sly : marketing

The presentation of my first novel

I am writing a novel, and I am almost ready to send it to agents and publishers. I have been writing for about eight months. The first two months (August and September) was all dedicated to the novel. But I didn’t do much writing at that time, it was mostly notes and a creative process. Starting October 1st, I have been writing two days a week for about six months.

Today I am presenting a short description of my debut novel to you. I would appreciate it if you leave a comment and tell me what you think.

The name of the book is “The Imitator” (imitatoren in Norwegian).

imitatoren - the novel

The language

I am writing the novel in Norwegian. I know the market is a lot bigger for english books, but, I am norwegian and I write norwegian a lot better than english. I want my first novel to be in a language I feel that I control.

It’s a lot harder to explain the novel in English than I thought it would be. But I will do my best.

The story

The story is located in Halden, a small town, in the south of Norway, by the border to Sweden (the town where I live).

Henry, an enormous man with a mental disorder, can’t remember anything from the past. He has been locked up in a mental institution for the past 15 years because of a murder he can’t remember he committed. Due to a severe head injury, he lacks his memory, and his eyes needs to stay in the dark. He has been surrounded by complete darkness for the past 15 years.

The body of the man Henry is believed of killing was never found. Henry keeps talking about the murder as if he is the killer, because that’s what he is dreaming.

Henry’s psychiatrist is the little brother of the missing man. The psychiatrist is doing everything in his power to find out what happened and to find the body of his brother. He decides to try one last thing, and listen to the advice of Asbjorn, Henry’s neighbor in the mental institution.

Asbjorn was a painting teacher at the local high school in Halden. Asbjorn suggests that one of his old students, a former Norwegian olympic gold medalist in swimming, Jonathan Winter, can help Henry remember the past.

Jonathan Winter is an imitator, or at least he was twenty years ago, when Asbjorn was his teacher. Jonathan’s imitation skills will according to Asbjorn help Henry to understand his dreams of killing and will help Henry to remember. According to Asbjorn it’s all about the voices of the past.

Natalja Anikin, is a Russian girl and an illegal immigrant. She has been in Norway for the past 13 years. Natalja Anikin has been hiding since she was 13 years old. Now, at 26, she has just published a book about her life in Norway as a refugee, and how she managed to escape from Russia and travel to Norway. The co-author of the book is celebrity author and filmmaker Oystein Karlsen from Halden, the same town where Henry and Asbjorn lives.

A few days after the release of her book, Natalja Anikin enters an apartment in Oslo. The apartment explodes. The day after the explosion, the co-author of the book, is found dead, naked and painted yellow.

Henry, still locked up, and surrounded by complete darkness is dreaming about the murders before they happen, just like the murder 15 years ago. Now, he shares his next dream; a woman being killed, stripped naked and painted in red. The murder will happen today, and in his dreams Henry is still the killer.

The death of Natalja Anikin and her co-author makes the front page of every newspaper in Norway. The cops don’t know where to start the investigation. Nothing seems to happen until the murder receives the attention of Alf Jakobsen, a former journalist, drug addict, and member of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Your opinion?

Remember, this was just a short description. So far, I have written 122,000 words. It’s hard to explain everything in just a few sentences.

I would love to read your opinion. I tried to explain a brief part of the novel, and I did it in English (although the novel is in Norwegian). Hopefully, the novel is a lot better than what it looks like from what you’ve read so far (I promise you that I will do a better job of describing the plot to a publisher) 🙂

40 responses to “The presentation of my first novel”

  1. Adrienne says:

    I LOVE suspense stories Jens…

    So you gave us some overall ideas of who the characters are and where this kind of starts out. I would be interested in reading the book, in English! LOL!!! Yep, we can’t help that a lot of your admirers are from the US.

    I enjoy suspense novels because I try to figure it all out in my head as I go along. I can’t wait to hear how things go for you and congratulations on your first novel. That takes so much time and dedication. You are to be admired for that.

    Those are my thoughts and hope it was helpful. Good luck..


    • Hi Adrienne,

      Thanks a lot for your kind words. You never know, maybe it will be translated into English as well 🙂

      I love suspense as well, and that’s exactly why my first novel is about a serial killer.

      Thanks again.

  2. Pdot says:

    It sounds very interesting and, I can see where it may have a lot of interesting twist and turns.
    I am also an author and working on my first novel about life in and around a small town, Texas funeral home (working title, “Standing in Doorways”).
    I wish you the best of luck and remember:
    “It is better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” ~ Cyrill Connolly

    • jens says:

      That’s awesome. Is it something like six feet under? I have never watched the TV show, but I have heard a lot of good things about it. And I really like your title.

      Great quote… good luck to you as well 🙂

  3. Kristin says:

    Hi Jens, Thank you for sharing your work. I am intriqued by the story so far and would love to know how this unfolds and what is occuring in Henry’s mind.

    All the best with your publisher and hope you get given the feedback you require.

    Well done on the effort.

    • jens says:

      Hi Kristin,

      Thanks a lot. It’s so much easier for me to explain the story in Norwegian, but I am glad you found it interesting. I will keep you updated about what happens with my marketing efforts regarding the publishers.

      Thanks again.

  4. Alexandre Horn says:

    Great idea Jeans, congratulations! I’m also thinking a write a e-book e publish in my site, you is my inspiration in things what eu make, you is a guy cool! Sucess for your novel! Horn, Alexandre.

  5. Young Yang says:

    Congratulations and look forward to the whole story published.

    • jens says:

      Thanks a lot Young. I will let you know when it happens, and I will keep you posted when it comes to how I market the story in order to get the publishers interested as well 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your comment.

  6. Catherine says:

    Your story outline is intriguing and makes me interested in reading the book. Congratulations on writing your first novel, and best wishes to you in getting it published. It sounds like a winning suspense thriller.

    • jens says:

      Hi Catherine,

      Thanks a lot. I am the only one who have read the novel so far, but I hope people will find it interesting.

      I have also tried to add many twists and turns 🙂

      Thanks again.

  7. Erin says:

    I believe you are on to something here. Being an American (not just an English speaker) I know that having Henry’s psychiatrist be the younger brother of the missing man wouldn’t really fly in the US because it would be seen as a conflict of interest, unethical, etc., UNLESS it was done in secrecy which could be part of your plot. I suppose if the patient (Henry) wanted to have that doctor it could be okay. So, that’s just a plausibility thing…so maybe you can have the little brother go by his mother’s maiden name or something. Could be just a little thing.
    Anyway, it sounds like it will be a great read and I congratulate you on the undertaking. Suspense is hard! I hope it can be published in English…I’ll never learn enough Norwegian to read a novel!

    God Bless.


    • jens says:

      Hi Erin,

      Thanks a lot for the great advice. I haven’t thought about the conflict of interest part, but thanks to you, I will include it.

      (I am not sure how this is in Norway, but I will do some research)

      Thanks again.

  8. jens says:

    Thanks a lot. I really want this novel to be a success, and I won’t stop until it is 🙂

  9. Peter Joseph says:

    That’s impressive that you’ve got your novel into the final stages and it’s all good to go. I remember hearing about it way back when you first started, and i started on mine.

    Awesome effort, I’ve had to hold back on working on mine because of school work, i still write whenever holidays come around though. I’ll be expecting a second novel then if all goes well 😉

    The stories looking great so far, and i like Erin’s point about the conflict of interests.

    • Hi Peter,

      Thanks a lot. I have no idea how it will turn out when I contact the publishers and the agents, but I have a good feeling 🙂

      I am looking forward to read your novels. I’m also going to start writing a second novel, hopefully I’ll be starting in September. I just have to finish this one first..

      Thanks a lot for the comment.

  10. Ronny says:

    Denne novellen fikk jeg lyst til å lese utfra beskrivelsen, så da må du jo ha gjort noe riktig 🙂

    Lykke til med å få den publisert.

    This presentation got me to want to read the rest, so you must have done something right 🙂

    Good luck with getting it published.


    • jens says:

      Hei Ronny,

      Tusen takk. Jeg kommer med en beskrivelse på norsk om ikke alt for lenge også, og den blir forhåpentligvis enda bedre og mer detaljert. Vurderer også å lage en egen blogg for boken i forhold til historien og markedsføringen av den mot forlagene.

      Tusen takk for kommentaren.

      – Jens

  11. Sathishkumar says:

    Looks like we are all set to read a thriller. Well, to be honest, I love thriller’s and I am a great fan of Dan Brown and Nelson Demille. Hope I will add your name to this list very soon.

    Just send that to my way, when you are ready with it. Watching out for it.


    • jens says:

      Hi Sathish,

      Thanks a lot. I hope I will be on your list as well 🙂

      I’ll let you know what’s going to happen next…

      – Jens

  12. Jens, let me just say the plot sounds interesting and very original….and I’m stoked for you brother. Good luck finding a publisher….that can be a big challenge, but I’m sure you’ll end up with what you’re looking for.

    Have a great week!


    • jens says:

      Hi Marcus,

      Thanks a lot. It’s going to be an interesting journey finding a publisher. I have no idea how difficult it’s going to be. But, I am going to get one, that’s for sure. I won’t give up until I have one 🙂

      – Jens

  13. Riley Harrison says:

    Hi Jens,
    Good luck on your 1st novel. The publishing industry is an incredibly competitive environment so don’t let a few rejections get you down. One of my friends suffered through 400 rejections before being published and now the movie rights
    to her books are sold before her books goes to print. So hang in there for the long haul.

    • Hi Riley,

      Thanks a lot. I have no idea how to approach the publishing industry, but I am focusing 100% in order to learn. And I am not giving up before my novel is published.

      Wow, 400 rejections. I am hoping that mine will get published before I get to that number 🙂

      Thanks a lot for the comment.

      – Jens

  14. Christina Crowe says:

    Wow, Jens! I’m really impressed with the story so far. The plot is definitely interesting (I’ve never heard anything like it!), and I love how the characters are all interconnected in some way.

    Too bad the story isn’t in English though – I would have liked to read it! Sadly, my Norwegian skills are below par. =/

    Good luck with finding a publisher Jens! Awesome work. 🙂


    • Hi Christina,

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry that the novel is not in English, maybe my next will be, just so you can read it 🙂

      I am almost finished, hopefully just a few more days now. And then it’s time for marketing. I am not sure how I am going to approach the publishers, but I’ll think of something and I’ll be sure to cover everything on my blog.

      Thanks again for your kind words and support.

  15. Ricardo Nuñez says:

    Congrats Jens. This is awesome.
    To be honest, that’s really mean because now I want to read it all =)
    Have you heard about Amazon Kindle Single?
    You can write short stories and self publish it. It may help you get some feedback and some readers. It can help to build a brand as a writer. Make a few bucks in the process, because you make more money on it.

    Congrats again and good luck. I hope you find a publisher soon.

    • jens says:

      Hi Ric,

      Thanks a lot. I like that you thought I was mean, but that’s only because it meant that the plot for my novel is fairly good 🙂

      I haven’t heard of Amazon Kindle Single, but I am definitively going to read more about it. It sounds like something I should try.

      Thanks again for your support Ric, it means a lot to me. I’ll let you know as soon as I have more information about the novel and a publisher.

  16. Lori Gosselin says:

    Hi Jens,
    It sounds riveting! Did you really make that up? Wow! Will you be publishing in English? I’d love to read it but I understand that you want to do it in your native tongue.
    All the best with it – keep us posted!
    P.S. And yes, as Ricardo said, check out Kindle Publishing.

    • jens says:

      Hi Lori,

      Yes, I have made everything up 🙂

      I’m not going to publish it in English, at least not yet. But, I would love to get it translated.

      I’m going to check out Kindle Publishing, but I’m first waiting for some feedback from the publisher, before I do anything on my own.

      Thanks a lot for your fantastic comment and support.


  17. Srini says:

    Hi Jens,
    I wish to first congratulate you on completing a full length novel. Maybe you should consider writing in English. My comments –
    1. The story develops nicely. Perhaps too many coincidences? Should the Psychiatrist be the brother? Does it tie with the ending?
    2. There is lots, lots, lots more to publishing than just writing. 1, 22,000 odd words novel is way too much. Publishers will not accept such a long novel. This is all the more true for an unknown debut writer. For a mystery, suspense, thriller genre, 80,000 words would be more like it. If you want reasons for this I will go into details later.
    3. You have not said which genre it belongs to? Depending on the style it can even be a literary fiction. Your choice of genre is important because agents specialize in specific genre and will take up representation accordingly.
    4. If you are not writing literary fiction, you might as well choose English as the writing medium. You have a great fan following and this will help you find an agent. You can tell your agent that you can sell 1000 copies using your own strength. Any agent/publisher will grab this opportunity.
    5. It can work other way around also. You get published in Norwegian and then get into English saying you are already a published author. You have to work out a strategy.
    I am sure you would contemplate on these issues. It is good that you have sought opinion from others. You will get lots of good ideas from all of us.
    Best wishes and keep us posted on the developments. I have ghostwritten a book on self-publishing (due to NDA I can’t give more details) and I know a bit about the subject.
    Did I hear that you have already been approached by a publisher? If so congrats and delete my comment.

    • jens says:

      Hi Srini,

      Thanks a lot for your long and brilliant comment.

      I have to admit, I know very little about the publishing industry. In fact, I don’t know much about genres either. I just write, and when a story comes to my mind, I just keep writing until I’m finished. That’s what I did. As soon as I was finished I sent it to the publisher.

      In Norway, probably because we’re a very small country, we don’t have the same set of rules as other larger countries. For instance, we hardly have a single agent. I have been searching for agents in Norway and I have been visiting various discussion forums and reading about how agents operate. The only answer I have received is that it’s no such thing in Norway.

      I have been approach by a publisher and the man said that they were interested, and I’m very happy about it. I don’t know what that means though, but hopefully it means that the next call will be about developing the story and working together on the project.

      I wrote the book in Norwegian, mainly because Norwegian is my main language and I write a lot better in Norwegian. But, my next novel might be in English 😉

      Thanks again for your brilliant comment.


      • Srini says:

        Hi Jens,
        Keep us posted on how your publishing story develops. It would be an interesting read. Of course, best wishes from me.


        • jens says:

          I will update you as soon as I get more information from the publisher. Right now the only thing I know is that I’m going to get a phone call in about two weeks 🙂

  18. greg cryns says:


    Yesterday I watched a very interesting BookTV show. The author on the show is Ben Mezrich, who is a very hot property these days. He told about how he wrote nine novels before he sold his first. He said you need to learn to welcome the rejections as surely they will come in great numbers.

    But he never gave up. Now he is successful:

    Newest book: Sex on the Moon
    *The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
    *Busting Vegas: A True Story of Monumental Excess, Sex, Love, Violence, and Beating the Odds
    *Rigged: The True Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, from Wall Street to Dubai

    to name a few.


    • jens says:

      Hi Greg,

      Wow, that’s amazing. Do you know if he did any editing after he got the rejections, or did he sell the other books after he got famous?

      I’m doing my best editing my first novel, and I’m still as enthusiastic about the process as when I started. I won’t quit no matter what 🙂

      Thanks a lot for the inspiration.


  19. Tahlia Newland says:

    Sounds like a good story. I think you had better cut it back to less than 100,000 words though, especially for a debut novel. A tight book is a good book.

    • Jens says:

      Hi Tahlia,

      Thanks a lot for your kind words. I have been thinking about cutting back in order to get it less than 100,000 words, but that’s going to be difficult. At the moment I’m up to 145,000 words, but I absolutely agree that a thighs book is a good book 🙂

      And, I’m going to keep working on it, and maybe I’ll find ways to keep it shorter.


  20. Sergio Felix says:

    Hey Jens,

    I just stumbled into this article and what can I say… I’m speechless!

    This story could be turned into an AMAZING movie.

    Hope you’re able to publish it on this year (2012) and hopefully deliver it on English too (I don’t think I can learn Norwegian anytime soon)

    All the best!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe: rss | email | twitter | +