How I Got Published: Carrie Rubin


Carrie Rubin

Carrie Rubin writes medical thrillers. Not surprising given that she’s a physician with a master’s degree in public health. Nor is it surprising that she delves into sensitive and controversial issues in her novels. In her latest thriller, Eating Bull, Carrie tackles bullying, fat shaming, food addiction and the food industry’s role in obesity. Carrie lives in Ohio with her husband and two sons and manages a blog The Write Transition which has over two thousand followers.

How I Got Published

I wrote my first novel, The Seneca Scourge, over a fifteen-month period in 2003-2004. But as so often happens, life got in the way, and it wasn’t until 2011 I decided to get serious and move the process forward. I tightened my manuscript, read books on technique, and restarted the query process. Though I didn’t land an agent, I found a small press publisher, and in 2012 my first novel was published.

Since then, I’ve made writing a priority. I study the craft, attend conferences, and try to learn everything I can about the process.

My second novel, Eating Bull, a thriller that takes on the food industry, was recently published by ScienceThrillers Media, and I’m currently working on the second draft of my third novel.

As writers we often hear, “Don’t give up.” If we want to publish books, that’s good advice. That means overcoming plot-hole disasters, painful critiques, and endless rejections, all of which will hopefully inspire us to work harder and improve our technique.

We also have to take chances.

With Eating Bull, I queried agents and a few publishers but was rejected. While several seemed pleased with the book’s writing, they were reluctant to represent such a sensitive topic, particularly in fiction.

After more than a year of querying, I was antsy to get the novel out there, so I tried a different approach. I got a cover designed and sought a Kirkus review. Then I submitted the novel for a Kindle Scout campaign, an Amazon-run, reader-powered publishing platform. During the campaign, the novel generated a lot of interest, but it didn’t get selected.

Needless to say, I was discouraged. Had I chosen too controversial a premise? Was it wise to take on the food industry, not to mention create a serial killer who targets the obese? I’m an unknown author, after all, not John Grisham or Robin Cook.

But before I had to answer my own question, a boutique publisher who specializes in science and medical thrillers (and who I’d been in contact with on social media before) reached out to me after seeing my Kindle Scout campaign. A short time later, I signed a contract.

And I couldn’t be happier. My fit with this publisher is a good one, and I’m constantly kept in the loop. As with all small presses (and even traditional publishers), authors shoulder much of the marketing. But I’m fine with that. It’s all part of being a writer.

The world of publishing is constantly evolving, and writers have more options today than ever before. With hard work, perseverance, and a good story, many writers can achieve their dream.

*     *     *

Eating Bull

Jeremy, a lonely and obese teenager, shoots into the limelight when a headstrong public health nurse persuades him to sue the food industry. Tossed into a storm of media buzz and bullying, the teen draws the attention of a serial killer who’s targeting the obese. Soon the boy, the nurse, and their loved ones take center stage in a delusional man’s drama.

Through fiction, Eating Bull explores the real-life issues of bullying, fat-shaming, food addiction, and the food industry’s role in obesity.

Praise for Eating Bull:

4 out of 4 stars…all the right elements for an enjoyable read: great writing, great plot, and great characters.” —

“A solid thriller that manages to infuse one boy’s coming-of-age with a whole lot of murder.”   Kirkus Reviews

“Rubin is a masterful storyteller who weaves her medical knowledge into a gripping thriller, diving head-first into a meaty subject that has been ignored for far too long.”—Dianne Gray, award-winning Australian author of Soul’s Child and The Everything Theory

“Carrie Rubin tackles obesity, fat-shaming, and bullying in this unique and original psychological thriller certain to keep you thinking long after you’ve finished reading.”              —Maddie Cochere, author of the Susan Hunter and Two Sisters and a Journalist series

“A fast-paced thriller with a climax that nails it.”—Frederick Anderson, author of I Am Cara, The Butterfly Man, and Hallbury Summer

137 thoughts on “How I Got Published: Carrie Rubin

  1. Great interview. Your story mirrors my own in so many ways. I’ve just added Eating Bull to my reading list. Carrie, if you’d like to come as a guest on my blog in 2016, send me a DM on Twitter.

  2. Pingback: How I Got Published | The Write Transition

  3. It’s interesting to read how you got into print in the end. You’ll be happy to hear I’ve already bought my copy of Eating Bull. Several people have told me I should use a Kindle recently, so I’m going to give it a try, and Eating Bull will be one of the first books I try it with. I’m confident I’ll enjoy the book. I wish I could say the same about the Kindle.

  4. Thank you Carrie and thank you Carol. I’m going to concentrate on getting published; I’ve had a novel and the sequel sitting around for almost 10 years–it’s silly not to try again. I’ve also got a newer (2 years) one just gathering dust. I need to get serious and STAY serious. You two are encouraging and inspiring. And fun!

  5. Excellent interview….As a painter and now someone who plans to write a book…this is good advice all round…never give up. Thank you Carol – I like the way you do this….it’s so easy to digest and take in. Hope all’s well with you..Janet. 🙂

  6. This is so interesting! Thanks, both, very much. I agree: there are times when we really do have to take chances.

  7. That was fascinating, Carrie. I’m going to follow your plan (probably right down to NOT being selected by Kindle Scout!). You are an inspiration.

    More on your publisher: How long did it take to work through details with them? Did they take your input?

    • Thank you, Jacqui. Best of luck to you!

      It didn’t take long to work out the details with my publisher. It particularly helped that I already had the cover, a professional review, and a professional edit (all done in preparation of Kindle Scout). So armed with that, we were able to get things ready quite quickly. Well, quickly in the publishing world, anyway.

  8. What an interesting series of posts. Always fun to see how writers think and over come the terrors and obstacles of being an author. Carrie was smart and didn’t sit back waiting to be noticed – risked stepping out there – and someone was watching. How encouraging.
    Carries does know how to create suspense and keep you reading.
    Timely topic. (Everyone please ask your local library to get a copy for their shelves) Good job, Carrie!

    • Thanks, Phil. I appreciate your kind words. And thank you for the plug about the library! Believe it or not, I’ve sent my library an email about carrying a copy of it but haven’t heard back. It was a generic email address, so something tells me I’m going to have to stop by in person. Every introvert’s last resort…

      • Librarians do buy year round, but most get their budgets in Oct….and are looking around. Most of the librarians I sold to said they preferred not to get emails ( until you really know them) as they get so many. They said the best way to get their attention? A striking post card/flyer in the mail about the book/author – with website/blog/FB address. Create one page with book’s cover, a blurb, quotes from reviews, bit of author info/pix and print it out. (They deal with paper first – to get it off their desk, so they said) They are busy so hard to get to see sometimes, but do enjoy a short chat with people who like and know books. Even introverts like me can have fun talking about books, authors, and literary trends.Librarians don’t bite – but they are busy and may tend to be abrupt so don’t get feeling hurt. Catch one on a good day, and it’ll be open highway for ever. You – and all authors can do this! You don’t need a pub. rep – you can show off your baby better!

      • If you can get on line/lib. website and locate the name of the acquisition librarian or the one responsible for purchasing/overseeing fiction for that age level. Put “attention to…” at the bottom. That way it gets into the hands of the one most likely to purchase. Good luck! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

  9. It can be so discouraging, Carrie, putting your work out there and dealing with rejection after rejection. Thanks for the inspiration and an honest piece about that process. Such a fabulous cover for the new book! All the best as you continue writing and promoting!

    • Thanks, Jill. There’s a quote I’ve always liked. I can’t remember the exact words (or who said it) so I have to paraphrase, but it’s something along the lines of: it’s not the number of wins that determine our success, it’s the number of fails. Something like that anyway. I always try to keep it in mind.

  10. I’m so glad to hear the story. I knew about the Kindle Scout program, because that’s when I started following you. I’m glad you persisted and your book was picked up! You’re so right, Carrie. We have to take chances.

    • Thank you! And I’m even happier with this route, because I have a paperback edition too, with distribution through Ingram. Kindle Scout only did ebook. So it was a happy outcome for sure. 🙂

  11. I think I’ve bought it, but not yet read it. I won’t give excuses, but please know it’s definitely got my interest and I plan to get to it before the first of the year. I’m all gung-ho, as you know, on healthy food choices and getting the body in tune. And I love a good thriller. This is right up my alley.

    • I know how difficult it is to get to books. I have so many on my TBR list, including many by fellow bloggers. Just not enough hours in the day. Plus I’m in a book club, so that choice always goes to the top of the line. So no worries at all. I’m just so grateful for your online support. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving week!

  12. Now that I know how to get published, I just have to write a book!
    i love hearing how you did it though. I mean I saw many of the steps, but still, seeing the story of how it jelled is great. I’m going to forward this post to a friend of mine who has a great story to tell!

    Oh, and for anyone reading the comments — I read both of Carrie’s books. She really is damn good!

    • Thank you, Laurie. Hope your own launch is going well. It’s tough to find time for writing, isn’t it? I need to get back to my WIP or there won’t be a third book!

  13. I’m halfway through Eating Bull and it is stunningly good. Good enough to actually tell my mom and my fiancé and my friends all about it. I especially want to force my judgmental gym rat friends to read it, because I want to say “Look at your damaging thought patterns and how much they resemble a psycho killer!”

    I’m always a little hesitant reading the work of friends, because I worry about what I’ll say if it isn’t much good. But Carrie, you have solved that problem completely for me – I can tell you worked HARD on this book. It shows on every page. I can see the years of tinkering and building and polishing and editing that went into it, because nothing is sloppy or without reason. The writing is consistently tight. It’s just fabulous, and you sink into the minds of each of your three POV characters so well. I also love how I’m not *quite* sure who the killer is yet, because you’ve planted a lot of suspects. Hopefully I’ll finish it up this week and I’ll tell you what I think when it’s all over 😀

    • Wow, thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind words, and your specifics about the book are so helpful to me as a writer. I’m a big outliner (as I know you are too), and I wanted to make sure I had all the pieces in place, from foreshadowing to clues to key plot points. I think with thrillers you have to. Thank you again. Oh, and your comment about what you’re tempted to say to your gym rat friends made me laugh out loud.

  14. I think it’s great that you’ve taken this on, Carrie, and I’m so glad that publisher found you! It seems like obesity is actually rather a complex subject, based on some of the studies I see on ScienceDaily. One thing that is clear is that fat shaming is very hurtful. Eating Bull sounds like a good read that’s also very timely.

    • Obesity is definitely a complex subject. So many forces behind it, from biology to environment to maybe even a virus (Adenovirus 36). We didn’t suddenly lose our willpower in 30 years. Lots of factors are behind our ever-growing waistlines over the past three decades. Thanks, Carol!

  15. What a lovely interview and great to hear about you Carrie and your writing journey. Understandably you became discouraged along the way but great that it has worked out so well and you’ve found a publisher that suits you so well. This can be an inspiration for us all. I love the idea of your medical thrillers! Definitely intriguing.

    • Thank you! I appreciate that. It is a matter of keeping on keeping on, isn’t it? Writing and publishing can be a long process, so we have to have patience and just keep writing.

  16. Thanks for sharing the experience. I didn’t know the publisher actually reached out to you after that Kindle Scout campaign. It really goes to show that it pays to try lots of different ways to get your book out there, as it’ll eventually work out!

    • That it does, and as disappointing as it was at the time to not get the Kindle Scout nod, it actually worked out better for me to land this publisher, because they publish in paperback form too, with distribution through Ingram so bookstores can order it if they want to. Kindle Scout was only ebook. So sometimes rejection is Nature’s protection, and something better comes along.

      Thanks, Daniel! Hope your son is doing well. I’m sure you won’t go overboard for his first Christmas at all. 😉

  17. Congratulations Carrie. This post really inspired me. My experience so far has been similar to yours. I have found that unless our work is mainstream and predictable, publishers are not ready to take the risk. I have a great editor and I just keep moving forward. It is a long process but it is exciting when we get to see the end product. Your book sounds great.

    • Thank you! I’ve always thought something edgy was more likely to get an agent’s attention, but I’ve since learned that isn’t necessarily the case. Not if it’s from an unknown author anyway. Then again, another agent might feel just the opposite. Either way it worked out well in the end. Best of luck to you in your journey!

  18. It’s so heartening to see success stories like Carrie’s and those of other writers you showcase on your blog, Carol. Even in today’s world, it’s still possible for new authors to find the right publishing venue and that all-important audience!

    • Thanks for stopping by, JM. There are often many failures behind the successes in writing, but I figure if we don’t have any failures, it means we probably haven’t given it everything we have. We’re bound to strike out. We just have to keep batting. (Oh dear, did I just use a baseball analogy? That will probably never happen again.)

  19. Thanks for hosting Carrie here! I’m always interested in hearing about process.
    Carrie- you are the epitome of not giving up! Eating Bull is a MUST read for anyone interested in thrillers or eating issues in current society. (I was interested in both so it was a total win for me.) Well written and excellently plotted. So glad you found the right publisher. It would have been a shame if it had never made it to press.
    And I can’t wait to read your next book!! No pressure… but HURRY! 😉

  20. Hi Carol! 🙂 Great post, Carrie. I didn’t realize your publisher reached out to you after your Kindle Scout campaign. That is awesome! I’m glad to see you getting such great feedback on your book. It (and you) deserves it.

    • Thank you, Maddie. Yes, it was a nice surprise and ultimately a better publishing contract for me because they publish in paperback too. (Kindle Scout only does ebook.) So it’s one of those times rejection ended up being good!

  21. It’s fascinating that some people shied away from the subject matter – as if a controversial issue wouldn’t be captivating, wouldn’t draw people in. I’m glad you finally found the right publisher and working with a small publishing house just makes things more intimate and personal which must be rewarding in its own way.

    • I was surprised too. I thought something polarizing might get agents’ attention more. But perhaps it just wasn’t a subject those particular agents wanted to tackle. I certainly appreciated them telling me why they were passing. That’s always better than being left wondering what it was they didn’t like. Maybe had I kept querying, someone else would have been interested, but I wanted to get it out there given its timeliness, so this publishing house was a godsend. Definitely more intimate and personal. Nice to have my emails answered!

  22. Thanks for sharing your fascinating journey to publication and your book matter with us Carrie. It’s always inspiring to learn about another author’s journey. 🙂 Adding to TBR! Carol always has some fascinating authors here.

  23. How exciting to read such powerful and descriptive adjectives about you. Congratulations to you…may Eating Bull change people’s attitudes and behaviors one reader at a time..

    • Thank you! It’s been nice to hear that readers are still thinking about the book after they’ve read it. And passing on that burger and fries they were about to eat. 😉

  24. I love hearing success stories like these, especially when they involve blogging friends like Carrie. Eating Bull is a great novel because it’s entertaining and it makes readers think about the world we live in. I’m always on the lookout for books like that. On a side note, I love the banner on this site (mine also celebrates dogs and the ocean). I didn’t notice at first, but then it made me laugh when I saw that your dog might be trying to distract you a bit from your writing. 🙂

  25. It’s great to see you here, Carrie and I love this type of blog. Writing, publishing and marketing is never an easy road, but I truly admire your passion and your gift for writing. Eating Bull is a fantastic book and I have recommended it to anyone that will listen (even the lady in the newsagent yesterday!) 😉

    • Thank you, Dianne! I so appreciate that. As you know, word-of-mouth is key. I appreciate you stopping by. I hope those birds have quieted down a bit for you. 🙂

  26. Great post! I so admire your perseverance and determination. I too, have been steered away from sensitive premises, but some stories won’t let themselves NOT be told. Looking forward to it!

  27. It’s so awesome to hear about your journey, Carrie. I love how the things that didn’t necessarily work out all ended up working to your benefit. 🙂

    • Yes, and this worked out even better. I have both an ebook and paperback (Kindle Scout only does ebook), and I’m not limited to Amazon. My publisher uses Ingram as well so that makes it easier for bookstores to order. Thanks, Kourtney. 🙂

  28. So happy you found a good home for Eating Bull! I’m going to play with a different tactic on my book next year to see if I can go through a publisher, since this one is a dystopian/fantasy. We’ll see how it goes!

  29. I like thrillers, suspense and the medical world. I usually make lists of books to send into the local library acquisition committee. Only because I would be buried under books in my one bedroom apt. ! 🙂 I have ordered or suggested Christoph, Carol, Luanne and Anneli books so now need to get on top of Carrie’s!

  30. It certainly is an inspiring story and shows that even when something seems to end in disappointment, a new and unexpected door opens up elsewhere. You deserve all the success for you talent and hard work Carrie 🙂

  31. Thanks Carol for posting about Carrie. Nice to meet you both. Your books sound intriguing. I love medical mysteries. I will follow you both. Carrie, contact me at if you are interested in being interviewed on my blog or want to do a guest post. Best wishes for much success with your books!

  32. Your publishing journey should inspire a lot of writers who believe enough in their book to try different routes. Eating Bull is a fantastic story worthy of such determination, Carrie. Glad you stuck by it.

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