The first of three posts summarizing presentations from memoirists who spoke at the March meeting, this post features Dennis Lynch.
Dennis Lynch’s Shooting Saddam resulted from covering Saddam Hussein’s trial ten years ago. He wrote thirty pages and sent them to an agent who was interested. As a result he had to quickly outline a schedule chapter by chapter. He finished the book in eight weeks. After sending proposals to publishers the book sat for a long time. Nobody wanted more of Saddam or Iraq. His story fits into War History and True Crimes.
Dennis described his first page as the most reworked page. He needed to bring the reader with him. As he edited, he learned how to tell a story.
In response to questions about whether he consulted with those he wrote about before publishing, Dennis said he conferred with others who covered the trial to double check facts getting feedback on sights, sounds and smells. But in the end the story is from his perspective. He kept a journal in Iraq and on reading it years later found it was very brutal. He had to reexamine his feelings and what he wrote and had to tone things down. He became more objective writing the book.
When asked what he considers success, Dennis said he felt his success in steps, i.e. each chapter, signing with the agent, then a publisher, then the proof of the book. Each time he felt validated, and the goal kept changing.
In response to questions regarding what he did right and what he did wrong, Dennis said he hates marketing and finds it frustrating. He did everything backwards because he had no experience in marketing. He just put the book on Amazon, then book stores. Then he did social media. Finally he hired a marketing person, and paid a lot, but it was too late. He needed to market before the book was published.
When asked about his plans for more books, Dennis told us he has a series of books (true crime) in process because he has covered so many famous trials. There is no limit to his material.
For more information about Dennis, check his website at http://www.dennislynch.net.