Danish authors do it backwards

After having their crime novel rejected by publishers at home, crime-writing duo translate it into English and land major publisher

After having the Danish version of their debut novel ‘Forkynderen’ (the preacher) rejected by several Danish publishing houses, co-authors Dagmar Winther and Kenneth Degnbol refused to give up. They had the book translated into English and sent it to an agent in the UK who placed the book with Little, Brown and Company, one of the largest publishers in the world. The book, now officially re-brand as 'The Preacher', was then scheduled for release in Japan, the UK and Australia in 2014. Ultimately, an American scout found the English version of the book and submitted it to, you guessed it, a Danish publisher, Forlaget Punktum, which finally released a Danish version earlier this month under the pseudonym Sander Jakobsen, the name Little, Brown chose for the writing pair.

"We are still pinching ourselves,” said Winther. “We were ready to pull the plug, but we decided it deserved one last chance, so we had it translated and suddenly there was a contract on the table from one of the world’s biggest publishing houses.”

The longest of longshots
Only about 100 out of the thousands of manuscripts submitted to Sphere, the division of Little, Brown that publishes crime fiction, ever see the light of day, and of those 100, only seven are written by first-time authors.

'Forkynderen', set in a Jutland village filled with mysterious murders and women leading lives that their husbands and boyfriends know nothing about, is right at home amidst the current Danish crime noir craze. Little, Brown is marketing it as an "electrifying Danish thriller".

"Our American scout sent us the 'The Preacher', and it immediately caught our interest,” said Kristine Sandbjerg from Forlaget Punktum. “It was great to discover that we were holding a translated version of a crime novel that was originally written in Danish. We rushed to get the original and were totally sold after the first reading.”

Sandbjerg said that the fact that the authors were Danes was not a principal consideration in her decision to publish the book, but that she “fell in love with a good book with a good plot”.