My Publishing Journey: A Change of Direction

1530In my previous posts in this series [The First Cut is the Deepest; Calling All Agents], I addressed my hunt for an agent. Having invested the better part of a year with little to show for my efforts, by the end of 2013, I knew it was time to take a different approach. Determining what—and who—that meant was the next step in my journey.

As luck would have it, in February 2014, The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) was presenting a one-day Publishing 2.0 Workshop at Ryerson University in Toronto. I’m not a member of TWUC (to be eligible, you need at least one published novel), but the seminar was open to non-members. The presenters were award-winning author Caroline Adderson, presenting the Traditional Path to Publication, and traditionally published and self-published award-winning author Mary W. Walters, speaking to the growing practice of Independent Publication. I signed up.

The experience was invaluable. Caroline Adderson covered working with an agent; keys to a successful submission; contract terms for print and electronic rights; working with an in-house editor; involvement in the publishing process; and working with an in-house publicist. Mary W. Walters covered options for funding, including crowdsourcing; print on demand and e-book formats; being your own editor or hiring an editor; managing your digital rights; the importance of metadata; doing the design work; pricing and selling/distribution; and self-promotion.

While Mary W. Walters made a convincing argument for self-publishing, my heart was still set on getting accepted in the traditional manner. Caroline Adderson’s suggestion of searching for a small press publisher, versus trying for an agent as a newbie writer, resonated. Especially since this callout had just been posted on the Sisters in Crime Guppies Yahoo Digest: Barking Rain Press is open for submissions through the month of February 2014. It had been quickly followed up with this post by author James M. Jackson: If anyone is interested in Barking Rain Press we have a number of Guppies who have published with them: Ricky Bush, Edith Maxwell (writing as Tace Baker), Kaye George and me. Feel free to ask any one of us questions if you have them. Jim.

And that’s the wonderful thing about belonging to an association of like-minded folks. I’d already taken Jim up on his offer, and emailed him, Ricky, Edith and Kaye. To a person, their experience with Barking Rain Press had been positive.

I was equally impressed with BRP’s website, which offers free four-chapter previews of all of their books and a lot of information on the company’s philosophy and processes. Convinced I’d found the right home for The Hanged Man’s Noose, I proceeded to their Submission Guidelines. In my next post, I’ll share my journey, from submission to acceptance.

Stay tuned! And if you get a chance, check out the books by the authors mentioned in this post, as well as the many other authors represented by Barking Rain Press. You won’t be disappointed.

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20 responses to “My Publishing Journey: A Change of Direction

  1. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks for taking the time to read it, Kristina. I’m looking forward to reading about your journey as well.

  2. Kristina Stanley

    Thanks for sharing your publishing journey. It helps to read what other authors are doing to get their work into the world. Maybe Grace can mail me a crystal ball, just to borrow, if she’s hiding one somewhere. I could use one too.

  3. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Grace for taking the time to read and comment. Maybe it’s better we don’t have a crystal ball. At least that way, we’re following our hearts (battered as they do get, now and again)!

  4. Grace Topping

    Thank you, Judy, for sharing your experiences with us. It’s almost like you need a crystal ball to see what each direction holds for you as a writer. If you hold out for larger publishers…. If you decide to go with a small publisher…. It sure is frustrating not knowing what is the best route to go.

  5. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Carol. I hope my journey helps others, a least a little bit and that it also introduces some great authors.

  6. Thank you for sharing all this information, Judy. A lot of super great links on your post that will keep me busy! 🙂

  7. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Jim. And I really do love your Seamus McCree series!

  8. Thanks for your kind mention, Judy. More thanks for being one of the fans of the Seamus McCree mysteries. I appreciate all the help you’ve given and continue to give me and my books.

  9. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Edith!

  10. Thanks for the shoutout, Judy, and so glad you found a publishing home for your book!

  11. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Sheri! I’m ready 🙂

  12. eightpawswriting

    Thanks, Judy! It’s very exciting getting your book out and sharing it with others!! I was told my life would be changed forever, and it has!! But it has been a great change– enjoy the ride. Sheri

  13. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks so much Sheri. Folks: you might want to check out and her YA book, Seven Days to Goodbye.

  14. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Gillian. I think to get traditionally published, you have to be determined.It is not for the faint of heart!

  15. eightpawswriting

    Congrats Judy. Your route sounds similar to mine. I’m kind of lonely with being the only dog story!! But I’ve had a blast getting published and exploring all of the things I’ve wanted to do as a writer. BRP has been very supportive and I’ll look forward to reading Hangman’s Noose!

  16. Gillian Hobbs

    Another cliff-hanger ending! Very interesting, Judy. A determined (and encouraging) publishing journey.

  17. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you, Kaye, for being so supportive. I am so happy to be part of such a great group of writers. I really enjoyed your novel, Eine Kleine Murder!

  18. Thanks for the mention. VERY glad you’re joined the family at Barking Rain! Congrats!

  19. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Susan, I think the thing I’ve learned through all of this is that it’s a much more difficult process than I ever imagined. I was so naive when I started writing Noose! I’m probably still naive, since my book doesn’t come out until this summer. But it’s been a great experience. Wouldn’t trade it for the world!

  20. Susan Van Kirk

    Great post, Judy. It clearly resonates with the idea that we have many paths to publication. A small publisher is probably the middle route, and, having taken that route, I can tell you that there are both pros and cons to a small publisher. The bottom line is that each of those options have both good and bad experiences, and you have to find out what works for you.

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