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Interview with Anne Duguid – Teacher, Journalist and Freelance Editor

Anne Duguid Copyright © 2014

Anne Duguid
Copyright © 2014

“Interview with Anne Duguid – Teacher, Journalist and Freelance Editor”

Part of the  Interviews on Authors I Admire Series

Thank you, Anne Duguid, for being a guest on my blog.

I am glad to be here.


  1. How did you do in English as a kid?

I loved English and was always top of the class in my primary school. I read long before I went to school and must have been an appalling PITA. Fortunately, my teachers all had book cupboards and sent me off to read when I was being too much of a know-it-all.

  1. When did you decide to become an author?

I remember the day. I was eight and saw my name in print under a poem in the school magazine. I decided to build on the success and write my first children’s book in the school holidays. The leading character was an elf imprisoned in a cardboard box. Sadly I found no way for him to escape and that was the end of that.

  1. What’s your favorite book? Why?

No, sorry, can’t answer this at all. I read seven to ten books most weeks and the favorites are those which leave me feeling bereft when I’ve finished.

  1. Are your characters based on real people?

I have photos pinned on my cork board to remind me of physical characteristics of my longer-running characters—some of them have been hanging around for years waiting for me to finish their story, poor things. Good job that Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author never found me. They’d still be wandering round. My characters are mostly second-hand, with quirks taken from actors portraying real people.

  1. Did you outline and plan your books before you wrote them or did these stories flow on their own?

I flew by the seat of my pants for the first few books and loved how the characters took over to sort out their own problems but the resulting novels had flaws even I could see, most of them fatal. Now, I outline and plan but not rigidly. There is always leeway for characters to use freewill.

  1. How much research did you have to do for writing and/or publishing your books or manuscript in progress? What helped you in doing your research that others could benefit by your experience?

I try to write from experiences I know about. As a national journalist, I learned how to research quickly, who to go to rather than what to read. This makes the research much faster. There are many Internet sites set up to link authors and journalists with experts in their field, for instance http://www.experts.com/Consultants/Categories

  1. Did you cry while writing one of your books?

Only when I wrote something unbelievably bad and couldn’t work out how to make my words match the image I saw in my head.

  1. Do you have trouble saying goodbye to your characters when the book is finished?

Both when writing and editing, yes. Some characters stay in the mind like friends forever. This is why writing a series is a good option for me. It’s also a proven way to build readership rather than writing stand-alones.

  1. What’s your favorite book you’ve written?

The one I’m writing or editing at the time. So now it’s ShriekWeek—a novella for a Halloween Anthology—but it’s also coming out as a single title in mid-October. It was a challenge to write a cozy mystery in 15,000 words. There are a few unresolved issues but this leaves the way open for later books to fill in the gaps.

  1. What is your favorite genre?
    Only one? Mystery—preferably with historical background.
  1. What’s your advice for outlining a compelling plot?

I start by reading everything there is about plotting lol. The first method I ever used was the Snowflake method and that was an excellent start. I use James Scott Bell’s Revisions and Self-Editing. We recommend it in the Savvy Authors’ EditPalooza workshop to check that everything is in place and fits together.

For the novella I’m writing now, I did a mathematical summary for the outline which I’ll share after the book is released as a free report for subscribers to my blog. It’s a composite of novel and screenwriting plans and it keeps me on track when my characters try to take off in all directions.

  1. Tell us about your job as an editor?

I love content editing, which has to do with the plot development rather than the grammatical nuts and bolts, and freelance for two of the best Indie publishers in the business.

  1. Any hints for writers?

Writers nowadays have to be totally professional, follow submission guidelines and be prepared to be flexible.

If you want to publish without changing a word, use self-publishing. Editors are in place because they know the market and know what sells.

Start the story with the problem that sets everything in motion and move forward from there. Keep back story to the minimum. Filter it in only as and when needed.

  1. Are there submission guidelines for the publishers you work with? Give us links, please.

The competition for acceptance at both The Wild Rose Press and MuseItUp Publishing is high.

Read about each of their imprints carefully to select the right line for your query. Read what is requested and follow the directions carefully.

  1. Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you as a writer?
  • This would make a book of acknowledgements in its own right! If it had not been for PubSubbers— www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com —making me feel so guilty and chivvying me along never to give up, I might never have submitted my novel at all. (Thank you. I am so glad Pub Subbers helped you. Hip Hip Hooray for you.)
  • Lea Schizas and the presenters of the Muse Online Writers Conference http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com spring to mind for all the great advice and support.
  • Holly Lisle at www.hollylisle.com whose courses are very comprehensive and she gives great advice and support.
  • Marg. McAlister with her tips and challenges at http://www.writing4success.com,
  • Ruth Barringham of www.writeaholics.net.
  • Reading, reading, reading also helped me.
  • I once had an unnecessarily nasty put down in a critique group which felled me for a bit, but now sits in the back of my mind as motivation to succeed.
  1. What are your favorite blog posts?

Blogs which offer great value and unstinting help to their readers are an outstanding way to increase marketing potential.

  1. Please tell us more about your new book that is coming out October 13, 2014.

ShriekWeek (one word), which I wrote as Anne Knol, was written in answer to a Wild Rose Press call for Halloween themed ​​stories of no more than 15,000 words. The deadline date was six months away so I figured I’d write 1,000 words a week(!) and have two months left for revision. That, of course, did not happen.

I sent in a detailed synopsis, strong with a goal, motivation, and conflict for hero, heroine and villain and a blurb ( one paragraph for heroine’s goal, one for hero’s goal and a final paragraph for the conflict.)

The editor approved them, but changed them as the story developed. My original synopsis was too complicated to develop in a few words and I was forever tweaking blurbs.

In the end I probably wrote twice the number of words needed and spent my revision time cutting back. I hit the deadline at the very last moment.

I read cozy mysteries all the time. Agatha Christie is a great proponent of the cozy mystery genre. Think of Miss Marple or Poirot. The murders take place in the main off-stage, any violence is, for the most part, described, not enacted. The murder is not solved by an official figure, but by a member of the community where it takes place which could be a traditional small town, village, theatrical cast, or a golf club. There is often a sweet romance element, too.

I knew my characters, knew my synopsis, made a file card system for characters and events and still I struggled. The first three chapters came easily but I could not tie all the threads in the final chapters. I was forever forgetting to plant the necessary clues. I just had no idea how difficult it was going to be.

I have a marvelous editor in Nancy Swanson who suggested I write a series to resolve the unanswered questions readers may have after reading ShriekWeek so several of the characters are now to have a book of their own, provided I attract enough readers (hint, hint.)

As an incentive to any writers who buy the book–watch my blog in mid October–I shall share my synopsis plans, blurb thoughts, writing plans/muddles for my second novella as it progresses in a free mini Write Your Own Novella course. I’m going for a summer story so suggest, unless you’re self-publishing, you also choose that time of year or later.

I do recommend keeping an eye out for requests for themed submissions–Christmas, St. Valentine’s Day, and Easter are often requested–and remember that your ideas need to be in at least nine months before your chosen date.

And if you’re a slow writer like me, you may find that limiting your word power makes it easier to write more.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Anne, for a wonderful interview filled with great advice and powerful information Cozy Mysteries and about submitting manuscripts to publishers.

Anne Duguid is a teacher, journalist and freelance editor who has been encouraging writers and talking to imaginary friends for a very long time. She blogs at http://slowandsteadywriters.blogspot.com


Anne is offering one reader a free critique of first 1000 words of a fiction or non-fiction manuscript as a gift for responding with a comment between now and midnight September 16, 2014.  Random.org will choose the winner. I will announce the winner in a new post on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

Believe in you and your writing.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


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12 Affirmations for Writers.




40 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts

The Signs 41

Copyright © 2013-2017 Joan Y. Edwards and Her Licensors.

“40 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts” by Joan Y. Edwards

Your revised and edited manuscripts are saying:

“Send me to a publisher.  Send me. Send me. I’m ready!”

It’s okay if in the past you didn’t submit your work, as many times as you desired. Forget about the past. Right now is a different time. Focus on this month. Check the guidelines for the publisher you’ve chosen. Look at the books they published. Do you like the illustrations on the covers? Are the books appealing to you?

If you’re like me, one of your finished works says, “Send me to a publisher. Send me. Send me. I’m ready!” about 3 times a day (See picture above). It’s waited anxiously for submission for days, months, or years. Now is the time to send your manuscript to a publisher. How can you turn down your sweet manuscript?

You’ve decided to do it now. Hurray! It’s important to follow the very latest guidelines on the publisher’s website. Does this publisher accept unsolicited manuscripts?  Do they want paper or online submissions? Are there certain months, they don’t accept submissions?

My finished manuscripts beg me constantly to submit them, so I made a list of all the publisher guidelines (current as of today’s post).  I shared the results with you below:

Updated January 3, 2017. I added a few and took out a few who no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts. Thanks for reading. Good luck with the publication of your work.

Some companies may offer you the opportunity to self-publish or vanity publish with them. Don’t do it. Go to a traditional publisher who does not charge you money for anything. I plan to make a list of self-publishing companies that I know are reputable during 2017.


1. Baen Books (Adults) Submission Guidelines Specialized

Baen Books is a science fiction and fantasy publisher. It accepts unsolicited manuscripts for all books and prefers electronic submissions through its manuscript-submission form. Baen is very accepting of new authors and has a large e-publishing department.

2. Blaze Vox Books (Adults) Submission Guidelines –

3. Chelsea Green Publishing (Adults) Submission Guidelines Specialized

4. DAW Books (Adults) Submission Guidelines Specialized

DAW Books is the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Penguin Books. It accepts unsolicited manuscripts and prefers them in paper form. It will respond in about three months and will not consider simultaneous submissions.

5. Chicago Review Press (Adults) Fiction, Nonfiction, Memoirs

6. Diversion Books (Adults)

FAQs about Diversion Books

7. Harlequin Romance

8. Hub City Press

Hub City Press publishes books of literary fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, regional nonfiction, nature, and art.  Uses Submittable Software for submissions.

Hub City Press is not looking for the following categories: romance, science fiction, true crime, mystery, cookbooks, how-to books, horror/paranormal or specific-religion inspirational books. Please do not send us a query if your book has already been self-published, even only as an eBook.

9. Joffe Books (Adult Novels)

  • Thrillers, Mysteries, Detective, Romance, Horror, Suspense, and Literary Fiction are favorite genres
  • Great books which say something interesting about the world as you see it
  • We prefer full-length novels

10. Kensington Publishing Corporation (Adults) Fiction and Non-Fiction. See this submission page for more information.

10. NCM Publishing (Adults and Young Adult)

NCM Publishing publishes all genres of fiction, non-fiction, self-help and young adult fiction.

11a Press 53 (Adults poetry and short stories)

Uses Submittable Software for submissions.

11b. Regal Crest Non-Fiction (Adults)

Topics of interest to both alternative (GLBTQ) readers as well as mainstream readers including, but not limited to humor, popular culture, current events and politics, psychology, erotica, education, health, sports, travel, pets, biography and memoir, social issues, and history. We are also interested in anthologies and How-To books (such as writing instruction), and depending upon the approach, we may also be interested in topics in the fields of business, sociology, and religion.

12. Persea Publishing (Adult and Young Adult)

13. Science Fiction and Fantasy Publications (Adults)

14. Sky Horse Publishing (Adult Non-Fiction)

15. Poets and Writers Small Presses Database for Poets and Writers (Adult)

Search for small publishers who publish poetry or collections of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction (memoir), etc. You can filter the genres and it will show you your choices.

16. City Lights Press (Adult and Young Adult)

Adults and Children

17. Arthur A. Levine Books (Adults and Children)

18. August Books (Adults and Children)Adult books about storytelling and collections of folktales.

Children’s books – Original folktales

19. Chronicle Books (Adults and Children)

20. Dream Big Publishing (Adult Novels, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Short Stories) Submission Guidelines

Dream Big Publishing is looking for fiction works. Full length novels – 20,000  words and up, 120,000 + words, if applicable for the work, may be split into separate novels.  Short stories are acceptable. No non-fiction.

21. Free Spirit Publishing (Children, Teens, Parents, Educators, Counselors)

Free Spirit Publishing publishes high-quality nonfiction books and learning materials for children, teens, parents, educators, counselors, and others who live and work with young people.

22a. Light Messages Publishing (Adult and Children)

22b.  MuseItUp Publishing (Adults and Children) They have special times for submissions. Read their guidelines.

23. Pants on Fire Press (Adult Fiction and Children)

24. Peachtree (Adults and Children)

25. Sterling Publishing (Adult and Children)

26. Stone Pier Press (Adult and Children) Specialized about food and the environment

27. Woodbine House (Adult and will consider Children) (Marketing Plan)

Mostly publishes books for parents of special needs, but said they would look at submissions for children’s books, too.


28. Albert Whitman & Company (Children)

Picture book manuscripts for ages 2-8.

Novels and chapter books for ages 8-12.

Young adult novels.

Nonfiction for ages 3-12 and YA.

Art samples showing pictures of children.

29. Boyds Mills (Children) Can’t find an updated listing of guidelines. I’ll contact them and see.

Boyds Mills is a publisher of children’s and young adult books that accepts unsolicited manuscripts. It is looking for fiction, nonfiction and artwork submissions. It prefers submissions by regular mail, rather that email, and says it will respond within three months.

30. Charlesbridge (Children)

Charlesbridge offers free activities and downloadable items:  http://www.charlesbridge.com/client/client_pages/downloadables.cfm

31. Curious Fox (Children)

Curious Fox does not publish picture books

32. Dawn Publications (Children)

Dawn publishes “nature awareness” titles for adults and children. Our picture books are intended to encourage an appreciation for nature and a respectful participation in it. We are seeking to inspire children as well as educate them. An inspired child is a motivated.

33. Dial Books For Young Readers (Children)

34. Flashlight Press (Children)

Flashlight accepts only picture books.

35. Guardian Angel Publishing (Children)

Open to submissions only from JULY 1 to AUGUST 31, 2017.

35a. Ideals Children’s Books (Children)


36. Holiday House (Children)

37. Just Us Books and Marimba Books (Black and Multi-Cultural Children’s books) Click on Contacts and scroll down for submission guidelines.

38. Lee & Low Books (Children of Color)

Lee & Low Books publishes books for children and young adults with a multicultural theme. All manuscripts must be aimed at children of color, with an authentic voice. They accept submissions from new authors through regular mail. They accept no email submissions.

39. Little Pickle Press (Children) Middle Grade and Young Adult

40. Onstage Publishing (Children)  chapter books, middle grade novels and young adult novels

40a. Ripple Grove Press (Children) Picture Books only (Ages 2-6)

41. Saguaro Books, LLC (Middle and Young Adult)

Saguaro Books, LLC is a publisher of middle grade and young adult fiction by first-time authors. They also accept unsolicited manuscripts.

42. Sky Pony Press (Children)

43. Tall Tails Publishing House (Children)

Small independent children’s press, Krystal Russell, Phone: 918-770-9923,


Charlotte Dillon has an awesome list of publishers and agents and many resources: http://www.charlottedillon.com/PubsAgents.html

Check these articles for romance publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts:

Romance Publishers

  1. Karen Fox. “(Romance) Publishers:” http://www.karenafox.com/publishers.htm (worldwide)
  2. RTBookReviews. “Seven (Romance) Publishers Now Accepting Manuscripts:” http://www.rtbookreviews.com/rt-daily-blog/seven-publishers-now-accepting-manuscripts


Updated January 27, 2017.

Thanks for reading my blog. I hope you’ll subscribe. May you reach all of your heart’s desires!  Good luck with all your writing endeavors and your life.


If you are looking for an agent, check out “18 Literary Agents Who Are Looking for You:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/18-literary-agents-who-are-looking-for-you/

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2013-2017 Joan Y. Edwards


Resources for writing your manuscript and query letter:

Here’s a three-week plan to get your manuscript, query, cover letter, and/or proposal in gear. Week 4 gets you to celebrate and write another story.


Pub Subbers

Week 1 Send manuscript off for final critique before submission. Choose publisher or agent. Print Guidelines.

Week 2 Write pitch, query, cover letter, proposal, etc. to make a good impression.

Week 3 Proof read everything. Submit this week.

Week 4 Celebrate life. Write another story.

Believe in you and your writing. Submit your manuscript.

Your Manuscript and Query Letter


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