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Don’t Give Up

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 7, 2011

DON’T GIVE UP! by Lois Winston                                                                                

Lois Winston

I want to thank Nancy for inviting me to stop by her blog during my month-long blog tour to celebrate the release of my new mystery. Like Nancy, I’m published in both romance and mystery. ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, which was just released, is the first book in my new Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series from Midnight Ink. Since Nancy discusses the world of publishing on her blog, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about this particular book’s up-and-down journey to publication.

Somewhere back in 2003 my agent heard that an editor was looking for crafting mysteries. Well, she thought, who better to write a crafting mystery than a writer who’s also a designer in the crafts industry (that would be yours truly.) The conversation went something like this:

Agent: Lois, Editor A wants a crafting mystery. You should write one.

Me: Okay.

Thus was born the idea for ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN: Anastasia Pollack is the crafts editor for a women’s magazine. One night she goes back to the office to finish up some work after everyone else has left for the day and finds the fashion editor’s body hot glued to her office chair. Anastasia’s glue gun is the murder weapon, making Anastasia the prime suspect.

I fleshed out the plot and added a host of crazy characters (a communist mother-in-law, a Russian princess mother, and Anastasia’s dead husband’s loan shark) and neurotic pets (Ralph the Shakespeare quoting parrot, Catherine the Great Persian Cat, and Mephisto the Devil Dog.) I finished the book a few months later and sent it off to my agent.

Agent: I think you’re funnier than Author X!

Me (blushing): Aw shucks!                                                                      

Agent sends manuscript off to Editor A.

Editor A: I think the author is funnier than Author X!

Sounds like a sale in the making, right? Think again. Before Editor A can convince her editorial board to buy the book, she accepts a job with another publishing house where she’s not buying crafting mysteries. No one else at Editor A’s previous publishing house thinks I’m as funny as Author X.

I enter St. Martin’s Malice Domestic contest and become a finalist. Strange contest. No list of finalists is ever announced. I have no idea how many other manuscripts mine is competing against for the Golden Ticket of a book contract. I know it’s at least one other, though, because he wins. I don’t.

Agent continues to send manuscript out to Editors B, C, D, E, and F. None of them think I’m as funny as Author X. Meanwhile, I sell two other books, a humorous women’s fiction that the publisher markets as a romance and a romantic suspense.

Agent sends crafting mystery manuscript to Editor G. Editor G thinks I’m as funny as Author X! Wants to buy book! Publishing company is sold. New company decides not to publish crafting mysteries. Contract never arrives.

Meanwhile Publisher H decides to stop publishing amateur sleuth mysteries, and Publisher I cuts back drastically on their amateur sleuth line.

Agent sends manuscript to Editors J, K, and L. None of them think I’m as funny as Author X.

Agent sends manuscript to Editor M. Editor M loves book and offers 3-book deal!

The road to publication for ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN took 6 years from the day my agent suggested I write a crafting mystery until the day we received an offer for the series. Moral of the story? Don’t give up!

You can read more about me at my website, In addition, Anastasia and her fellow editors blog at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers,

As I mentioned earlier, I’m doing a blog tour this month to celebrate the release of ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN. You can find the schedule at my website and Anastasia’s blog. Everyone who posts a comment to any of the blogs over the course of the month will be entered into a drawing to receive one of 5 copies of ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN. (If your email isn’t included in your comment, email me privately at to let me know you’ve entered.) In addition, I’m also giving away an assortment of crafts books on selectedblogs during the tour, so look for those as well.                                                      

And never forget the moral of my tale: Don’t give up!              



27 Responses to “Don’t Give Up”

  1. Jacqueline Seewald said

    Hi, Lois,

    Love the way you write! Your words of encouragement are needed for all of us who submit writing. There’s a lot more rejection than acceptance.
    Your agent sounds like a treasure.

  2. Thanks, Lois, for sharing your story with my readers. You really went through the wringer on getting published. You deserve the success you’ve achieved, so here’s wishing you many book sales. The film Galaxy Quest quote is appropriate for your path to publication: “Never give up. Never surrender!”

  3. Thank you, Jacqueline! There’s definitely much more rejection than acceptance. This business takes a lot of fortitude. Writing is not for wimps or people looking for a way to get rich quick!

    Nancy, thank you for inviting me here today. It’s interesting that you quoted Galaxy Quest. It was my critique partner’s favorite quote. She used it in her email sig line. ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN was her favorite book of mine. Unfortunately she died suddenly a few years ago. This book is dedicated to her memory.

  4. I tried writing romance, but I kept ending up with a dead body.
    Hence I write romantic suspense.
    Good illlustration of the ups and mostly downs of this business.

  5. In my opinion, all great books start with a nice, juicy murder. I can’t wait to read this book!

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Chris and Melinda! There’s nothing like a dead body for making a protagonist sweat, is there?

  7. Being a published author is definitely not for the faint of heart, but your totally right: Don’t give up. As for dead bodies, in my genre the more the merrier! LOL!

  8. Sorry to hear about your critique partner, Lois. She would have been proud of your success.

  9. Thanks for stopping by, Caridad. I agree. The more dead bodies, the better. Who doesn’t love lots of plot twists?

    Nancy, thanks so much. Karen left us way too soon.

  10. Bob Doerr said

    Thanks for sharing your story. It reinforced my belief that in this business persistence is critical. I wish you the best with your book!

  11. Thank you, Bob!

  12. HI Lois. THanks for sharing your inspirational story with all of us. I can’t wait to learn about Anastasia’s adventures. I also think there’s nothing more difficult than maintaining the humor in a mystery along with the suspense of a few dead bodies littered here and there.

  13. Lois, you might be even funnier than author X, because you definitely had me laughing! I love the whole glue gun premise, by the way. I so agree with you about never giving up. I didn’t sell until my 6th ms. (maybe 6 is a magic number?) but I eventually sold #s 4 and 5 as well. Persistence is key! All the best with your new release!

  14. Thank you, Cindy! I hope you enjoy reading about Anastasia.

    Allison, thanks! and thanks for letting me know I made you laugh. I don’t know if 6 is a magic number, but it certainly turned out to be so for you. Congratulations!

  15. I must be a slow learner, because it was my seventh book that sold. Alas, the earlier books still languish in my files.

  16. That you for sharing your journey with us. Your tenacity is inspirational. Next time I get frustrated at X, Y, or Z, I’m going to think of you. Congratulations on getting that book sold!!

  17. Thank you, Dorothy!

    And Nancy, thank you so much for inviting me to join you here today.

  18. It’s been my pleasure, Lois. You’ve inspired all of us.

  19. jeff7salter said

    Thanks for sharing the details of your story (I mean the wait for your story to be published).
    What a strange world we write in.

  20. Ah, Jeff, you know what they say: truth is stranger than fiction.

  21. Congrats on a happy ending to your story! I find it very encouraging, under my current circumstance 🙂

    ANd I loved your first couple of books–you really are funnier than Author X!

  22. Thanks so much, Deborah!

  23. Jen said

    Great story! You are funnier than Author X! (I suspect so, anyway.) I look forward to reading the book.


  24. Thanks, Jen! Hope you enjoy it.

  25. Malena said

    Sorry to be so late with my comments, but I wanted to say that I’ve been looking forward to reading your book since I started reading Anastasia’s blog some months ago. I’m sure you are much funnier than Author X, since she’s not nearly as funny as she used to be.
    Best of luck with this book, your story of the road to publication was very inspiring.

  26. phyto sc said

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    When I look at your blog in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet
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    you a quick heads up! Other then that, very good blog!

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