If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


July Interviews

7/07 Leslie Budewitz, Carried To The Grave, And Other Stories
7/14 Sujata Massey, The Bombay Prince
7/21 Ginger Bolton, Beyond a Reasonable Donut
7/28 Meri Allen/Shari Randall, The Rocky Road to Ruin


Saturday WWK Bloggers

7/10 Jennifer J. Chow

7/17 What We're Reading Now! WWK Bloggers

7/24 Kait Carson

7/31 Write Your Way Out of This! WWK Bloggers



Guest Blogs

7/3 M K Morgan













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Warren Bull's short story, "Just Another Day at the Office" appears in the anthology, Red, White, and Blue available this month by Whortleberry Press. Congratulations, Warren!


E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez. It will be released on June 21st.


Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).


Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!


Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.


Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.


Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!


Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.


KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!


Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!

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Sunday, June 13, 2021

SECRETS TO A “BIG FIVE” PUBLISHING DEAL by Korina Moss

 

 



Many writers who want to be traditionally published dream of a BIG contract with a BIG advance at a BIG house. The “Big Five,” as they’re known, include Macmillan, HarperCollins, Hachette, Penguin Random House, and Simon and Schuster. (This is soon to become the “Big Four” with Penguin Random House set to buy Simon and Schuster.) My three-book deal is with Macmillan, so let me share the secret to getting your own “Big Five” contract.

 

The secret is that there is no secret. Unfortunately, there’s also no checklist to follow and no guarantees. If you speak with fifty traditionally published authors, you will probably get fifty different stories of their path to publication. However, some portions of our stories overlap, from which you may glean some helpful insight. To that end, here’s my story.

 

I’d been working on my mystery book for a while (read: years) when I attended a cozy mystery authors chat/book signing at a local library. The authors were interesting and informative, and because they indulged my incessant questioning, I was able to revise my book with a better focus toward the genre. I also realized how important it was to connect with other mystery writers, especially ones who are where you aspire to be. By joining Sisters in Crime and finding authors on Facebook, I stepped a little further into the self-dubbed circle of knowledge.

 

My first lesson learned: The act of writing is a solitary endeavor, but being a writer is not. You need a community, and lucky for us, the mystery writing community is very encouraging and supportive. When I started writing back in the nineties (or the “olden days” as my teenager likes to call it), there was very little access to information about the publishing world. There were some books and magazines, but basically it was like being Dorothy in this strange land of Oz with the publishing business playing the role of the Wizard. It was a scary unknown entity which remained firmly behind the curtain.

 

Nowadays, the internet affords us blogs (like Writers Who Kill), podcasts, Facebook groups, agent twitter accounts, etc. which help us to pull back the curtain and see there’s nothing magical behind it—there are real people doing their own difficult jobs. Writing is creative, but publishing is a business. The more access we have to publishers, editors, agents, and published authors, the more we can understand what it takes to get published. I began to realize I had dozens of mentors at my fingertips. Getting published shifted from a dream to a goal.

 

When I was at a crossroads and had to decide between pursuing a writing career or taking a more assured path in another field, one of my newfound published author friends suggested I hire a freelance editor to read my manuscript. On the spectrum of rejection letters, I had gotten several “good” rejections, meaning agents asked to read the entire manuscript or even asked me to revise and resubmit, but ultimately still passed. I no longer could tell if my story was being improved by all my revisions. So I took my friend’s advice and hired a highly recommended editor. Hiring a good editor does not come cheap (nor should it for their expertise and the time they put into our manuscripts). This was an investment in myself. The developmental edit would reveal how close or how far I was to having a manuscript that an agent would say yes to. It would also be my deciding factor in whether attempting a writing career would be the risk I take or not.

 

The editor’s feedback was akin to taking a private master class in mystery writing. She also told me everything I did right and was extremely encouraging about my work. It was exactly what I needed to go forth with renewed energy and confidence. I worked hard to fix the issues in the manuscript that she’d pointed out and I confidently submitted it to three more agents. Much to my disappointment, it still came back with rejections. This time, however, I was confident in my work, so instead of tinkering with the manuscript again, I decided to take a different approach to how I would query agents. And that made all the difference.

 

In next month’s blog post, I’ll continue my path to publication story, and tell you about my success at pitching to agents and the whirlwind weeks that ensued.

 

Shout-outs go to members of “my community” mentioned in this post:

 

The freelance editor mentioned who is also an award-winning short story writer:

Barb Goffman http://www.barbgoffman.com/editing-services.html

 

The authors mentioned who were so helpful to me early on:

Liz Mugavero (who also writes as Cate Conte) https://cateconte.com/

Barbara Ross https://barbararossauthor.com/

Edith Maxwell (who also writes as Maddie Day) https://edithmaxwell.com/

Susannah Hardy (who also writes as Sadie Hartwell) https://sadiehartwell.com/

 

The library mentioned, which is one of my favorites:

Windsor Locks Public Library https://www.windsorlockslibrary.org/

 

Having a helping community isn’t writing specific. Is there any person or organization you’d like to give a shout-out to who has helped you reach your goals?


11 comments:

Jennifer J. Chow said...

What a fascinating post, Korina! Can't wait to read more of your story next time. I agree that community is so very important. I owe a debt of gratitude to Sisters in Crime and also to fellow mystery writer Naomi Hirahara.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Thanks for your blog, Korina. I found Midwest Writers Workshop at Ball State in Muncie invaluable as a newbie starting out.

Jim Jackson said...

Too many people/organizations to mention them all, so I'll just shout out my first critique group: The Cincinnati Writers Project. Without them, I never would have succeeded.

KM Rockwood said...

The support of the mystery writing community is so important. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

Kait said...

Definitely Sisters in Crime, Guppies, the Gulf Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime. As one of my former blogmates used to tag her posts, it's all better with friends.

Tammy Euliano said...

Hurry up and post part 2!!!! I'm still on the "rejection" phase

Korina Moss said...

LOL, Tammy! Keep an eye out in July. And I hope it helps!

Barb Goffman said...

I'm so happy I was able to play a role in your journey, Korina. I still believe in that manuscript of yours that hasn't sold--yet! I've read many manuscripts over the years, and that book is certainly worthy of publication.

As to my journey, I would not be a published author or make my living as a freelance editor if it weren't for the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime. My first published short story was in an anthology open to chapter members. It was nominated for the Agatha Award, and that gave me the confidence to keep going. And the friends who encouraged me to open my own business, who had seen my editing (of Chesapeake Crimes anthologies) and convinced me I could make a living at this, were all in my chapter: Donna Andrews, Karen Cantwell, and Sherry Harris. I raise a toast of thanks to them.

Korina Moss said...

I love this thread of appreciation!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Running late, but I wanted to post a response: you nailed it. I don't think any of us would succeed without the networking and support from other authors, friends, and family.

Daniel Paul said...
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