Billed as Canada’s “Queen of Comedy” by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014), Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.
Winner of nine awards, including the 2014 Derringer (US) and the 2014 Arthur Ellis (Canada) for The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books), Melodie has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and seven novels.
Melodie got her start writing stand-up. In 1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference. These days, she is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.
HOW I GOT PUBLISHED
The Start Short and Build method
By Melodie Campbell
I got my start writing short stuff. Specifically, I wrote comedy (standup and a syndicated humour column.) From there I had some short stories published in small magazines. That led to short stories in bigger magazines that paid more (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and Star Magazine – yes, the supermarket tabloid!) I had 100 comedy credits and 30 short stories published before I wrote and sold my first novel.
What this did: it gave me credibility as a writer, and showed book publishers that I had the ability to be a ‘commercial’ writer. People had already paid me for my writing, and in some cases, quite a lot! Probably, my book would have the same commercial quality. Not only that, as a columnist, I had proved I could work to deadline.
This moved me to the top of the slush pile. Having a pile of other publications doesn’t automatically get you published: what it does is get you read by publishers. You still have to produce a damned fine book that they think will sell well.
I always recommend that my Crafting a Novel students at Sheridan College get a few short story publications under their belts, before they try to sell a novel. It gives you something credible to put on your query letter, AND it will hone your writing skills.