The Place for Mystery Since 1995
MysteryNet Home
TV Movies

Buy through our affiliates:
•  Mystery Guild Book Club
•  Buy Books
•  Buy Games

Using Discussion

Registering (FREE—required to post)

• Subscribe   • Edit Posts   • Personal Profile

Customization & Tools (For Members)

 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / General Information For Getting Published  /

Persistence Pays Off - Success Stories
Jim Moore - 09:12pm Apr 17, 1998 PDT

When I retired from government service I decided to try my hand at writing books. From time to time I'd do an article for some magazine covering something I knew about and some of them were published. But my main goal -- getting a book published -- took longer. For nearly five years I worked simultaneously -- switching back and forth as the mood struck me -- on two books: a nonfiction true-crime book about the US Treasury agents who investigate federal firearms and bomb cases; and a political thriller about international gunrunners. True, these were subject I knew about (I'm a retired ATF agent) but there's nothing in either book a persistent writer couldn't have learned by doing research. Then, for another 3 years I tried to get one of them published. I wasted nearly 2 years trusting literary agents who claimed they'd do their best. Perhaps they did -- all I know is, they failed. But I kept at it, contacting some publishers myself and still searching for a good agent. The payoff to this little saga is my success and it's a little strange. An excellent agent (so-judged from her performance) sold my nonfiction ("Very Special Agents") to Pocket Books; and I sold my suspense thriller myself to a small press here in Maine. The strange coincidence is that, even though each of the books went their separate ways, after all those years I received both contracts the same month. So I have three words for writers who really want to get published: Don't give up!

Previous MessagesEarliest MessagesOutlineRecent Messages (8 previous messages)
Donna Nowak - 12:33pm Aug 19, 1999 PST(#9 of 16)

I've been writing since I was a child. How do you find the "small local publishers?" I don't see them too often listed in WRITERS' MARKET. I have a novel that made it past the front door of a major publishing house here in NYC -- it was under serious consideration, but then it didn't make it. After a big build-up, I was deflated. My agent died shortly thereafter and no other agent would take my manuscript on. Ugh. I truly still believe in this novel, but am unsure what to do with it.

Steven Torres - 02:42pm Aug 19, 1999 PST(#10 of 16)


Have you heard of The International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses? It's massive and put out by Dustbooks. Also, the Literary Market Place (LMP). A good library should have it. Also, you might try Poets and Writers magazine and May issue of The Writer.

Christine Godin - 03:07pm Jan 1, 2000 PST(#11 of 16)

As a writer in search of an agent, it was good to read Jim's post about persistence! My millennial promise to myself is to do just that--be persistent and find that agent! I have had two take a pass; another wanted money to "help commercialize" the manuscript (whatever that means--they weren't available to expand on that). This month I will polish once again and send off query letters. My novel is set in the Boston area and the protagonist is an amateur sleuth who happens to be a reference librarian married to an actor. There is, of course, a body in the library, and from that discovery the fun begins.

claire kirch - 11:45am Mar 3, 2000 PST(#12 of 16)

How would you like to read out how the greats--writers like Marcia Muller, Abigail Padgett, Ellen Hart, Val McDermid, and Joan Drury--first got their novels and stories published? Spinsters Ink is publishing a collection of essays by 13 critically-acclaimed women mystery writers in which they reflect upon their professional lives, discuss how they go about weaving together the stories they create, plus each writer provides tips for aspiring authors. THe book is called "They Wrote the Book: 13 Women Mystery Writers Reveal All" and it is edited by Helen Windrath. The pub date is June 2000. This is a must-read for any serious writing, whether she or he is a novice or a seasoned pro. If you need more information, contact me at claire@sp

Bob Schneider - 02:01pm Jul 10, 2001 PST(#13 of 16)

Very good information posted above. An idea for those novel writers; Why not try to have an excerpt or chapter published in one of the many short story magazines. The excerpt will have to be somewhat self contained but it shouldn't be too difficult to tailor a chapter toward this market. One magazine I like is LYNX EYE. It's a west coast based small press literary magazine but it publishes new and established authors from around the country and occasionally prints crime/mystery stories. E-mail me for contact info for LYNX EYE.

John Poindexter - 05:28am Jan 3, 2002 PST(#14 of 16)

Way to go Jim.

I, too, am a former agent with OSI. I use my experiences for the basis of my novels too. Hopefully, I will find a publisher like you and be able to get something published.

Congrads agan and keep writing. John

Dennis Griffin - 12:55pm Aug 27, 2005 PST(#15 of 16)

I've been writing since 1996 and have been through the peaks and valleys - mostly valleys to begin with - of trying to market my books as an unknown author. I think I've finally turned the corner and am having more success with each effort. The road has been long and certainly not easy. I found myself on the verge of quitting several times over the years. But the support and encouragement of my wife, family and friends kept me going.

I'm in complete agreement with Jim: Don't give up.

Dennis Griffin - 03:38am Aug 28, 2005 PST(#16 of 16)

I began writing fiction in 1996 and self-published my first four books. The last two are with a "traditional" publisher (no payment is required from the author) that uses print on demand (POD) technology. Marketing these books as an unknown author has been an experience with many peaks and valleys.

My first nonfiction - a police history book - was released this April through Huntington Press using offset printing. They are also publishing my second nonfiction - the story of the mob days in Las Vegas - and hope to have it out around the end of the year.

I feel that I've finally turned the corner in my writing career and each book is becoming more successful. But the road has been long and certainly not easy. I was on the verge of giving up several times over the years, and would have if not for the support and encouragement of my wife, family and friends.

Some of my experiences are currently posted on my site at:

 Read Subscriptions  Search  New User Registration  Login

 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / General Information For Getting Published  / Persistence Pays Off - Success Stories

In Association with

Support MysteryNet

Start Your Amazon
Shopping Here: