My Publishing Journey: A Tale of Two Publishers

Imajin Logo Transparent

Logo for Imajin Books

It’s been a couple of weeks since I signed the contract with Imajin Books for SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC, the first book in my new Marketville Mystery series. Since that time, I’ve had several people ask me the same questions, so I decided to answer them here:

Q: THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE, the first book in your Glass Dolphin Mystery series, was published by Barking Rain Press. Will there be a second book, and if so, who will publish it?

BRP-Color-LogoA: I’m currently hard at work on the second book, tentatively titled A HOLE IN ONE (and yes, the murder takes place on a golf course). In this book, Arabella Carpenter will be the protagonist, and Emily Garland will be her sidekick. As with NOOSE, the story will be told from both points of view, although Arabella will take the lead. Many of the characters from book one will reappear—some in larger roles, some in cameo appearances— but I’ll also be introducing new characters.

In the world of publishing, anything can happen, but Sheri Gormley, the acquiring editor/publisher at Barking Rain Press, has expressed interest in publishing the sequel, as well as any other books in the Glass Dolphin Mystery series, and I couldn’t be happier. BRP is a terrific small press based out of the Portland/Vancouver, Washington area, with author-friendly contract terms. Sheri and her team are also  extremely collaborative, which makes them a pleasure to work with. I anticipate publication in late 2017 or early-mid 2018.

Q: If you’re happy with Barking Rain Press, why did you look for a different publisher for SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC?

A: Recently, I’ve had several author friends impacted by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin, decision to dramatically cut back on their Prime Crime Cozy mystery list. Many series will not be continued, even with authors who have had 5+ books published. Around the same time, Five Star Publishing, an imprint of Gale/Cengage, announced that they were getting out of the mystery book business. Existing contracts will be honored (although many of the publication dates have been pushed forward) but I know authors who have been left without a home for Book #2 or #3. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to find a publisher willing to take on new titles from a previously published series. Knowing that, it seemed only prudent not to put all my books in one publisher’s basket.

Q: What made you choose Imajin Books?

Imajin author Kristina Stanley

Imajin author Kristina Stanley

A: There were a few reasons. As a Canadian author, I liked the idea of being part of a Canadian publishing company; Imajin is located in West Kelowna, BC. I’ve also read, and thoroughly enjoyed, books by several of their authors, including Melodie Campbell, Rosemary McCracken, and Kristina Stanley. I’ve gotten to know Kristina a little, and respect her opinion. She enthusiastically endorsed both Imajin Books, and Cheryl Tardif, the acquiring editor and publisher, and encouraged me to submit SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC when Imajin opened for submissions on March 15, 2o16. I liked that Cheryl is also an author. Additionally, Imajin Books contract terms are very fair. (Trust me, this is not always the case; many publishers pay their authors 8 to 10% of retail print—that’s 80 cents to $1 on a $10 book).

Q: Was the submission process difficult, and how did it differ from Barking Rain Press?

A: Submission guidelines vary widely by publisher, and Imajin and BRP are no exception. In my experience, most publishers are looking for a brief synopsis, a description of the book, along with sample chapters (or the complete manuscript) formatted to their unique specifications. They are also looking for the author’s social media presence: do they have a website, Facebook page, Twitter account etc.

The submission guideline for Imajin Books can be found here.

The submission guidelines for Barking Rain Press can be found here.

The biggest difference, for me personally, was that the Barking Rain Press submission process started in February 2014, and resulted in a contract July 2014 for July 2015 publication. Imajin had my submission for only a few days when they offered me a contract and a publication date of mid August (still to be firmed up, but that’s the target). Imajin are also interested in book #2 in the Marketville mystery series for a 2017 publication date.

The bottom line is every publisher is different. Finding the right fit for you and your book: priceless.

Do you have more questions? Leave a comment — and if it doesn’t work for you (my Comments section is quirky right now, techy people are trying to fix it) — fill out the Contact Me form. I’ll post the question for you, and reply!

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8 responses to “My Publishing Journey: A Tale of Two Publishers

  1. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Kristina. I am looking forward to it!

  2. Hi Judy, thanks for the mention, and it’s great to have you as part of the Imajin Books team. Get ready for a fast and fun ride.

  3. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Hi Vicki! Thanks for commenting. I’ve dabbled with self-publishing for my two short story collections and found the process fairly easy. I did it as a test case for a possible self-pubbed novel in the future, or maybe looking at Kindle Scout. That would be a third series, or possibly a standalone. There just aren’t enough hours in the day! But I agree, it’s best for us to diversify and test out the waters.

  4. Hi, Judy! I have stuff I’ve indie pubbed and traditionally pubbed, making me a hybrid author. It’s kinda like the market, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

  5. Judy Penz Sheluk

    I think my takeaway on this was how different two publishers operate their business. I’m sure no two operate completely the same way. My guess is same would be true for self-published authors.

  6. Susan Van Kirk

    Time is always a problem with publishers, isn’t it, Judy. Now that I just tried my hand at self-publishing a novella, I’m shocked at all the decisions I get to make myself, including the timeline.

  7. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Sheri. Yes, right now I’m trying working on one book one day and the other the next day. Not sure how that will work out! Good to see the comments worked for you. They are very quirky these days, hoping the tech support sorts it out soon.

  8. eightpawswriting

    Thanks for sharing your publishing journey. It’s good to know about other publishing houses. You will definitely be one busy gal! Very happy for you-