Antony Dunford’s Publication Journey

Antony Dunford’s Publication Journey

Welcome to Antony Dunford’s Publication Journey, another in the occasional series of guest posts by authors who reveal their journey to getting published. Antony’s journey led him to successful independent publishers Hobeck Books and a number of literary accolades for his novel, Hunted.

Over to Antony:

How I Got Published by Antony Dunford

I don’t remember how I first got published, because I didn’t know about it until later. I was about 15, and into writing drama and poetry. I hadn’t entirely embraced the spirit of writing at that point, as I mostly read novels, but mostly wrote plays and poems because they had less words and were thus ‘easier’ (how wrong can one precocious teenager be?!). But some encouraging teacher-figure read some of my poetry, asked for a copy of one of the poems, and snuck it in some local magazine. I found out when someone congratulated me on its publication. I was devastated.

Fortunately, I can neither remember the name of the poem nor the reason for the feeling of devastation.

My next step on the road to publication came five years later, or thereabouts. I had moved on from plays and poems to short stories, and then to novellas, largely because me and a mate went through a J T Edson phase which was principally due to having access to second hand copies of JT’s books at the pocket-money-friendly price of ten pence. I wrote a fifty thousand word fantasy novella and whizzed it off to a small publishing house that was open for submissions. Six weeks later I opened the rejection with initially excitement that swiftly chilled to sorrow. The person who had written the rejection included a few reasons for it. Too many characters… the names are confusing… the grammar needs some work. At the time, of course, I instantly went into denial. I know now that not only were those comments quite correct (no one had read it except me, and I’d only read it once and not edited it, so it will have been awful), but it was also incredibly generous of the individual penning them to take the time to do so.

I kept going. Twenty years later a P.I. spoof I wrote that was unoriginally something halfway between Philip Marlowe and Dirk Gently, won a comic writing competition run by a website called CheerReader, which included a prize of €100. Sadly, CheerReader is no longer around, and nor is the €100.

The next success was simple publication by submission, rather than competition, in a beautiful Australian literary magazine called Meniscus. Volume 6, Issue 1. The story, A Homecoming, is still something of a personal favourite.

But my biggest milestone was with Hunted. I wrote it in about four months. I left it to gestate for six months, then smoothed out the rough edges. Then, naively, I sent it out to agents, five in total. I sent it to them one at a time, waiting until either they’d rejected it, or the response time on their submission details had elapsed. I had been planning to send it to a sixth agent, with the idea that if that didn’t work, I would shove it in a drawer and write something else and try again. But a conversation with a friend told me a new independent publisher, Hobeck, were open for submissions. So I submitted it.

I had a full request in twenty-four hours, and an offer to publish it within a week. Then there was the whirlwind of cover design, author photo shoot (why, why do folk need to see what authors look like?), publication date selection. And then it went to an editor. Who suggested some changes. They were good changes. There were quite a lot of them. I got on with it as quickly as I could, but they still took a long time. The publisher tried to push the publication date back, but Amazon aren’t keen on that. So I edited some more. Pretty sure by the time I tell this story I will have submitted the final version by time machine three weeks after it was published. For now, let’s just say the final version was sent not long before publication.

Then I went for a lie down.

About Antony

Antony Dunford is a crime writer from Bradford in West Yorkshire. He went to university in York, then in York again, then in Cambridge, then St Albans, and most recently Norwich. He has worked in IT project management for more than 20 years, which proved to be excellent preparation for his series of thrillers set in Africa dealing with wildlife crime and conservation. His debut novel, Hunted, was published by Hobeck Books on 26th January 2021. He is currently working on the sequel, Endangered.

Twitter: @antony_dunford


About Hunted

‘In the Kenyan Savannah, Norwegian special forces veteran Jane Haven is one badass ranger you don’t want to cross.’ Jack Leavers, author of Appetite for Risk

Once a member of the world’s first all-female special forces unit, the Norwegian Hunter Troop, Jane Haven is now helping her brother Kennet protect some of the world’s most endangered animals at his Kenyan Wildlife Conservancy.

Drawn away from her vigil protecting Douglas, the world’s last remaining male Northern White rhino, Jane returns to find a scene of devastation and murder.

Everything and everyone Jane cares for is affected.

Before she can track down the killers, Jane finds that she’s the one being hunted.

But they picked the wrong woman to take the blame.

Hunted is a thrilling adventure that transports the reader into the savage beauty of the African bush.

Longlisted for a Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2022!
Winner of a Chill With A Book Premier Readers’ Award
Winner of a Chill With A Book Book of the Month Award
Longlisted for the 2020 Grindstone Literary Novel Prize
Shortlisted for the 2019 UEA Crime Writing Prize

Purchase link: Amazon

I hope you enjoyed Antony Dunford’s Publication Journey. Here are links to previous authors who have written their Publication Journey stories for the blog:

Jackie Baldwin

Penny Batchelor

Amanda Brittany

Alice Castle

Anne Coates

Helen Cooper

Chris Curran

Judi Daykin

Harry Fisher

S.E. Lynes

A.B. Morgan

Maureen Myant

Jonathan Peace

Sue Shepherd

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is a British author. Under the name Rae Sargeant, she writes the Gleveham Killers Suspense series, published by Hobeck Books. The first title is Her Deadly Friend. Her titles as Rachel Sargeant, with HarperCollins, are: The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university during freshers' week; The Good Teacher, a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams, and The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller set in Germany. Rachel grew up in Lincolnshire, studied at Aberystwyth University, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her family. She holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham.

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