My guest today is mystery writer, Tom Gill. He writes about his diligence in finding the right publisher and seeing his first mystery in print. Welcome, Tom
Why I Chose
a Small Press
My first novel, a World War II tale
of intrigue, was completed in 2004. Like many other hopefuls, I shopped the
manuscript to several agents. I attended a Pitch-n-Shop workshop to hone the
query. I learned a lot about how the industry works. Still, the rejections
piled up. It was a slow, painful process, and I got a lot of advice.
“Enter contests,” one voice cried,
so I entered a Tampa based competition and everything I submitted was selected
for publication. My writing must not suck that bad, but rejections from agents kept
coming. I entered the Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary
Competition and took first place in the unpublished Mystery category. Still the
rejections trickled in. In the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, I
was ranked by readers as high as ninth place among the mysteries but the
official reviewer shot it down.
At that point, I started a second
novel, a contemporary story of a man sucked into a battle for his life by being
in the wrong place at the wrong time. This novel is more marketable, and my
queries resulted in several requests for partials and a few fulls, but no
offers of representation came. Interestingly enough, the rejections varied in
why the manuscript was rejected. Without concrete reasons, there was no way for
me to modify the manuscript to better fit their expectations.
“Attend witers’ conventions,”
another voice cried, so I joined Mystery Writers of America, which is a
terrific organization by the way, and renewed my FWA membership. At Sleuthfest,
I met a publisher and an agent, but again no offers. But in the process I
learned one valuable piece of information – not all publishers require agents!
This revelation set me on an
entirely new tack. I queried a couple of independent publishers, and got an
offer from Oak Tree Press. Dog Island is now a published reality, and I was
able to bypass the need for an agent entirely.
I understand the need for agents,
and have a pretty good idea of how they work and the value they bring, but the
process (and odds) of getting out of the slush pile and into publication is
often beyond the reach of an aspiring novelist. My experience taught me that independent
publishers are approachable and are much more willing to work with unpublished
writers. That’s why I chose the
indie route and recommend it to anyone.
Thomas Gill, Tom to his friends, is a well traveled adventurer. Having lived in Michigan, Ohio,
Wyoming, Louisiana, and the Netherlands, Tom settled in Florida with Mary Beth,
his wife. They have two lovely
daughters, who are now busy with homes of their own. www.gthomasgill.blogspot.com
army vet, Tom served at a NATO headquarters where he was introduced to
counter-espionage tactics. In civilian life, he worked on projects that gave
him access to top secret facilities such as Los Alamos, Sandia, and Livermore
Laboratories. He draws on his travels and experiences to craft stories of
suspense and intrigue that transport readers to some of the lesser-known
corners of the world. While not writing, Tom enjoys traveling with Mary Beth
and tinkering with his 1946 MG TC.
is currently Poetry Editor for Conclave: A Journal of Character and has
published several short stories and poems in Wordsmith, the Tampa Writers
Alliance annual anthology. He is also a recipient of the Florida Writers
Association prestigious Royal Palm Literary Award.
Thanks for being my guest today, Tom.