How I Got Published: Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell

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.


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.

You can read more about Melodie on her web site  and on Amazon.

24 thoughts on “How I Got Published: Melodie Campbell

  1. This is really interesting, Carol! I do enjoy learning how other authors have gone about it. And she’s got some good things to say.


  2. I understand the value of publishing short stories, and yet I haven’t yet attempted it. I figure I want to devote the writing time I have to my novel-in-progress. But Ms. Campbell’s advice makes great sense.


    • She does make a lot of sense…I like what she said: “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.”


  3. It’s always good to hear how people published their work and I am starting to understand that laying good foundations is often how you begin! Thanks Carol for a great post.


  4. Great advice and looking forward to this new series Carol. Now, if we could only split ourselves with time to work on our books and short publications and self publish. 🙂


  5. Great advice from Melodie. A bit overwhelming to being writing books and short stories and self publishing. I am looking forward to this series Carol. 🙂


    • Debby, I’ve tried several times to log into your blog to read your post on Arizona but I never could download the post. Did you have problems with your other readers? I haven’t had this problem with other readers.

      Yes, it is very overwhelming to write books, short stories and self publishing. Not to mention that another life goes on around us! Happy Weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Carol – Always interesting to hear other writers’ stories on how they got started. It’s especially inspiring in the case of someone as successful as Melodie!


  7. I didn’t read everyone’s story but I will have to remember to revisit your blog to do so. I like hearing the real stories behind the writing. I guess it is possible to have that luck just come but for the rest of us it really is a lot of time and work.

    Liked by 1 person

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