Jennifer Hillier

Guest Post by Todd Ritter: How to get published in 10 easy steps

Sep 26, 2011 | Uncategorized

I’m happy to welcome fellow thriller author Todd Ritter, author of DEATH NOTICE and the upcoming BAD MOON (Minotaur Books) to The Serial Killer Files! I’ve asked Todd to share his publishing journey. I know you’ll find his take on it as hilarious as I did.

By Todd Ritter

Step 1: Come up with a great idea for a mystery novel while working nights at a newspaper. Example: Serial killer sends the obituaries of his victims to the local paper — before he strikes.

Step 2: Try to ignore this idea for months until you get a headache from avoiding it. Eventually, come to terms with the fact that you’ve decided to write a book. Title it DEATH NOTICE.

Step 3: Research things you’d never thought you’d learn about, such as embalming, crime scene analysis and opera. For fun, throw in taxidermy, mostly because it’s a very twisted hobby your father enjoys. Write the first draft in a flurry of creativity that you have never experienced before or since. Estimated time: Three months.

Step 4: Write a query letter and post it on a writing forum for advice. Try not to cry when the general consensus is that you suck and you’ll fail at everything you do.

Step 5: Send query letter to an agent. Be rejected.

Step 6: Repeat Step 5 more than a hundred times over the course of three years, rewriting your book from top to bottom more times than you can count. Drink heavily. Once again, try not to cry. (Tip: It is advisable that you skip this step and proceed to Step 7.)

Step 7: Rejoice when an agent finally says she wants to represent you! Prepare yourself to wait patiently for many months while trying to ignore the fact that life-changing news could come at any moment. Drink heavily.

Step 8: Rejoice even more when your agent calls you at work to congratulate you on your two-book deal! Breathlessly tell a co-worker, who cries with happiness. Tell your boss, who kindly lets you take the rest of the day off to celebrate.

Step 9: Prepare yourself to wait patiently (again) for 18 months while your editor suggests changes, you review typeset pages, you look at potential book covers, you see your book on listed on (!) and get that first, glowing review.

Step 10: Stay up late the night before your book is scheduled for release. When the clock strikes midnight, celebrate that you are officially a published author. Try not to think that you now have to write another book. Drink heavily.

Thanks, Todd! You know I can relate, especially to step 10.

About Todd:

Todd Ritter was born and raised in rural Pennsylvania. An editor and journalist for more than 15 years, Todd began his career as a film critic while attending Penn State University. Currently, he works for The Star-Ledger, a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and New Jersey’s largest daily newspaper. His first mystery, DEATH NOTICE, was released last year by Minotaur Books. His second, BAD MOON, will be published on October 11. Visit him online at

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