I sold to Love Inspired Historical!!! Here's how it happened:
"You should write a book. You'd make more money doing that."
In 2006 my editor at the newspaper I freelanced for told me this. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head. Write for money? Sure, I'd written stories all my life, but to actually write a book and be paid for it was a concept that had never occurred to me.
That same year, I started a historical romance. Why historical? Because Love Inspired was launching a historical line in 2007 and I was aiming for that. I also love reading historical romances.
"The characters should be talking by now."
So said agent Steve Laube at my first writer's conference in 2007. He'd gotten to page 7 and my heroine was still thinking of backstory. I made every newbie mistake with that first manuscript. So I read articles and did my best to make the manuscript shine. Then I submitted it to agents. Form rejections. I decided to submit it to Love Inspired Historical. Weeks later, the rejection came back. "Your writing is not strong enough." Granted, I'd only sent a very poor synopsis, but that editor was right and though it stung, I knew I needed help.
"To conclude, I want to stress that you have written a beautiful and intriguing novel."
I decided to send my historical to Harlequin's Critique Service. While it was there, I started a new book. As I wrote, I realized how bad my first story was. I determined that I'd probably have to shelve it. That was okay, because my new story was so exciting! I was sure it would be the one. Finally the historical critique came back. It rocked! The line above is the one reason I decided to keep submitting the story. I put the historical away for a while though because I'd finaled with my contemporary and it was not until 2008 that I began querying the historical again.
"Project Under Consideration"
An agent was interested! I sent it to the agent and continued writing and querying. After many other agent rejections, this same agent still had the story. Finally, a year and a half later, the agent rejected the full, citing some slowness at the beginning (it was slow). A little disheartened, I decided to move onto the publisher and resubmit (remember I first subbed it in 2007). Thanks to the contest I'd finaled in with my second story, I'd developed a preference for a specific editor at Love Inspired. I sent a query and synopsis to her. And waited.
This is where my call becomes very typical but no less exciting. She requested a partial. Then revisions and a full. Then revisions again and a resubmit. And then.....THE E-MAIL. :-)
I was at work all day when it came so I didn't see it until that night. I'm still wavering between shock and joy!
I learned a lot from this journey.
1. Don't be afraid to revise.
2. Be persistent. If you don't submit, you can't move forward.
3. Develop relationships. It was through finaling and submitting that I discovered an editor who found promise in my writing.
4. Never give up.
If you give up, then nothing will ever happen.
So there it is, a very long post about my five year journey to publication. The book is slotted to come out in April 2012.
How do you think you'll react when you get the call? Are you submitting yet? Any questions?