How I Got Published: Sam Wiebe

Sam Wiebe

Sam Wiebe’s debut novel Last of the Independents was published by Dundurn Press this fall. A crime novel set in Vancouver, Last of the Independents, won the  2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Novel. Sam’s short fiction has been published in American and Canadian magazines, including Subterrain and Criminal Element. He’s currently at work on his follow-up novel.

How I Got Published

My path to publication was a bit unorthodox. I’d had short stories published, and one had placed second in the ‘Scene of the Crime” writing contest. My ‘break’ came when I entered the manuscript for my novel Last of the Independents in the Crime Writers of Canada’s Best Unpublished First Novel competition. It was short-listed, and went on to win. Soon after, Dundurn Press contacted me and offered to publish the book.

 Publication is a slow process–the book has just come out this August. In the meantime, I’ve published other stories, and had one nominated for an Arthur Ellis award. I’ve also secured an agent, based off the manuscript for my second novel.

I’m not totally comfortable giving out writing advice, but I do think it’s helpful to systematize. Track where you submit your stories, make a list of book publishers or agents, and note what response you get. With competitions, you have to be careful. Make sure the entry fee, if it has one, is commensurate with the prize and exposure you might receive. And proofread everything you send out–I once sent a cover letter to a magazine editor with the solicitation, “Dead Sir or Madam.”

You can read more about Sam Wiebe on his website.

16 thoughts on “How I Got Published: Sam Wiebe

  1. I agree w/ Carrie. Another inspiring story. Nice to know how writing contests can create bigger opportunities. This series is great for letting us know about professional writers who may not be the biggest names out there yet but who are working, making a living, and doing what they love all in one and getting somewhere with their careers. Makes me think about how that is so similar to the acting world. There are so many people who have careers that may not be Brad Pitt yet but who work all the time and are doing what they love.


  2. Nice to know a little bit more about those imbricated paths to publication…
    And particularly about Wiebe’s unorthodox experience in this scope.
    I guess luck and patience are both important factors required here!.
    Great feature, Carol… Thank you very much for sharing and best wishes to you,
    Aquileana 😀


  3. I love success stories for us writers. Thanks for sharing some good tips when managing our submissions Sam. Thanks for another excellent post Carol! 🙂


  4. I suspect it’s easier to laugh about that “Dead Sir or Madam” after some successful publications. 🙂 Thanks for sharing these success stories with us!


  5. I came back to re-read this one today and noted about how he says to track where you are applying to for contests. That’s a good policy, particularly since sometimes you can only submit to certain places once within a limited amount of time.


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