Monday, December 31, 2007

The Call - Part I

One of the most exciting times in an author’s writing life is when he or she first gets “The Call” of acceptance by an editor or publisher.

What better way to start off this blog than by sharing those experiences with you. Listed in this beginning post, you will find the "call" stories from five of your favorite authors; Kimber Chin, Michael Davis, Ciara Gold, Nancy Henderson, and Allison Knight. Tomorrow, part II of the Call will feature; Linda LaRoque, Rose Lerma, Carol McPhee, Candace Morehouse and Kerry Tolen.

Kimber Chin

Breach Of Trust was my fourth completed manuscript (the others have been burned, they were that bad). I wrote it with the bright idea that I’d sell it to Harlequin. Yeah, right. What was I thinking? A Harlequin editor kindly told me that it was in no way a category novel.

Fine, I thought, I’ll go single title then and for that, I have to get an agent. I submitted to almost every Romance Writers Of America agent listed. When they saw business in the query letter, most gave it an immediate pass. I played rejection letter of the day (received in my self addressed stamped envelope, I started to dread seeing my own handwriting).

I got a request for a partial from two agents. One said there was too much business (uh… that was kind of the point). The other asked for a full. The agent's assistant loved the full and pitched it to her boss. No market for romances based in the business world, she relayed to me, write something else.

I didn’t want to write something else. I love the business world. I think it is sexy and exciting and a worthy setting for romance. So what next?

I was talking to another author and she advised that I go with a smaller publisher and build up my readership. I did my research (asking other authors, searching the internet, talking to editor buddies) and Champagne Books kept popping up time and time again.

So I submitted, got a request for a full, and less than three months later, I got an email. At first, I thought it was a joke, one of my hacker friends playing with my mind (like the time one buddy sent me my dental records ‘cause he couldn’t believe how many fillings I had). I didn’t tell anyone other than the hubby until I actually got the contract (because being a business gal, I know that until there’s an offer in writing, there’s no deal). At which time, I waltzed around the room with the papers and kept flashing it in the hubby’s face (not letting him touch it, of course), singing the “I am going to be a published author” song.

Michael Davis

The deep lows of a thousand rejections can easily be offset by that one moment of elation when you get that magic message "Congratulation. We want you." My point of redemption occurred one day in May when within 45 minutes, I got emails like that on two of my stories. I thought I was dreaming. One week later I got another "We what you" on one of the two stories. After climbing that brier clustered hill, there was a strange euphoria, almost a surreal feeling, the confirmation that the last 20 months was not a waste. The acceptance of my third story was great, but nothing like that moment when I first knew an old man's dreams had come true. Then it came again, when I saw my first story (Tainted Hero, released by Champagne books) hit the streets. Nothing like it. Well, maybe that first love when I was a teenager, but their close. My second novel (Forgotten Children) will be released in June, 08). I'm currently re working my next novel (Blind Consent), and starting on another(Megan's Dream). Over the next 18 months, I will post the things I learned, things that worked, things that weren't worth spit. My hope is, that perhaps my upcoming posts may help someone get that special call that makes it all worth while.

Ciara Gold

I'd been writing and submitting for about two years, when I read an article on how Japanese businessmen were downloading books onto their cell phone so that they could read on the long train commutes. Until then, I didn't want to explore e-books, but after that, I changed my mind.
A good friend and crit partner, Phyllis Campbell, encouraged me to submit to Champagne Books. After a week of indecision, I submitted to three e-publishers. All three requested the full within a week, with Champagne requesting the full within two days. Wow. That had me stoked, but Champagne offered a contract exactly a week after I sent them the full. And yes, I bounced off ceilings, walls, floors and anything else my body came in contact with.

Since then, I haven't regretted the decision. Celestial Dragon is still a top seller for the publisher and with its publication, I am gaining name recognition. Successful E-publishers now receive as many submissions per month as the New York publishers. I would love for you to find me at

Nancy Henderson

I was brushing my teeth when I first received "The Call". Actually, it wasn't a call at all. It was an e-mail. It was just an average morning & I was running late as usual, so in my usual fashion of multi-tasking, I was getting ready to leave the house and checking my e-mail at the same time. I hadn't really given much thought to this book and the publisher wanting my work, but there it was in my in box: "I'd like to contract you." I literally sent toothpaste flying all over my writing desk and computer monitor.

Little did I realize that was the beginning of a whole new mindset. I was actually so green I thought my job was complete. Little did I realize what edits, galleys, proofing, not to mention what promotion was! But it was a lot of fun, and I can honestly say becoming published was my rebirth. It forced me to take my writing seriously, treat it as a business, and most of all never to take anything for granted: contracts, your editor, your publisher, none of it. It's a gift, the sweat, the worry, the neverending hard work. And I cherish it. And I cherish my readers.

- Nancy Henderson

Allison Knight

The Call!

Way back, before e-mail and the internet were available, my agent submitted a partial, the first three chapters and a synopsis, of my first book to a New York publisher. While I was busy finishing my teaching assignment for the school year, the publisher called and asked for the complete. My husband took the call, drove out to my school and left a yellow rose and a note on the front seat of my car saying the publisher had just requested the whole novel.

We didn’t hear another word for more for two months, so we sent two additional partials, also historicals, to that same publisher. Later I learned you weren’t supposed to do that, however, some times ignorance is bliss.

Late in August, when I was preparing to go back to school for the fall term, my agent called. The publisher said I wrote the kind of historicals in which they were interested. They wanted to buy all three manuscripts. Would I accept a three book deal?

Keeping quiet about that sale was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. However, at that time, a Home Economics teacher, teaching Family Living, and Child Care and Development couldn’t advertise that she was writing sexy historical romances, at least not in the small community in which I taught. The students did find out though! Believe me, telling a student to put the book away, when it’s your book, is not an easy thing to do. And surprisingly enough, no one questioned my writing Romances.

Hummmmm… Wonder why?