Wednesday, February 2, 2011

And so it begins... Part 3

And so it begins... Part 3  - The road to mystery publication, which started so slow and winding, takes a steep new path, and I'm just along for the ride... wheee!

When an agent is working with you on a project, they will sometimes suggest changes, ask you to polish the proposal more, etc., but I had worked for four months, and my proposal was like glass, it was so polished! Jessica suggested the change from 'Vintage Collectibles Mystery Series' to 'Vintage Kitchen Mysteries' and I accepted immediately. In fact, I felt kinda stupid for not thinking about it myself. It was clearly a much better description of the series!

She then put together a list of possible editors at different houses to send it to. I was so excited! The list was impressive, all the best houses. Almost immediately (within days) we got one very interesting rejection from a very good house. The editor said the work was 'too good for a mass market paperback release', but a little too slight for a hardback. I was overwhelmed. That is an extreme compliment, for someone with modest expectations. Too good for paperback?

Writing Tip: In publishing, whether you are approaching
editors or agents, shoot for the very best, first. If you get
rejected there, then go down a notch to smaller
agencies/houses. Give yourself a chance to excel!

I just hoped not everyone felt that way! LOL.

And then... and then... before the other publishers even had a chance to come in with an offer, we heard from Berkley Prime Crime, the creme de la creme, the tiptop, the pinnacle of my ambition. Prime Crime, the home of Kate Collins, Monica Ferris (love her stitching mysteries), Joanna Carl, and Cleo Coyle! Susan Wittig Albert! Laura Childs! I could go on and on. And on.

I won't.

They thought I was the Goldilocks of cozy mystery authors, in other words, Hoosier Dead Guy? was 'just right'! (that wretched Goldilocks metaphor didn't really work, no matter how I wrote it, but oh well!) We accepted the offer (after some negotiation) and so Vintage Kitchen Mysteries was born. Book One-I sure hope they stay with my title, Hoosier Dead Guy?, but there's no guarantee that they will-will come out... well, I don't have a pub date yet, but you'll be the first to know when I do.

And that, my darlings, is the road to publication of Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and 'Hoosier Dead Guy?'.

Have I said the series name and book title enough times to have it ingrained in you, like part of your DNA?? I sure hope so! I'll have more to say about the road to cozy mystery publishing as I go further in the process, of course. Right now, I am done the first book, it is with the editor, and I am about a third of the way into Book 2 - Bowled Over.

So... now for a pop quiz... oh, don't groan! You in the back, put your desk lid down and listen up. No gum! Turn off your cell phone!

I want to know...
  • How many of you who read Cozy Mysteries also (secretly, or not) plan/wish/hope to write them, too?
  • Is there anything I can tell you about my road that I haven't already? (Can't imagine that, but you never do know.)
  • Do you want to know any more about the publishing industry?
  • Do any of you read cozy mysteries for the information you get out of them, too? No, I don't mean how to kill people (at least, I hope not) I mean, all the how-tos, sprinkled like confetti through cozy mysteries; do you relish learning how to make glass, crochet a sweater, do crewel work, bake a cupcake, darn a sock, cook fettucine, wax a surfboard?
Drop me a line anytime!


  1. I read cozies, but do not plan on writing them. Your story was very intriguing. If you continue your story the way you are going then you will not lose my interest. I love the helpful hints and recipes in the books. I look forward to them. The authors efforts are not going wasted.

  2. Thanks, Michelle! I love recipes in cozies, too, and have found some in Dianne Mott Davidson's books that I photocopied to use... haven't yet, but hope I will!

    I will be including 1 recipe in each book, but will have more 'renovated' vintage recipes - as well as info about vintage kitchenware - in this blog and on my website.

  3. I LOVE Cozy Mysteries! And Berkley Prime Crime is one of my favorite houses. I'm a writer as well, and am working on a Cozy (among other things). This is a great blog, reading all about the front lines I hope to be on someday!
    Can't wait till your series comes out - it's on my list to buy.

  4. Love your blog and your story to publication--congrats! I'll watch for your series!

  5. Thanks, Marian. It will be a while, but as soon as I have a publication date, I'll be sharing it.

    Allison... good luck on the cozy series! They are so much fun, both to read and write!

  6. Hi Victoria! (I've always loved that name, btw.) I used to read romances all the time, but they've begun to get a bit too steamy for my tastes, so I began looking to the mystery genre to replace the bulk of my reading material. JoAnna Carl's Chocoholic Mysteries were my intro into the cozy mystery world, and Berkley Prime Crime has become my favorite House. And I've begun toying with the idea of writing a cozy mysteries, but like you, I would have to figure out my niche.

    If I do get to the point where I'm looking to publish a cozy, I'll be glad of the tips you've shared here, and I may be coming back for more advice and wisdom, if that's ok...

    Oh heck yeah, I love the recipes, chocolate trivia and tips I get from the cozies I read! I also read them to keep my mind sharp. I like to see if I can pick up all the clues and solve the crimes before the sleuths do.


  7. Hey, Shiloh... Love your name back. Best song by Neil Diamond ever!

    I haven't read the chocoholic mysteries... may just have to, especially if there are recipes involved. It's funny, but I rarely pick out the actual murderer in a mystery... I feel like I'm just along for the ride, when I read a mystery.

    Nice to hear from you.

  8. If I can figure out the mystery before the end then I am unhappy. I love to "go along for the ride".

  9. Hey, Michelle,

    On the few occasions when I have figured out the mystery, I'm so busy congratulating myself, I lose the momentum of the story! LOL.

    Sometimes, though, I am WRONG!