At the time she’d finished her debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, and was in the midst of trying to find a publisher for it.
She finally did find a publisher but not without a LOT of patience and persistence and in July 2015 her book was published.
In her blog, Judy has intensively documented her publishing path which spans from April 2013 to January 2016. Her informative posts include topics such as first drafts, rejections, using social media and scrivener, dealing with contracts, filing for copyright and galley proofs. In her own words :
I try to share my experiences as a writer (the good, the not-so-good, and the extremely humbling).
Anyone interested in getting published would be wise to read her blog and gain from her experience which she generously shares here.
In this post Judy highlights her struggles to get her novel published. I admire her persistence and there’s much truth to the saying: Those who get published are those who don’t give up. Of course you have to have a good book. But that’s not a problem with The Hanged Man’s Noose for it’s a fun, suspenseful and smart novel.
How I Got Published
There’s an old adage: Patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, it’s never been one of mine, though I have learned that it’s a necessity for writers seeking traditional publication. But in the early days, when I was armed with no more than a big dream and a bad first draft, I didn’t know that. I honestly believed it would be easy—especially since I’d developed a decent reputation as a freelance writer and editor. After all, my10+ years of experience in the field had to count for something, right?
since January 10, 2015, so when Carol invited me back to discuss my path to publication, I was more than happy to come and share a little bit about what I’ve learned:
After meeting a “dream agent” at Bloody Words in Toronto in 2012, I was convinced she would offer me a contract when my book was finished. I submitted it to her, at her request, in February 2013.
I’d like to tell you that this dream agent wrote back with an offer of representation, but the reality is after four months of waiting, I received this email:
“Thank you so much for your patience while I reviewed this project! After much debate and multiple reads, we’re ultimately going to pass. I think that your voice is superb, and the premise is very strong, I just didn’t fall entirely in love with the characters. Please know that this was not an easy decision, and I genuinely wish you the very best with it.”
Not only did the rejection hurt, I was pretty much shattered. But after some serious feeling sorry for myself time, I dusted off my bruised ego and tried again. Using QueryTracker to zone in on my best bet for success, by late fall 2013 I had queried roughly 30 agents, with better than average results. I’d netted a few partial requests (the first so many chapters or pages), which in turn led to three full manuscript requests, and one offer to write a cozy mystery under the name of another author.
One agent wrote to say she was swamped and it would be several months to a full year before she even had a chance to read my manuscript. The other two agents ultimately rejected it, albeit kindly. They loved my writing, they said, and my premise, but the story had two protagonists, and too many points of view. I’d already heard much the same from other agents who’d reviewed and rejected my partial submissions. As stubborn as I am (and anyone who knows me will tell you I’m very stubborn), it was time to accept the inevitable: a complete rewrite. One protagonist, one sidekick.
I spent the remainder of 2013 consulting with a professional editor, and then rewriting the story, start to finish. As much as I hated to let go of my two-protagonist, multiple POV premise, I had to admit the story was much stronger without it. I’d also given up on finding an agent. The process was too slow (I’d already invested a year) and too one-sided. It was time to find a publisher who would accept unagented submissions.
Enter Barking Rain Press, a small press publisher based out of Vancouver, Washington, that came highly recommended by my fellow Sisters in Crime Guppies (which stands for the Great Unpublished). [https://sincguppies.wildapricot.org]. I submitted the first three chapters during their “open” period in February 2014, received a request for the full manuscript in April, and waited.
Did I mention patience is a virtue?
And then on July 1, 2014, I received an email that started like this:
“Thank you for your patience as we reviewed your manuscript, THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE. It is an engaging story, filled with evocative characters and places — plus a very intriguing murder mystery. We would love to have the opportunity to publish this book in July 2015.”
Oh there were still some required edits, but working with Narielle Living, one of BRP’s editors, the process was painless, and in the end, I had a much better book. Here’s a brief synopsis:
Small-town secrets and subterfuge lead to murder in a tale of high-stakes real estate wrangling gone amok.
Journalist Emily Garland lands a plum assignment as the editor of a niche magazine based in Lount’s Landing, a small town named after a colorful Canadian traitor. As she interviews the local business owners for the magazine, Emily quickly learns that many people are unhappy with real estate mogul Garrett Stonehaven’s plans to convert an old schoolhouse into a mega-box store. At the top of that list is Arabella Carpenter, the outspoken owner of the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, who will do just about anything to preserve the integrity of the town’s historic Main Street.
But Arabella is not alone in her opposition. Before long, a vocal dissenter at a town hall meeting about the proposed project dies. A few days later, another body is discovered, and although both deaths are ruled accidental, Emily’s journalistic suspicions are aroused.
Putting her reporting skills to the ultimate test, Emily teams up with Arabella to discover the truth behind Stonehaven’s latest scheme—before the murderer strikes again.
Find Judy at http://www.judypenzsheluk.com, where she blogs about the writing life and interviews other authors. You can also find Judy on
The Hanged Man’s Noose is available in print and eBook at http://www.barkingrainpress.org/dd-product/hanged-mans-noose/ and all the usual suspects, including Amazon: http://authl.it/3jg, Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1MF0ggO, Chapters.indigo.ca: http://bit.ly/1m7IUzp and AbeBooks.com: http://bit.ly/1PSyuAr