Rob Brunet’s 2014 debut, STINKING RICH, asks What could possibly go wrong when bikers hire a high school dropout to tend a barn full of high-grade marijuana? His short crime fiction appears and is forthcoming in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, Noir Nation, and numerous anthologies. Before writing noir, Brunet produced award-winning Web presence for film and TV, including LOST, Frank Miller’s Sin City, and the cult series Alias. He loves the bush, beaches, and bonfires and lives in Toronto with his wife, daughter, and son.
How I Got Published
What’s that old saw about luck, opportunity, and preparedness? I followed the traditional path, querying agents in batches, suffering rejection, until one day, Les Edgerton asked where I was at. “In query hell,” I told him.
He asked to see what I was sending out in case his agent might like it. After months of painstakingly tracking every in- and outbound email and getting nowhere, six hours after Les asked me the question, I had an email setting up a phone call. It wasn’t until a week later that I realized the guy who would become my agent had been on my very first target list, but I’d never reached out to him because his agency was “closed to queries”.
Nearly a year (and a couple more rewrites) after that, I attended Bouchercon in Albany. My manuscript had gone out to a dozen publishers and in my last phone call with my agent, I’d learned about half had declined for a variety of reasons. “Crime with comedy is hard to sell.” “Bring us his next manuscript.” Or just plain, “No, thanks.” I knew a couple of publishers were still reading it, but my energy had already shifted to the next novel.
In a panel room at Bouchercon, my conference mate Tanis Mallow nudged me with her elbow to point out I was seated next to Eric Campbell of Down & Out Books, one of the publishers I knew we had gone to. Thing is, I couldn’t remember what they’d said about my manuscript. So when the panel ended, I introduced myself, told him my novel was Stinking Rich and said, “I just don’t know whether you’re one of the publishers who already said, ‘No’”.
“Stinking what?” he asked?
Neither my name nor the name of my novel was familiar to him, but when I mentioned my agent’s name, he said, “Oh yeah, I did get something from him. A few months back. Haven’t got to it yet.”
So I gave him my best verbal pitch, and when I mentioned the comparables, he shook my hand and said, “I’ll buy it now!”
Being Canadian, I suggested he read it first, but my book had found a home, with a publisher unafraid of comic noir. It figures they’d be based in Florida, home of the authors I get compared to most!