The Search for a Publisher: A Firsthand Report

I edited Kate Penndorf’s book two years and loved her middle grade fantasy novel about a young girl, Freya, who travels back in time to ancient Norway. Although I would love have seen her book published by Open Door Publications, I knew that since we specialize in adult non-fiction, we weren’t the right publisher for her. I encouraged her to seek an agent and a publisher and I’m now proud to say that her book will be published in 2012 by Crescent Moon Publishers. Here’s Kate’s story of locating a publisher for her book.

By Kate Penndorf

The old adage is true: try, try again. I understood the route to publication was through an agent’s door – so that’s where I went looking. I attended conferences, sent queries, and joined a writer’s group; all in the hopes of landing an agent who would then land me a publisher. I spent so much time looking for an agent, that when I actually landed a publisher instead, I was dumbfounded.

My writer’s group, Liberty States Fiction Writers, was holding their annual conference which was to be filled with editors, agents, and publishers. So having just received a rejection letter from an agent who decided she didn’t want to be an agent anymore, I decided to go.


I had signed up for two pitch sessions, yet when I arrived was told only one would be available. Naturally it was the one I was least interested in. The name of the publisher was Crescent Moon Press, known for publishing romance novels – which mine is not. But I showed up for the appointment all the same and put my best pitch forward to the co-owner of the company. I can honestly say I wasn’t nervous because I felt nothing was riding on this meeting. All I knew was a good pitch meant you caught the interest of the other person, and you would know you did if they asked you questions. I had barely gotten into my pitch when the lady jumped in to ask questions. That made me even more relaxed. She asked about the plot, the characters, and how I saw this as a series (which is what I was pitching). Then she told me how her ten year old son would love this kind of middle grade fiction. I was happy to hear this. But it wasn’t until her next sentence that I finally started getting excited. She told me the Crescent Moon Press was expanding and opening its doors to young adult and middle grade authors. Then she said the very words I was longing to hear: she requested a full manuscript. I actually had to have her repeat the request because I was too excited to hear properly.

I walked away from the conference on cloud nine and sent her my manuscript straight away. One month went by and when I didn’t hear from her, I shot her an e-mail asking where I stood. She responded within two hours and said my manuscript was sitting with one of their acquisitions editors and I would hear back from that person one way or another. Another two months went by and I finally wrote back asking how long my manuscript would be with the acquisitions editor. An hour later I had my response; three to six months; as three months were now almost up, I sat back and decided there was nothing more to do but wait. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait much longer. About two weeks had gone by and the editor wrote me saying she loved the story and wanted to acquire it!

Now we are at the forefront of editing my manuscript with an anticipated release date of 2012!


Open Door Publications’ Book Launch Event Guide will be delivered when you sign up for the Strategies newsletter