Archive for the Echelon Press Category

Status Update

I started a job last week at the Register Guard, our local paper. I’m writing features for the special sections (supplements to the paper with titles like Home & Garden and Tastings). It’s 19 hours a week with no benefits, but I am truly grateful to have a steady source of income. And so far, I like it a lot.

I hit 52,000 words on my third Detective Jackson story today and am on track to finish the first draft by mid-March as planned. I’m excited about how this story is turning out; it’s richer and more complex than I first imagined it to be.

The Sex Club will soon be available as an e-book from Echelon Press. I’m excited to make this story available to a much broader range of readers.

I entered one of my novels, The Baby Thief, into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. I rarely enter contests, but decided there wasn’t any reason not to. There’s no fee, and it’s an upload submission so there’s no mailing costs either. What the heck?

What’s your status? Share your news!

New Day, New Goals

Last January, I set two main goals for the year: 1) establish a freelance fiction editing business and 2) write and sell a second Detective Jackson novel. With the help of a layoff from my job, I sort of accomplished the first. And yesterday, I signed with Echelon Press to publish Secrets to Die For next September, so I can happily check off the second goal.

And I did it with two months to spare, so now I can write like crazy on the third Jackson story during November, also known as National Novel Writing Month. I don’t expect to finish the novel in 30 days, but if I have 30,000 words down by December, I’ll be very happy. (And yes, technically it’s a new goal.)

I’ve also come to accept the idea that the publishing industry is moving—slowly—away from paper products. In fact, I bought a Kindle the other day (I still have a credit card!), something I never thought I would do. (It hasn’t arrived, so I can’t report on it yet, but I will eventually.) So now I’m thinking seriously about nonpaper media, with ideas such as 1) creating an audio version (podiobook) of The Sex Club, 2) creating a downloadable e-book of a story I wrote years ago and never tried to sell, and 3) podcasting the first chapter of several of my stories. All viable projects—all time consuming. But I have two months to spare this year, so why not branch out?

Submitting Directly to Small Publishers

I gather publisher names the way some people collect author names, and my list now totals nearly 100. Many of the companies are imprints owned by big houses, and many are niche publishers aimed at a specific market (Christian, gay/lesbian). I culled out a few small publishers that accept a variety of submissions directly from authors. They share a few basic guidelines:

  • They want manuscripts that are 65,000–95,000 words.
  • They print in paperback form only.
  • They do NOT want paper submissions.
  • They can take six months or more to respond to submissions.

Here’s a little more information about each:

Echelon Press
Publishes a variety of novels, romantic suspense to mystery to self-help. It also has an erotic and young adult imprint. Echelon is currently NOT accepting any submissions for print books, but it is taking submissions for e-books. The company also publishes novellas and short stories. Query by e-mail and follow directions.

Five Star Publishing
Publishes a wide variety as well, but is currently looking for romance, women’s fiction, and mystery (which includes suspense/thrillers). It publishes almost 150 books a year but sells mostly to libraries. So as an author, you’ll have to do the work to get your novel into bookstores. Query by e-mail.

Medallion Press
Also publishes a wide variety of genres, including nonfiction. Accepts both paper and e-queries and says it can take up to 12 months to respond to submissions. Follow directions!

Hilliard & Harris
Publishes primarily mystery series, but also accepts thrillers, sci-fi, horror, historical fiction and some young adult within those categories. The rumor mill says this company is hard on authors.

The following publishes are more narrowly focused on some time of crime story:

Poisoned Pen Press
This is the largest in this group, but you do not need an agent to submit. PPP publishes mystery/crime, but no incest, torture, drugs, terrorists, or spy stories. Start with an e-mail query and proceed from there.

Capital Crime Press
As implied, it publishes crime stories and seems to be looking for edgier submissions—the stories Poisoned Pen doesn’t want. Start with e-mail query. Its website is outdated, so I can’t tell if it’s taking submissions or not.

Midnight Ink
Publishes mystery fiction and suspenseful tales of all types: hard-boiled thrillers, cozies, historical mysteries, amateur sleuth novels, and more. Accepts e-mail submissions only. Currently closed to submissions except through referrals from its published authors.

Hard Case Crime
Publishes hard-boiled crime stories and picks up out-of-print crime classics from the past. Accepts e-mail queries, but no guidelines are given.

Bouchcon: Live in the Moment


Kudos to everyone who was able to blog about Bouchercon while they were there. I had good intentions, but I was just too tired at the end of each day to feel coherent. I also failed to take very many pictures. But I decided early in the conference that it was more important to experience every moment and to meet every person that I could rather than to record the event in detail. I decided to live in the moment. For example, it made more sense to me on my last night there to go out to a late dinner with other writers (including Simon Wood) than to sit in my hotel room, blogging about the day. It was the right choice. (Above picture is me with Shane Gericke and Robin Burcell.)

My objectives for the conference were to meet as many people as I could and to give away as many books and promotional materials as I could. I also hoped to get know Karen Syed of Echelon Press. I accomplished all those things. And more. Here are some memorable moments.

I met Troy Cook, author of 47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers. He is a sweet, modest man who is rapidly on his way to the top. Hearing his story—having several agents fail to sell his book, then getting picked up by a small press on his own, followed by great reviews, awards, great sales, and a movie deal—was very inspiring.

I also shared a long shuttle ride to the airport with Julia Spenser-Fleming, (an award-winning mystery author) and we talked seamlessly for more than an hour. She’s bright and friendly, and I enjoyed her company. She probably won’t remember my name, but you never know. I feel like I made a connection with her.

The panel I was on Saturday morning with Bob Morris, Jack Getze, Rebecca Drake, and Marion Moore was a blast. Bob and Jack told wild stories about their days in the newspaper business (including large amounts of alcohol and occasional gunshots), and I got in some good jokes about working for a pharmaceutical magazine. Being anal, I also prepared a handout for the attendees, listing about 20 authors who write about reporter characters. So that roomful of people will remember me. It’s important to promote other authors when you can and to resist the urge to talk incessantly about your own book. In fact, when I met an online friend and mystery lover, he commented that was what he really liked about me—that I’m everywhere online, making friends and being nice, but never going for the hard sell.

Another observation: People who are friendly online are friendly in person! And mystery fans are great—warm, friendly, and happy to meet anyone who writes the stories they like to read. In fact, Kaye Barley may be the sweetest person I’ve ever met. (Picture below: Michelle Gagnon and Ken Bruen)

I may keep adding to this blog as I sort through my notes and business cards, so check back.

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LATEST REVIEWS

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were compelling, the procedural work was dead-on, and the story was enthralling. Definitely recommended.”
~Michelle Gagnon, author of Boneyard
The author expertly intertwines multiple story lines, presents readers with fully realized characters that readers will feel they know, and keeps the action and suspense levels high. That’s a lot to expect from an author but L. J. Sellers delivers.” ~OverMyDeadBody
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