I’d like to tell you that I did something extraordinary, apart from the agents’ and publishers’ queries, but, in truth, I think I merely endured. I kept at my writing until somebody finally thought my cozy mystery was as funny and compelling as I did. I am also aware that no one loves a baby like the mother so if I seem to be prouder of Snoop than you see fitting, please forgive me. It has been a long haul, through many long nights of crying about rejections, working and reworking edits, and doubting that I would ever be a writer, a real writer.
Here’s how it happened. In January, I finished yet another version of Snoop, guided by an editor who didn’t really have any need for it, she told me, but who saw promise and offered many helpful suggestions. Deni Dietz, thank you. At first, I thought I would shelve the new version and go on to another book, as I had its predecessor, but I liked the mystery and as I perused the mystery shelves of bookstores, I believed my book was as good as most. I admit, I don’t think it’s in the category of Gone Girl but I wasn’t aiming for that. In succeeding blogs, I’ll write about what I do aim for, but suffice it to say, I wanted my book to become recognized and enjoyed. With that in mind, I Googled unagented publishers. Cozy Cat Press popped up and its web page invited me to email my manuscript.
Within a day, I saw a response from Cozy Cat, or CC to those of us in the know. The editor/publisher liked my book and wanted to publish it with a few minor corrections. I didn’t tell anyone for hours that I had actually been bought. I kept checking the phone to make sure that I had read what I thought I had. When I was convinced that it was an acceptance and not a hallucination, I asked my lawyer son with whom we were staying to read the contract. “Looks good to me,” he said after a fairly thorough read. We were off!
I completed the edits and sent them back. Patricia Rockwell, a cozy mystery aficionado, the editor/publisher welcomed me to Cozy Cat and explained how the process would work. Within months my book would be at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Because I was full of steam, I told Ms. Rockwell, a mystery writer herself, that I had another mystery in my drawer, tucked away because I was too afraid to send it. “I think it’s as good or better than Snoop,” I said. She asked me to send it and within days, Murder on Cinnamon Street had sold, too. I went from a file folder full of rejections to selling two books in a month. I was dizzy.
Since then my life has been full of writing, working on sequels to both Snoop and Cinnamon Street, and it has also been full of the business of writing. My husband and our accountant handle most of that unappealing-to-me area, but there’s still stuff I must do and which I do not mind. It has been a long time getting here, and I hope that I never complain about the work involved to get the books to readers and that I always appreciate thoroughly the people willing to read them.
Now I am at home with Cozy Cat Press and the sense that I am a mystery writer, a real one who has books in the marketplace and more stories roaming around in her head begging to get out.