Saturday, April 28, 2007

E-mail from a Future Reader

Here is an e-mail from someone interested in the Jonestown Massacre along with my reply.

I stumbled apon your writings about the jonestown tradgedy while preforming my own personal research and I have to say that I found your writings to be incredibly moving and captivating. I would like to purchase a copy of your book, but above that I just wanted to extend my own apreciation for your writing personally. Thank you for your words not just about the tradgedy, but about PTSD victims everywhere. Thank you for your contribution and I think you should write a screenplay about everything you wrote about in your article on the site.

SRA Graham C Walden
Aircraft Fuel Systems Repair Journeyman
Al Udeid AB, Qata


Mr. Walden,

Thank you for the kind words. Unfortunately, my book, published in 1998,is out-of-print. It is for sale used, on, but the price is usually very high. I have written a revision of The Ghosts of November which has about 50% new material, photos, footnotes, a map and diagram and it hopefully will be published next year. I am seeking an agent right now.

I have started a blogsite called The Ghosts of November which I am using to promote the book as well as a tool to show literary agents I am querying that there remains a great deal of interest in the Jonestown Tragedy.

I hope you will visit the blog, sign the guest book and participate in the forum. If I get enough hits, I think it will get the agents' attention. If not, I am committed to getting it published even if I self-publish again.

Thanks again for the encouraging words. I will place your email on the blog.


Jeff Brailey

Friday, April 27, 2007

My Reply to Ms. Fine's Reply

I decided to go ahead and reply to Ms. Fine. Let's see where this leads to. There may be a book, or at least a magazine article in this.

Here is the reply to the reply:

Ms Fine,

I am sure I can keep sales up, especially if I am able to find an agent who can light a fire under a publisher to get the book out before November 2008. Currently, I work in Nigeria West Africa, 28 days on and 28 days off, which gives me about a month every other month to market. Fortunately, my contract will be up the summer of 2008 and if the book gets published I plan to market it full time for the first six months to year. I have made a ton of money overseas so can afford to take time off, which I planned to do anyway, if I don't retire from that line of work and start writing full time.

I do well on radio talk shows and will get an ad in Radio & Television Interview magazine and I also have a database of media and bookstores, particularly black bookstores where this book will do well.

My wife is a journalist/author who at this very moment is pitching her novel at the Algonkian Writers Conference in NYC. I just returned from the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs and return to Africa tomorrow. Since I only had three weeks off this time, that only gave us one weekend together, but we both are very invested in the writing process. As I said in my e-mail, I do have two other projects I am prepared to begin.

If you need any other information, feel free to ask. WL does not seem to be like most literary agencies I am familiar with. Does it work along the same lines as a traditional agency?

Thanks for your prompt reply to my query. I am looking forward to finding an agent so we can begin the process of pitching to a publisher.


Jeff Brailey

Sherry Fine - VP of Acquisitions <> wrote:
4000 sales is good/great.. can you keep that going?

Beware of False Agents

Warning to unagented writers: Some purported agents are not what they say they are. Take the WRITERS LITERARY AGENCY for example,

Its website says it is an agency and it looks like an agency.

A person who calls herself "Sherry Fine - VP of Acquisitions" sent me a hopeful email the day after I sent my query. Her reply and the submission form from her website I used to send my query on follows:

From: "Sherry Fine - VP of Acquisitions" Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
Subject: RE: WL Lit Self-Pub Form Submission
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 12:11:10 -0400

4000 sales is good/great.. can you keep that going?

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by
( on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at 20:26:02

FormSource: CLA

FormDate: 4/25/2007

Name: Jeff Brailey

How Did You Hear of Us: Google

Title of Work: The Ghosts of November

Length of Work: 65,000 words

Marketing Focus: Blacks, especially in California and the midwest,
veterans and military, academicians in the areas of religion, sociology,
psychology, people in the business of death, people in law enforcement

Who Published and When: originally self-published 1998. Revised with
50% new material 2007.

How Many Copies: 4000, 4800+ sold

Marketing Done: The best marketing was radio talk shows. also spoke at
seminars/meetings and did signings at book stores and conventions

NYP-Bio: Jeff Brailey is a retired career soldier who served 20 years
as a medic in the U.S. Army. He served as public affairs specialist to Army
units to which he was assigned from 1972 to 1988. Since his retirement 18
years ago from the armed forces, he has served as a child protective services
specialist in Guadalupe County, Texas, and as a safety officer on oil
drilling rigs and construction barges in the Gulf of Mexico, Bahrain
and off the coast of Nigeria, West Africa. Jeff also has been the chief
operating officer of a skilled home health agency, women’s health boutique and
medical clinic, advertising copywriter for a large automobile dealership,
evidence photographer for a company that provides security to companies with
labor problems, and telemarketer.

He also was a homeless derelict for almost six years. This was not an
experiment to obtain color for a news story, Jeff was the genuine
article. In 2004, he overcame a gambling addiction and in 2005, began working as
a safety consultant in Nigeria, West Africa. He is the only person he
knows who went from living on the streets to earning a six-figure income in a
period of less than two years.

Despite the roller coaster quality of his life, Jeff Brailey has always
been a writer. He has been a stringer for more than 20 years, his news and
feature stories appearing in nearly a dozen newspapers, including the
Sunday Oklahoman, Lawton Constitution, and Panama Star Herald in Panama
City, Panama. In 1999, while homeless, he penned a monthly column for
the San Antonio Express-News.

I have plans for two more nonfiction books

If you studied Sherry Fine's website and you are familiar with typical literary agency websites, two glaring differences smack you in the face, if not the first time you look at it, the second. First, there is no listing and bio of agents, author clients or published books. Second, there is no street address or telephone number given for the agency. That made me do a Google search on Ms. Fine. The ressults were interesting. The most telling was at MAN BYTES HOLLYWOOD -- <>.

Now, I am not going to say Sherry Fine is a scammer and fraud, but she certainly appears to be. Has anyone else had any dealings with her our one of her apparently fraudulent agencies?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Still Seeking an Agent

I've received a rejection from the agent I pitched to this weekend. I am a little disappointed, I really liked her. She's an extremely nice person who led a few workshops I attended. But if she feels a work doesn't seem right for her, that's the way it goes. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of good agents out there and I will find the one suited for me.

I do appreciate the prompt reply this agent provided me and the positive tack she took in her rejection e-mail. Here is what she said::

Dear Jeff,

It was such a pleasure to meet you this weekend!
Thanks for sending THE GHOSTS OF NOVEMBER (great
title!) to me. I regret that after a careful read
yesterday I'm going to be passing on the book. I
think this is interesting (and have since I did a
report on Jonestown many years ago for school!) but it
just doesn't feel like a fit for my list. I think
you'd do well to try and match up with an agent who
has a strong true crime/mystery list for example (no
names come to mind, but there are many!)

I hope you'll keep me in mind for other projects down
the line and I send you my warmest wishes for your
success with it!


So this evening, after calling my wife, who happens to be in the Big Apple pitching her novel tomorrow, I sent another proposal to another agent. Most accept, even prefer, corresponding by e-mail so responses are much quicker now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jonestown Relics

I received this e-mail from a fellow Jonestown researcher the other day:

Sorry to send out another mass email....but I ran across this item on ebay.....seller says it was in JTOWN.......if we can verify this, I'd like to pursue keeping it out of the hands of someone who wants it for all the wrong reasons.
Thanks for your help. Hope you are all well.

My reply was:


When we arrived back in the Canal Zone after the massacre, all the participants in the task force were called in to CID and interrogated. We were read our rights and asked about any items we may have taken from J-Town. A microscope turned up and everything from brochures to buttons with Jones' face on them were brought in. I never saw the dog, nor do I believe anything was sold from the "Jim Jones estate in Guyana." IMHO, this is a scam.

And Dave Wise, former Peoples Temple member and pastor of the temple in Los Angeles had the following to add:

Of course, anyone who has offered their name as a contact invites all kinds of superfluous and misdirected queries. I am contacted by people who offer me money for things that belonged to JJ. I do not respond. I
would hate to hear about a murder being committed by some mass killer
psycho (or an average American who has been watching too much TV) with an
item or bolstered by an item that used to belong to JJ... or some such

The last odd email I got was from some idiot that asked if I had any
personal items from Jim. I told him, a belt, a watch, a black leisure
suit, and a couple other things. He then offered me a couple thousand for
the watch which he wanted to make into an amulet or some such. I did not
respond after that.

I suppose any survivor has an opportunity to sell fake stuff if they
wanted to. I used to cut prayer cloths out of red cloth with scissors for
Jim. How much do you think I should ask a piece for a box full of old
prayer cloths? Doesn't matter, people usually want stuff from Jim to
empower their desire to control others or to do evil. So I am not

That may be why it is such a nuisance to some others as well.
Still it is a good service for survivors and associates to stay on top of
what "outsiders" might make up or fabricate in the name of PT, this goes
on a lot, and at it's worst history itself is fabricated.

Dave Wise

Anyone who knows about cults or cult activities revolving around Jonestown relics, please contact me at this blog.

Thanks, Jeff

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hi There

I consider myself very fortunate. Despite the fact I'm going on 60 years of age and have had my share of adversity, I am still standing. I have had Parkinson's disease for about 11 years, was told three years ago if I did not undergo a quintuple coronary artery bypass, I would have a heart attack, stroke or die within three months (I didn't have the surgery and still live) and have various and sundry aches and pains. I lived as a homeless derelict for almost six years, am a non-practicing compulsive gambler, and have been thrice married and twice divorced. I still haven't let life's lows get me down.

I do have some accomplishments I am very proud of, the biggest of which was the publication of THE GHOSTS OF NOVEMBER in 1998. Although it was self-published, the book was a success. Out-of-print, you can still find used copies offered on for many times the book's retail price. As much of a highlight this achievement was in my life, the two year rewrite and revision I just completed, adding fifty percent new material, including photos, maps and footnotes is one I am almost as proud of.

Last week, I went to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs, seeking representation from one of the literary agents who were there. I was fortunate enough to have a pitch session with one and she wanted to see my book proposal. I finally had my foot in the door!

This is the first step in a manuscript becoming a real book. As this process continues, you are invited to return to this blog on a regular basis to view progress from conception to birth. I will update the readers on problems with false labor and other setbacks and any doctoring (editing) that needs to be performed so the baby is born without any defects.

In the meantime, I'll post news and correspondence that will be related to the book and the Jonestown Massacre as we move closer to the 30th anniversary of the horrific event. I shall solicit your comments, contributions, critiques and questions. Any special events I have will be posted and I hope you will inform me of events you learn of. I hope you will join me.