Monday, August 15, 2016

Two Publishers, Two Series

Today my guest, Judy Penz Sheluk, talks about her experience publishing her first two mysteries.

When I signed the contract with Imajin Books for SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC, the first book in my new Marketville Mystery series, several people asked me the same questions: Why didn’t I go with Barking Rain Press, the publisher of my first novel, THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE: A Glass Dolphin Mystery, would there be a sequel, and if so, who would publish it?

The answer is that in the world of publishing, anything can happen, but Sheri Gormley, the acquiring editor/publisher at Barking Rain Press, has expressed interest in publishing the sequel, as well as any other books in the Glass Dolphin Mystery series, and I couldn't be happier. BRP is a terrific small press based out of the Portland/Vancouver, Washington area, with author-friendly contract terms. Sheri and her team are also extremely collaborative, which makes them a pleasure to work with. I
anticipate publication in late 2017 or early-mid 2018.

As for part one of the question, recently I've had several author friends impacted by recent changes with their respective publishers. Knowing that, it seemed only prudent not to put all my books in one publisher’s basket.

Becoming an Imajineer:
In 2014, while I was looking for a home for NOOSE, I decided to start another book. After all, it’s easy to get out of the writing habit, and darned hard to get back into it. But try as I might, I just couldn’t bring myself to write a second book in a series I hadn’t sold. I decided to try something completely different: a first person, single POV mystery without a true “sidekick.” (NOOSE is third person, multiple POVs, and there is a definite sidekick).

Coming up with the concept:
The idea for Skeletons came to me while I was waiting in the reception area of my lawyer’s office. I was there with my husband, Mike, to change our very outdated wills, and my lawyer had been delayed in court. While Mike read the newspaper, I started scribbling notes for the book that would become SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC. The opening scenes are actually culled from that experience.

Once I’d finished SKELETONS, I started looking for a publisher. It’s important to me, as a writer and a reader, to have read and liked at least some of their books (since no one can read an entire catalogue of books…) I had read, and thoroughly enjoyed, books by several Imajin Books authors, including Melodie Campbell, Rosemary McCracken, and Kristina Stanley. I decided to submit to Imajin when they opened for submissions on March 15, 2016. It meant waiting a couple of months for that window to open, but I was willing to wait for what I believed would be the right publisher.
I sent in my manuscript on March 15th (no flies on this writer!) and did a very happy dance (the champagne helped) when Cheryl Tardif, the acquisitions editor at Imajin, emailed me with a contract just a few days later. With an August 2016 publication date, it’s been a whirlwind ever since. First, I had to create a PDF ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) and ask authors I’ve read and respected for cover blurbs if they read and enjoyed the book (thank you Jeff Buick, Ellen Byron, Annette Dashovy,
Catriona McPherson and Diane Vallere for saying yes!) to the three rounds of editing before going to the proofreader, to working with Ryan Thomas Doan, an incredible cover artist, to setting up blog hop opportunities like this one.
Like Barking Rain Press, Imajin is also interested in book #2 in the Marketville mystery series. It looks like I’m going to be busy!
Two series, two publishers. The dream continues…

What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.
Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?

About the author:
Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, was published in July 2015. Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in her Marketville Mystery Series, was published August 2016. Sequels are planned for both series in 2017.

Judy’s short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime, The Whole She-Bang 2, Flash and Bang and Live Free or Tri.
Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
Find Judy on her website/blog at, where she interviews other authors and blogs about the writing life.

Find Skeletons in the Attic here:

SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC is now available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle for the special introductory price of .99 (reg. $4.99). Find it here :



Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Marilyn. I'm happy to answer any questions.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Glad to have you here, Judy.

Linda Thorne said...

Sounds like very interesting reading. I'd rather stay with one publisher if I can and I really like the one I'm currently with, but I have heard the stories. Authors might be wise, in some cases, to "play the field." Hope to hear more about your books.

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Thanks Linda for commenting -- sorry I missed it earlier. I do think we all have to make our own informed decisions. I also think it's important to be upfront with publishers. I was, with both BRP and Imajin. I'm very happy with both. They are awesome small press publishers. But again, this is 2 different series. I don't think it would be wise -- if it's even possible -- to have one series with 2 publishers. Even when one publisher stops for whatever reason, others don't seem keen to pick up the series.