Turning Rejections into a Published Series

Deborah J. Ledford

Deborah J. Ledford received 99 rejections before finding a publisher.

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.

Crescendo by Deborah J. Ledford

CRESCENDO is Book Three of the Steven Hawk / Inola Walela psychological suspense thriller series.

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.”

As if writing novels and short stories wasn’t enough to keep a woman busy, Deborah is the outgoing President of the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths chapter.

“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.

“I’m also a member of Mystery Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers Association, but they aren’t nearly as helpful or supportive,” she said.

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.

Print versions of her books are available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. E-versions are available for the Kindle, Nook and other e-Book formats at Smashwords.

Deborah said she’d love to hear from you. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and the great reader/writer site Goodreads. She shares a few of her award-winning short stories on her website.

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7 Responses to Turning Rejections into a Published Series

  1. Deb does a stupendous job of supporting all of us “prepublished” writers in the Desert Sleuths chapter of Sisters in Crime. I can vouch for that!

  2. Debbie Frick says:

    Hmmm, once again you’ve whet my appetite and set me off on yet another adventure with a new author/series!

  3. Connie Flynn says:

    Deb, I’m not sure I was of aware if the history of your series and it’s good to learn something new about you. Interesting blog and it’s good to see you out and about.
    Looking forward to your new series.

  4. Deborah has helped countless writers, from Desert Sleuths on back to leading the Scottsdale Writers Group at Mustang Library. She has been absolutely selfless in her encouragement that often cut into her own writing time. Now that she’s the retiring president of the Sisters, we all hope she’ll have the freedom to bring out more thrilling books. Thank you Deb.

    • Karen Randau says:

      Virginia, thanks for stopping by and for sharing your insights about Deb. I look forward to getting to know both of you better through Desert Sleuths.

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