Linda Budzinski’s Path to Publication Story

linda_headshot_edited_smallThank you, Christi, for inviting me to share my “path to publication” story for THE FUNERAL SINGER!

That path was long and winding and involved more than a few tears. It included four years of writing and rewriting, a year of subbing, several workshops, a fun and exciting online contest, and lots and lots of rejections.

The part I want to talk about here, though, was one of the most painful parts of the process: a dreaded agent break-up.

For about five years, I’d had an agent. She was a fantastic agent, with one of the top children’s and young adult literary agencies in the business, and she represented some of my all-time favorite authors. Prior to THE FUNERAL SINGER, she’d signed with me for a middle grade mystery that went out on submission but never sold.

I was so nervous to send her THE FUNERAL SINGER. I hadn’t sent her anything in years. Would she like it? Would she want revisions? How extensive?

My heart pounded when I saw her name pop up in my email. I’ll never forget it. I was sitting at a stoplight on my way to work. I opened the email … and my heart dropped. She thanked me for sending the manuscript but indicated she did not plan to send it out. I was welcome to submit future work.

That was it? After four years of writing and re-writing, I was supposed to put it in a drawer and start the next one?

(An aside for all of you who work in an office: You know when your receptionist tells you she thinks you should go home, you were crying a little too loudly in your office. Yes, I cried. A lot.)

What would I do? I didn’t want to let my manuscript die based on one person’s opinion. It deserved better than that. But, this was a person whose opinion I respected. And as much as I hated to admit it, I knew my pride would take a blow. I loved having such a respected agent. For years I’d been able to take encouragement in knowing she’d picked me, out of all the writers out there, to represent. I was so proud to tell people she was my agent.

Now it would be back to square one. Quite a humbling moment.

But I did it. I exchanged some emails and had a great phone call with her, and ultimately made the decision to move on and try to find another home for THE FUNERAL SINGER.

As soon as I made the decision, I felt a sense of relief and hope. I didn’t know where, how, or even if my manuscript would find a home, but I was going to give it the chance it deserved.

One year, one major revision, and one contest later, I got another email. Again, my heart pounded. I opened it expecting yet another rejection, but the first line of the email made my head spin. I had to read again. And again. Then I had to read it to my husband to make sure it meant what I thought it meant.

“Hello, Linda. Thanks so much for sending us THE FUNERAL SINGER! We loved it and think it would make a wonderful addition to our list at Swoon Romance.”

Today, I have another amazing agent, Andrea Somberg from Harvey Klinger Inc., and a wonderful publisher, Swoon YA.

Sometimes you have to swallow your pride, step off your cloud, and take a risk. And sometimes you find your happily ever after.


Funeral-Singer-Budzinski-flipped-smallBeing a funeral singer was a dead-end job until it led her to him … 

Seventeen-year-old Melanie Martin has witnessed her share of lame eulogies and uninspired epitaphs while singing part-time at her dad’s funeral home. She’s determined to be more than a funeral singer, more than just someone’s “beloved wife” or “loving mother.”

When Mel’s impromptu rendition of “Amazing Grace” at a local rock star’s graveside service goes viral on YouTube, she becomes an Internet sensation, gains thousands of fans and followers, and snags a hot rock star boyfriend–Zed Logan, bass player for The Grime.

But instant fame isn’t easy—and neither is love. Especially when Mel realizes she’s falling for another guy—one who may just want her heart more than her voice.

Buy Links for The Funeral Singer

Amazon       Barnes and Noble      Kobo

About Linda

I live in Northern Virginia with my amazing husband, Joe, and our feisty chihuahua, Demitria (also known as Dee Dee, The Puppy, and Killer).

I grew up in a tiny town called West Grove, in southeastern Pennsylvania. In the second grade, I announced to my parents that I wanted to be a “Paperback Writer,” just like in the Beatles song. I majored in journalism in college and now work in marketing and communications.

I’m a sucker for romance and reality TV and have been known to turn off my phone’s ringer when watching “The Bachelor.”

My favorite flower is the daisy, my favorite food is chocolate, and my favorite song is “Amazing Grace.”

Social Media Links:

Website           Blog             Facebook        Twitter


20 thoughts on “Linda Budzinski’s Path to Publication Story

  1. Woohoo! Nice to ‘meet’ you, Linda! Congratulations on finding a home for The Funeral Singer! I have to say it tickles me to death (cheesy pun totally intended:) to find another Virginia writer! And not only that, my dad just happens to be a funeral director… I can’t wait to check out your book! *scurries off to look for it*

    • Okay, just reached the part where Zed is talking about Tex and how he repped Daughtry. Fun fact: I went to high school with Chris, and he’s a totally awesome human being! Every time I see him up on stage, all I can think of is him goofing around backstage as Smee when we put on Peter Pan.

  2. Yay! I’m so glad you two have now met! Artemis, I totally thought of you while I read Linda’s book, and I think I mentioned to Linda about how my critique partner’s dad was a funeral director. Artemis, you’ll love Linda’s book!


  3. Linda, this touches me in so many ways. My niece is a wonderful singer. When my mother passed away 20 years ago, she was just starting her career. I asked if she could sing Amazing Grace, my all time favorite song. Do you love Judy Collin’s version?

    Her rendition of that song evoked so many memories and brought the entire church to tears. There is something special about the way we connect … and Mel’s story sounds like she connects in more than one way. Truth is … Amazing Grace is the ultimate of loving songs to give as a parting gift to anyone we love, even though I can listen to it and think of the living I still have with me.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    Christi, you know I am loving this series. Keep it going 🙂

    • Florence,

      I love that song too, so I really enjoyed seeing that song being the kick off for her career in Linda’s book. Plus, it’s always held a special place in my heart because it’s my grandma’s name. I even named a character by that name in Along the Way Home 🙂

      How’s everything going for you? How’s the Etsy shop?


      • I am in the middle of getting the spring and summer inventory photographed and up on the site. I am submitting one book and finishing another and happy as a clam … what ever that means.

        I am also helping my daughter’s friends plan her baby shower 🙂

    • Thank you so much for commenting and for sharing your story. I have never met a version of Amazing Grace I didn’t love, but yes, Judy Collins’ is pretty special.

      Mel’s version is a little more blues and a little less folk. She’s not scheduled to sing at this particular graveside service but feels compelled, and when she steps up to sing it, it is a heroic moment for her. (She needs that, because later in the book, she is going to fall, hard and fast and far, and my hope is that the reader will remember the moment she selflessly sang Amazing Grace and continue to root for her!)

      It is a powerful song and a natural choice for the scene, and as Mel says in the book, “The song was easy, comfortable, and I slipped into it as though it were an old t-shirt.”

      Glad it means so much to you. Does to me as well! ❤

  4. Linda, Glad I stumbled upon your column here after Christi visited mine recently.
    Very inspirational story. I have to say, I doubt I would’ve had the fortitude to have a follow-up conv. with the agent who rejected my submission with hardly a ‘fare-thee-well’.
    Did she ever explain WHY she wouldn’t give your story the time of day?

    • Yes, and please know that she was very professional about it … didn’t mean to suggest she wasn’t! Her reason was that she thought it would be very difficult to place my novel at one of the big houses in today’s market. She said a few years earlier (when I’d started it!), it would probably have been easier but that the market had tightened up, and she needed to choose carefully which projects she went out on submission with. A disheartening reply, to be sure, but she was being honest!

      And, she may have been right … I actually never went out on submission to any of the Big Five but instead elected to go with a small press.

      Glad you found the story inspirational … at the time it seemed like the end of the world, but ultimately it ended up being for the best, I think.

  5. What an amazing story! It really goes to prove that we shouldn’t give up on our dreams and really one person’s opinion shouldn’t stop us from working toward it. Congratulations on not giving up, Linda. And thanks for sharing your story.

  6. Laura,

    You’re welcome to host my blog any time and share your own path to publication story if you’d like 🙂


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