How I Got Published: J.K. Messum

J.K. Messum

J. Kent Messum is an author & musician who always bets on the underdog. His debut novel ‘Bait’ was published in Autumn 2013 by Penguin Books and won the Arthur Ellis Award for ‘Best First Novel’ in 2014. His second novel ‘Husk’ was published in 2015.


             “Never tell me the odds.” – Han Solo

            By the time I’d finished my novel Bait in the summer of 2012, failure was no longer an option. I didn’t know what my chances were in the publishing world, and truthfully, I didn’t want to know. Bait was my third attempt at writing a book, and I felt I really had something. It also felt like time was running out. For years I’d ignored all the advice to “pick a real career” or “get job security”. Instead, I went all in on my dreams, never formulating a fallback plan, making sure there was no safety net beneath me to raise the stakes. Now, eight years into a ‘ten-year’ success plan, I found myself nearing the end of my tether. My writing career had gotten little traction. No real publishing credits or measurable success could be identified. My other career in music had withered and died. That, combined with the recession, landed me in a bad spot financially.

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