Thursday brings us answers to another question submitted by you! This week’s winner is Jane Squires! She asks: “How hard was it to get your first book published?”
For submitting her question, Jane’s won a copy of Dr. RichardMabry’s book, MIRACLE DRUG!
If you have a question for us, leave it below. You might be our next winner! You could win a book by one of today’s top suspense/mystery writers – or a gift certificate to Amazon! (Questions submitted without contact information won’t be considered.)
How difficult was it to get a contract for my first novel? So difficult that I quit writing. One agent gave up on me (Her exact words were, “I don’t know what to do with your work, Richard.”) After writing four books over four years, garnering forty rejections, and losing an agent in the process…I quit. But I kept following some of the writing blogs, and I decided to enter the contest run by an agentI knew. Eventually, she offered representation, sold my novel to Barbara Scott, who was getting Abingdon’s fiction line started, and the stone started rolling in the right direction. My ninth novel was published in September, my tenth is due next spring. It’s timing, circumstances, hard work, and God’s will—I have no other explanation.
My first contract came about by unusual circumstances. I entered my first cozy mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, into a contest, won first place in the inspirational category and obtained my first agent. That agent sold a 3-book series to Barbour Publishing. That first contract was given to me at the 2007 ACFW conference. This all happened in less than six months. It was a whirlwind, roller-coaster ride, and I've never looked back.
Cynthia Hickey (Melton)
I think the answer to this question is relative and depends. My first book is a traditionally published book with Heartsong Presents. It took years me years to acclimate to the publishing climate--learn to write a well-crafted novel and then I had to target a publisher and meet with editors editors at conferences. So "hard" is a relative term. It can take quite long to learn how to write well and then pursue your dreams, again, if we're talking traditional publication.
My first book was picked up through the ACFW loop, believe it or not. I posted something asking if there was a market for sweet cozies and Susan Downs was just started a line for Heartsong. She contracted my book and the next two. It was harder to sell to Love Inspired, because my style was too quirky and humorous. I had to do quite a bit of tinkering before they took on my first LIS book. :)
It was hard to find a publisher who would take a chance on an unknown writer, but one night online, I stumbled over one that seemed to be an ideal fit and resolved to send an inquiry the next day. Imagine my dismay when I opened their website the following morning and found that applications were closed! I'd missed the deadline by a few hours!
In desperation, I confess that I sent in a SNAIL mail query--giving it my very best and hoping they'd cut me a little slack--and the publisher responded with a request for the manuscript! That bit of subterfuge got me in under the door, so to speak, and Sheaf House is now the publisher of my Miss Prentice series. (I don't recommend that method, however, despite my own happy ending.)
My first three books were published through small presses. It wasn’t that hard, but those books weren’t my best. My first book with a larger publisher took more work. I hard to learn exactly what they were looking for and gear my story that way. Also, I learned how to write a proposal. But I’m happy to say they that Barbour Publishing bought my first cozy mystery, In the Dead of Winter. I’ve been writing steadily ever since.