Publishing World Wisdom from Christine DeSmet

This month Christine DeSmet is sharing the advice she wishes she could tell her pre-published self! Such good advice this month! Christine pens fabulous novels but she's also a wonderful writing coach, teacher, and editor. In fact, she was the first professional to critique the initial pages of my very first book-length work, offering excellent advice and encouragement. If you're a writer looking for guidance on your publishing journey, I highly recommend Christine. Her newest Fudge Shop Mystery, Holly Jolly Fudge Folly, comes out this month. (See the full description below!)


Christine DeSmet is an award-winning author, screenwriter, writing teacher, and writing coach/developmental editor. Her new novel is the November release, Holly Jolly Fudge Folly, sixth book in the Fudge Shop Mystery series. Christine has also written sweet romantic-mystery novellas, starting with When Rudolph Was Kidnapped. Her books are available from her publisher through Amazon, and Mystery to Me bookstore in Madison, Wis., and Kismet bookstore in Verona, Wis.


If I could go back and talk to my pre-published self, what advice would I give?

I would tell myself to find a mentor and be wary of critique groups that aren’t serious enough because time is precious. I’d tell myself to attend even more workshops to hone my craft faster. I would tell myself to write and revise even more and be crazy-creative with what I was writing.

Mentors and educational programs cut the pain of trial-and-error, cut the time, cut mistakes made, AND they energize the writer and help them set goals that work.

Fortunately I’m also a trained journalist and learned how to set my own deadlines and keep them. Over the years I’ve witnessed many writers struggling with self-discipline or waiting for a special time or month to write. Don’t “wait” for January resolutions or the November Novel-in-a-Month program. That program is excellent, but I ask this:  Why are you waiting 11 months? Why aren’t you writing every month or starting in any month?

When I started many years ago, mentors, coaches, and workshops weren’t as available as now. A writer today can find any number of online or other workshops, coaches and mentors, editors, critique groups, and conferences.

The writing landscape has exploded into an abundant educational marketplace in the past 20 or so years, and all of us are lucky. 

What do I wish I had known before publishing my first book? 

I wish I’d known getting an agent might take over 100 queries and several revisions. Patience and hard work will get you an agent, if that’s your goal. Nobody was there saying that when I started out. Now I say it all the time to my clients. And of course, an agent is only one of many ways to create your publishing path and I support the many paths. I was a pioneer in the late 1990s publishing a novel on a compact disk!


Holly Jolly Fudge Folly

After Ava Oosterling’s grandfather steals a snowplow on Main Street, it appears he was covering up a murder—not what townspeople want from their Santa Claus. More trouble surrounds fudge-maker Ava as mysterious elves leave her daily gifts and a homeless woman with a baby asks for a room at Ava’s inn. Set in Door County, Wisconsin. To shop for Fudge Shop Mysteries on Amazon click here or here



When Rudolph Was Kidnapped

When her pet reindeer, Rudolph, is stolen from the live animal display, first-grade teacher Crystal Hagan discovers the prime suspect is a man in a mansion known as the “North Pole.” To her shock, Peter LeBarron won’t give back Rudolph without some “negotiations.” Cozy content. Set in northern Wisconsin. Shop on Amazon for the the Mischief in Moonstone series here.

Learn more about Christine and her books on her website at: 


I didn't know that you also started out as a journalist. Accurate remark about setting deadlines and their importance. As usual, excellent advice. Christine is the best helper, editor, advisor a writer could ever hope to find! (And a wonderful writer herself.)

I agree, Ann! I need to take her advice about deadlines to heart. (Which means I need to close down all my other programs right now and get writing on my work in progress!)

Thank you Christine! Your advice is always helpful. Now that you mention it, the critique group piece is key for me. It's best to connect with writers who are as prolific and ambitions as you are. And it helps if you write the same genre. Twelve years into my journey, I think I finally found one that will work!

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