Back in 2008 I had finished my very first manuscript and had the audacity to send it out...to everyone. Agents, publishers, editors--you name it. If they published romance I wanted them to take a look at my book. Clearly, I didn't have the vaguest notion about what I was doing. No agent. No RWA chapter because I was under the mistaken impression that you had to be published to be involved in RWA. Ummm no.
Let's face it. I had NO idea what I was doing.
Anyway, as you can imagine, I was rejected a lot and by just about everyone. Oh, I had several nibbles, requests for full manuscripts and so on but mostly they said, "No thank you."
By the summer of 2009 my book was available as an ebook and with some wrangling, print on demand. However, I realized pretty quickly that my book wasn't going to be on all the shelves in North America, or anywhere else for that matter, in that format... so I took a new approach.
I decided that I would put out this little ebook and market my ass off. I'd get some buzz going and use that to get the attention of an agent who would then sign me and help me sell my series to a major publisher....and ultimately that's what happened.
I had mustered up some decent buzz about The Amoveo Legacy. Since it was in print-on-demand, I hustled at the bookstores and organzied about 12 book signings throughout various Borders and BN's throughout the Northeast. This helped get my book floating around from CRM to CRM at the various stores. These CRM's were kind enough to tell the illustrious Sue Grimshaw about it and anyone who knows Sue, knows how incredibly supportive she is of authors!
Next step: I needed an agent.
Over the years, I've realized that you need balls-like-church-bells if you expect to get anywhere. No guts, no glory...and all that jazz.
That being said...I was at a charity event featuring Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, both of whom are signing books for the attendees. As I stood off to the side waiting for my friends, I noticed an opening with Carol. I said a small prayer that I wouldn't completely mortify myself, marched right up to her, introduced myself and told her my story as quickly as I could.
Basically it boiled down to, "I really need a good literary agent to help me take my series to the next level. Can you suggest anyone?"
To my utter shock she said, "Sure. Jeanne Dube of Forte Literary Management is great. Send her your work and tell her I told you to contact her. You can use my name."
As I wrote Jeanne's address down on a cocktail napkin, I muttered thankyouthankyouthankyou like some kind of savant and got out of the way so she could sign more books.
With fingers crossed, I sent my book and marketing plan to Jeanne. About six weeks later, my cellphone rang with an unfamiliar phone number from NYC...and it was Jeanne.
I'll never forget it.
I'd had a very long day at work and was walking down the street lugging various bags and bracing myself for the body slams/hugs from my four boys. The air was crisp, cold, clean and held the hint of wood burning in a fireplace from one of the houses nearby. When I realized who it was on the other end of the phone I dropped everything else in my hands onto the sidewalk and had my first chat with Jeanne outside on my street.
Long story short (too late) Jeanne agreed to sign me, I bought back the rights to my series and then she set out to sell it in mass market.
Imagine my delight when Jeanne called me and said, "Sara...I sold your books."
I cried, squealed and jumped up and down in my kitchen like a lunatic. We'd done it! Jeanne sold my Amoveo Legend series to Deb at Sourcebooks in a 5 book deal. It was more than I'd dreamed possible.
I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be with Sourcebooks because there's some serious girl power here. SB is full of smart, creative, fun, thoughtful, open-minded, and reader-centric people.
I've thanked Jeanne time and again for hooking me up with exactly the right publisher and editor for me. Deb Werksman? I mean come on! How did I get this lucky?
So that's it. That's my crazy and circuitous route to publishing.
However, the journey is really just beginning. Unleashed (Book# 1 in the series) has been completely rewritten and has undergone major editing (Thank you, Deb!) and is being released October 1, 2011.
Since I'm super excited about the upcoming release, I'm going to give away a signed ARC to one lucky person who leaves a comment here by 11:59 pm on 7/12/11. Just post a comment here on the blog about why you love romance and you'll be entered. Be sure to leave me your email so that we can follow up and I can send you your prize.
You can always find more info on my website http://www.sarahumphreys.com/
One more thing. When I was writing this, I couldn't help but remember this scene from "When Harry Met Sally". Enjoy!