitimate information and backgrounds on producers and directors?

Well, it sounds like you already checked this guy out and learned that something is very fishy. His picture on Imdb also seems amateurish to me… as if by standing beside the studio gate, which anybody can do, he’s trying to confer legitimacy on himself. I’d steer clear of him. Keep in mind, anybody can rent studio space. Just because their office is on a movie studio lot does not mean they are legitimate. In addition to imdb, you can check out producers with the PGA (Producers Guild of America) to see if they are members… or, if they are writer/producers, you can check with the WGA (Writers Guild of America) to see if they are members (or if their companies are guild signatories). You can find out if a director is legit by contacting the DGA (Directors Guild of America) and seeing if he or she is a member. If they are offering you acting jobs, check them out with SAG (Screen Actors Guild) to see if they are signatories or if there are any issues with their company that the union knows about. Lack of produced credits on imDb and non-membership in one of those guilds would raise a big red flag for me.

The Mail I Get – It’s About Time Edition

Direct-Mail1It’s been a looonnnggg time since I opened up the mailbag and shared it on the blog. But I’ve been saving some of the best for you (or is it the worst?). Here’s are two recent queries I received:

Would you ever consider working on a graphic novel?  I’m an illustrator that can work on spec.  I  have a couple ideas … Idea B: Anne Frank: Demon Hunter.  It turns out she and Kafka and Hitler all faked their death.  Kafka and Anne’s plans to make a golem and prevent the awakening of the King of Demons and a Norse giant were encoded into her journal, also mystical power boosts for telekinesis and martial arts.  So Hitler races them to the annex to fight over the journal and fights Kafka and Anne there, as the golem fights the norse giant and Demon King.

OMG. How unbelievably awful is that? But what’s really astonishing is that for some reason he thought I would be the right guy for that story. Did somebody steer him my way?

Anne Frank, Kafka and a golem in a kung-fu battle to the death with Hitler? Oh yeah, Lee Goldberg is the guy you want to talk to for that. It’s just his kind of thing.  But you might want to make the golem a talking dolphin instead. That’d really excite him.

I think my brother Tod must have put him up to it. Here’s another query I received.

Dear Professional Amazon Reviewer,

Amazon gave me your details so that I can provide my new book for review.I understand that you may wish to be on the Vine reviewer list. I want to help if you let me. I would welcome an honest review of my free ebook being published today on Amazon. I am aware that, once you are a Vine official reviewer, as Amazon CEO explained to me, you will have access to the top amazing hardware available around for free. I want to help you get there. I have 18 books for review on Amazon but only one every month. So there is plenty of opportunities to offer me a reasonably worded honest potentially powerful clear review on the material I write. This is the way Amazon judges a potential Vine reviewer. My books are non-fiction.

Let’s join forces. The book that I need a review for is based on EFT, tapping techniques, also called emotional freedom technic. In a generic mode, EFT uses acupuncture points also known as acupoints, to release stress, to reduce addiction, to eliminate phobias and in general terms, to rebalance the psychological health of a disturbed individual. If you can rewrite this essence, you are worth the Vine badge.

Pretty sleazy, huh? His books are ranked in the millions, meaning not even his mother ever bought a copy. I wrote back to this guy. Here’s what I said:

You should be ashamed of yourself for misleading people into thinking that writing a review of your books will prove to Amazon that  “they are worth the Vine badge” or will lead them to Vine membership. You clearly have no understanding of how the Vine program works…or you do and just want to mislead people. Writing and posting review of one of your obscure books will have negligible, if any, impact on the likelihood that a reviewer will be selected for the Vine program. But I can understand why you’ve engaged in such desperate measures, given how poorly ranked and badly reviewed your books are…if they are even reviewed at all, which is rare. I have passed your solicitation on to Amazon to alert them to your misleading campaign.

I never heard back from him, of course. I think Tod sent him to me, too.

The Mail I Get – This and That Edition

McGraveCover-HomeQuestions from this week’s mailbag…

Hi Lee. I’m sort of new to your work. I’ve read The Walk, Dead Space, My Gun Has Bullets and I just finished McGrave. I really like reading your books. They’re too funny to put down and I have definitely stayed up way past my usual bedtime just to finish reading one of your gems. Now that I’ve heaped on the flattery, I must say that you should do an entire series of novels featuring McGrave. […] I’m really hoping that you consider it. In any event, you’re my new flavor of the month author and I’m going to read everything that you’ve written. Now go back to work and write me something good to read.

I was all set to write a series of McGrave books… in fact, my plan was to do them in-between new King City books…but the Fox & O’Hare project with Janet Evanovich unexpectedly came along and it has changed everything. We are co-writing two books a year (the third, The Job, comes out in November) and it hasn’t left me much time for anything else, not that I am complaining. I love writing the Fox & O’Hare books. But I do intend to get back to both McGrave and Tom Wade one of these days. Speaking of McGrave, you might enjoy a new, a short video from my good friends at Firelight Entertainment Group about how the book came about.

Hi,

I have written a movie novel for the DreamWorks film ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ but haven’t published yet because I’m worried about copyright. I’m thinking about self-publishing on LuLu.com. How would I go about getting permission to do it?

Thank you,

Jack

Publishing the book yourself would definitely be copyright infringment. If you go ahead and do it, at best the studio will demand that you withdraw the book from sale. At worst, they will sue you. In order to publish the book, you would have to ask DreamWorks, the studio that made the movie, for permission and I think it’s highly, highly unlikely they will grant it. You would have more luck finding a dragon and training it.

I came across this article in the New York Times ‘I Was a Digital Best Seller’ a few weeks ago, and it made me think of you and your blog.  The article describes the experience of an established non-fiction author, and his experience with a digital publisher called Byliner, which (at least to me) looks and sounds like a legitimate publisher.  The article (and many of the comments on the article) gives me the impression that writers and musicians will still need to work with agents and publishing companies to get their work marketed in the digital world, even though it is at least theoretically possible for anyone to ‘self-publish’.  At the same time, it looks like the digital publishing industry itself is still evolving.

I read the article when it was published and I got a different message from it, and that is: Don’t be an idiot. I thought the article showed how incredibly stupid the author was and that he had no one to blame for his misfortune but himself.

The Mail I Get – Mondo Monk Edition

MM_Gets_EVEN_mmHere are a bunch of questions I’ve received lately about Monk. There may be spoilers ahead.

I just saw an episode of Monk that revealed Trudy’s killer as a college professor she had an affair with and had his baby. In your books you keep saying the murder hasn’t been solved. Can you explain? I still have several of your Monk books to read so the answer may be in the unread books. Thanks on advance for your feedback. Darla

That’s not the case. My books came out while the show was still on the air. The first book of mine that acknowledges the solving of Trudy’s murder is Mr. Monk on Road. I wrote four more MONK novels after that…all of which acknowledge that Trudy’s murder has been solved.

Hello Lee

First of all let me begin by telling you what a big fan I am of the Monk TV series AND your books. I was so upset when the TV series ended but your books allowed me to go on ‘watching’ it. One thing that I’m curious about though: why did you have to make Randy Disher leave for New Jersey? He was one of my top favorite characters in the series (I actually love all the characters and especially Sharona too). Anyway, just wanted to know why you had to replace Randy with Amy – you can tell I don’t like change much! 😛

Thanks!
Nyain from South Africa.

Disher left San Francisco for New Jersey in the final episode of the MONK television series, so I was just picking up where they left off.

I JUST READ “MR. MONK AND THE TWO ASSISTANTS” . I HAD NO IDEA THIS SERIES EXISTED. I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO SEE THE TV SERIES GO ON FOR ANOTHER 10 YEARS OR SO. THIS IS THE NEXT BEST THING. I CAN ACTUALLY VISULIZE THE CHARACTERS AS I READ THE BOOK. I LAUGH OUT LOUD. I INTEND TO READ ALL OF YOUR “MR MONK” BOOKS.
I HAVE READ ALL OF PARKER’S BOOKS. HIS BOOK COVERS ALWAYS SHOWED HIM IN A LEATHER JACKET AND BOSTON BALL CAP. I REMEMBERED THAT WHEN READING ABOUT “LUDLOW’S” BOOK COVERS.
I ENJOY YOUR WORK. TRAVIS

Thank you so much, Travis! I hope you continue to enjoy the MONK books. Your note reminded me that I need to change my author photo and put on a leather jacket.

how about you write a book with Mrs. Monk still living, perpetrating the neurosis later found in her kids? I would read it..!

Sorry, I am not writing the books anymore…and if I was, I wouldn’t write that.

I recently read the new novel Mr. Monk Helps Himself  by Hy Conrad. It really sucked. […] Please, please reconsider coming back and writing another Monk book or at the very least talk to Hy Conrad and tell him where he’s gone wrong. I will have to content myself with rereading all your Monk novels. I miss the old Monk.

Boucheron 2013: MONK Authors Lee Goldberg and Hy Conrad
Lee Goldberg & Hy Conrad

Thank you, I appreciate your kind words but I am done with Monk… It’s Hy’s series now and I wouldn’t presume to tell him how to write it. That said, I have to disagree with you. I think he’s doing a great job.

I am trying to find someplace that I can purchase the entire series of the Monk books, and keep hitting dead ends. Just wondering if you might know somewhere that this may exist. […] They are too expensive to purchase individually, and I’m hoping to get a better deal by finding the complete set.

You didn’t look very hard. You can find complete sets on ebay…or partial sets that you can buy to create a complete set…or you can find them from used book dealers on the Internet for as little as 1 cent each. I think you just wanted me to send you 15 books. Sorry, I don’t do that.

through reading janet evanovich’s books, i discovered you and the monk books. is the book, mr. monk on the couch, the last book of the series?

No, the last of the 15 Monk books that I wrote is Mr. Monk Gets Even. That said, Hy Conrad has continued the series and has written several more great books.

I find Monk irritating and wish you would write a book where he’s normal.

Well, then it wouldn’t be Monk book, would it? I think people read the Monk books because they like the Monk character. If you remove what makes him Monk, then he isn’t Monk any more.

The Mail I Get – Bizarro Edition

King-JoffreyI got a follow-up today from one of the people I mentioned in yesterday’s post. To refresh your memory, here’s the email that he sent me and my reply:

Dear Lee Goldberg, I wish to send you two types of screen play to have you see my writing talent. Please request for script. Thank you, David.

I replied: Why would I request your scripts, David? I don’t hire screenwriters and I am not an agent. I have no interest in your writing talent. My interest is exploiting in my own 🙂

Now here’s the follow-up that I got from him today…

Dear Lee Goldberg,

I wish to Inform you that I am His Majesty King David Yomi-Alli. The King. I have a vast domain of which you might not be able to comprehend and as such would not bother you with the details. Nevertheless, I am acquainted with your work from which I have developed my writing skills. My mission Is to use this acquired skill mixed with faith and talent to meet America’s most troubling needs. Needs such as quenching the US Mountain of debt by bringing together the treasure In people and land…

I am sure you can understand what treasure In person Is, Say for Instance you are a very talented Tv Series writer. Yes, you have earn the big bucks. What of If you use that same talent to write about the British Industrial revolution and Inspire another Industrial revolution In the midst of an Economic catastrophe…

I have plenty Ideas, you can present any to some of your collys In the Industry In America. KING DAVID

This guy has got to be putting me on. He followed up that email with a list of titles of spec scripts that he has written, under the heading “HM King David Writing Services.” He then adds:

Family

I have chated to high profile ladys Including Barbara Bush, Chelsea Clinton, Princess Beatrice, the list Is endless nevertheless I have resorted to date, court and wed an American Physician who I think would be good on and to me and of benefit to the people.

I await your response.

HM KING DAVID THE KING

Your Majesty, I, too, have a vast domain that spans not only this universe, but several alternate dimensions, including one where the entire civilization is based on an episode of Baywatch that I wrote. I’m afraid I have no interest in your screenplays, or writing about the British industrial revolution, or learning about the “endless” list of prominent women you have chatted with. I do, however, congratulate you on your engagement to an American doctor. For your sake, I hope she is a psychiatrist. Yours truly, His Majesty King Lee Goldberg, Grand Poobah of the Realm, Master of the TriTip.