Rejections are an unpleasant reality for writers.
After 99 of them for her classical music-themed suspense novel, STACCATO, Deborah J. Ledford tucked the manuscript into a drawer.
She dusted off the manuscript when she found out about the Next Great Crime Writer Contest, sponsored by CourtTV (now TruTV). Good thing, too. That contest led to publication of her Steven Hawk/Inola Walela trilogy, a psychological suspense series situated in the Great Smokey Mountains of western North Carolina, where Deborah spent childhood summers.
“After qualifying in the top 10 of the semi-final round, Second Wind Publishing out of Winston-Salem, NC contacted me,” said Deborah.
In addition to STACCATO, the suspense series includes CRESCENDO and The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, SNARE, which also was a finalist in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards / Suspense category.
For her short stories, Deborah is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, an honor bestowed annually by the Pushcart Press for the best “poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot” published in the small presses over the previous year. Her award-winning stories appear in numerous print publications as well as literary and mystery anthologies.
Even though her book publisher sniffed her out, Deborah recommends that new authors take the vital first step of contracting with a literary agent to pursue publication.
“But remember,” she said. “You only have one shot with the prospective representatives. Have a professional content editor look over your work, or at the very least a few other writers (preferably published authors) critique the entire manuscript before you begin sending out query letters.”
“My edict as President for the past two years is to do all I can to assist current members get published, or at the very least keep them motivated and excited to reach their personal writing goals,” said Deborah. She said that nearly all published crime fiction authors are members of Sisters in Crime and that doors begin to open when you mention being a member.
When faced with looking for joy in her everyday life, Deborah, like me, sits down to write.
“I’m most happiest (and sanest) when I’m able to write,” she said.