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Showing posts from July, 2011

Sleeping Through The Call...

It's true. I was asleep when that first call came from Deb Werksman. My husband, who shouldn't have been home at the time, was the one who answered the phone. But I'm getting ahead of myself... A few weeks prior to that day, I'd seen in the RWR that Sourcebooks was a newly approved publisher and they were taking erotic and paranormal romance. I just so happened to have a manuscript that fit that description, the book I'd wanted to write ever since I was a kid watching Star Trek . Back then, it was called The Rescue . I printed it out, wrote a query letter to go with it, and sort of kissed it goodbye, figuring it was off to get trounced and rejected, just as all those other manuscripts I'd sent out had been. This one was different from the rest, and not simply because it wasn't a contemporary romance. It hadn't gone to an agent or a publisher before, mainly because, at the time, no one seemed to want paranormals, and this one was more paranormal than most

My First Sale by Shana Galen

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I wrote a book about a girl who loved Star Wars . It was a departure for me as I’d been writing Regency historicals, but chick lit had just taken off and several agents told me in no uncertain terms that the historical was dead as dead could be. So I figured why not try a contemporary? I ended up with a book I called Jedis, Wookies, and Other Men I’ve Dated (later The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Men I’ve Dated ). At the same time my agent was submitting Jedis, I also managed to final in the Golden Heart (a contest for unpublished authors sponsored by the Romance Writers of America) with an historical I called The Rake (later When Dashing Met Danger ). Yes, I knew historicals were deader than a door nail, but I was a glutton for punishment. The final judge for the Golden Heart was May Chen of Avon Books. Meanwhile, Jedis sat on Erika Tsang’s desk, also of Avon. I was teaching 6th grade English in Houston’s inner city at that time. I wasn’t suppo

The Calling

When you're a writer, publication seems like the top of the mountain. As you submit, submit, and submit some more and endure rejection after rejection, it takes everything you've got to keep on climbing. "The Call" seems like the fulfillment of all your dreams, the summit of Everest. You're ready to plant your flag, lay claim to your alphabetical spot on the bookstore shelves, and bask in the glory of hard-won success. But if you're ambitious enough to endure the road to publication, "the call" will probably give you a brief (and admittedly stunning) moment of satisfaction--and then it will open up more vistas you want to explore. Once you get published, you'll want to stay published. You'll see a spot on a bestseller list looming up ahead, and you'll want to reach that peak, too. You'll have to survive th e biting winds of reviews, the misty, uncertain path of promotion, and a million other stumbling blocks along the way. The goal on

Making "The Call"

  By Deb Werksman  Editorial Manager Sourcebooks Casablanca One of the most wonderful things about my job is being able to make ‘The Call’ to an author—it’s what I live for. It’s very exciting and rewarding, and kind of like asking someone to marry you—or, for an alternative metaphor, since I consider myself to be a book midwife, it’s like taking on a new pregnant mom (I always tell authors that publishing a book is more like birthing an elephant than it is like running a horse race, so patience, patience!). This is about where the metaphor breaks down though, because I also tell authors all the time—the book is NOT your baby—it’s a professional endeavor, it’s a craft, it’s something to be very proud of, but anyone who actually has children will tell you not to be attached to your book the way you would be to your child. (On the good side, while your book may keep you up all night from time to time, it will never throw up in your bed or make you rush to the emergency r

The calls (editor AND agent!)

How I got my Agent Ashlyn Chase The very first time I pitched to an agent, she asked me if there had been any interest in my story. I was so green I had no idea what she meant and had to ask. She said, “Have you queried any editors who wanted it?” I probably tipped my head and frowned in confusion as I said, “I thought that was your job.” Out of the mouths of 40 year old babes… After submitting my partial, I didn’t have to wait long before I received a rude rejection, twice, for the same book—even though I hadn’t resubmitted it. Needless to say, I never submitted to that agent again. Years later, the very situation that first agent was hoping for arose. I had sent my proposal to an editor and received “the call!” She wanted to offer me a contract…not just a contract, but a series contract for three books! Naturally I did exactly what they tell you not to do. I screamed, said, “Yes, oh yes, oh yes!” I was lucky I stopped short of offering to pay her an advance. I had e-published several

The Universe Spoke To Me, by Judi Fennell

My "Call" story starts long before the book was even finished. Deb and I met at the 2007 National Conference when she had been a Golden Heart judge and LOVED Robin Kaye’s finalling (winning) manuscript, Romeo, Romeo . She offered Robin a contract AT National. Robin and I, not knowing a whole heck of a lot about Sourcebooks, went to their Spotlight and were blown away by Dominique and Deb’s enthusiasm and publishing history. Robin was thrilled to accept the contract and I was thrilled for her! What does Robin’s sale have to do with mine? Well, Deb hung out with us a lot during National. I got to know her; she got to know me. I had already submitted a time travel to her so that was sitting in her queue. She got to it a few weeks after National, sadly, rejecting it. But that was okay. Flash forward to October 2007 at the New Jersey Conference . Deb was there. We chatted. She sat at my table for lunch and I proceeded to drag pitches from everyone at our table b/c I kne

The Telemarketer Call that Wasn' Terry Spear

First, I had THE CALL for two YA books. I was thrilled. And I was suddenly a provisional member of the Published Author Network (PAN) with RWA!!! And then two years after THE CALL, I got a letter that said that the YA line was being closed down, and none of the books were being released, that I could keep the partial advance they'd paid, and that my rights reverted back to me. Ghostly Liaisons was already, and still is, listed on Amazon under my maiden name, Terry Lee Wilde. But it was never released. And I was no longer a published author after two years of anticipating that first release, which was one month away from when it was to be released! Still, I wouldn't give up. If I could get one CALL, I could get another, right? So I kept at it, kept writing, revising and submitting, and getting rejections--many of which said I was close. And you know what that means! Close, but no cigar. Although I can't imagine anyone wanting a cigar. And then I got THE CALL that truly chang

Not a Rock Star...

by Olivia Cunning If there's one thing I learned about myself when I got "the call", it's that I'm not a rock star. Much too uncool. I think every aspiring author dreams about how they will respond when they get "the call" - the call that converts them from aspiring author to debut author. Well, after years and years of dreaming about it, it finally happened to me. I was  not  prepared. Nope. How would I describe my reaction to "the call"? Stammering idiot comes to mind. Let's back up a few days. I'd been querying my erotic romance series "Sinners on Tour" for a couple of months. Strangely, the publishers I queried kept making requests to review the full or partial manuscript, but I had absolutely no luck getting a literary agent interested. No luck. None. Zero. So after a couple weeks of waiting to hear back from publishers (milliseconds in literary world time), I get an email from Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks. She told

Surprise! It's The Call!

by Amanda Forester My story of "the call" began with me coming down with a cold. I had planned to go to the 2008 Emerald City Writer’s Conference but I got sick, of course. Doesn’t that always happen when you plan a trip? I was feeling cruddy so I figured I might as well cancel. Sure, there were going to be opportunities to meet with editors and agents at the conference, but no one ever sells from one of those appointments – right? I was at the point of cancelling, but I had actually finished my first manuscript. I had taken Cherry Adair’s “Write the Damn Book” challenge and had my shiny new manuscript all ready to go. The amazing Cherry gives tremendous support to up-and-coming writers, which is why she was awarded the RWA 2011 PRO Mentor of the Year! I knew if I went I would get a certificate (now framed on my wall) for completing my manuscript, and that more than anything else got me to pack my tissue box and head out to the conference. At the conference, I pitched my manu

When There are Two

Getting “The Call” is different when your work as a team. For those of you who don’t know, Lydia Dare is the pseudonym for the collaborative work of Jodie Pearson and Tammy Falkner. So for us, getting “The Call” was a bit like a game of telephone tag. We’ll use our real names to make it clear which one of us is talking. Jodie: I was sitting at home, watching TV with my family and my cell phone rang. I looked at the number and noticed the area code was outside NYC. So I began to panic before I even answered. I rushed out of the room, yelling over my shoulder at my then husband, telling him it was a publisher. Then I flew into my room and tried to very calmly answer the phone, hoping I didn’t sound out of breath. Deb Werksman was on the other end and gushed about A Certain Wolfish Charm. I wish I could tell you all of the wonderful things she said… but I can’t. I didn’t hear them. My cell phone kept cutting in and out and I kept missing words here and there. But I didn’t want to ask her

My Wild and Wacky Call Story...

By Robin Kaye My call story is a little bit unusual so bear with me, it should all make sense in the end. One would hope, at least. I was lying in bed late on a Saturday morning, which is very unusual for me. You see, I was alone in the house for the first time in about eleven years. My husband was away on business in Florida, my daughters were spending the night at the neighbor’s, and my son was spending the night at his best friend’s. So there I was lounging around, still in bed at 11:00 on a Saturday morning. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. The phone rang and I checked the caller ID. It said Tennessee. The only person I knew in Tennessee was my brother-in-law, and since he only calls on his and my husband’s shared birthday, it would only make sense that he was calling to tell me some terrible news or that it was a telemarketer. I answered the phone with great trepidation since I knew my father-in-law had been ill, and I really didn’t want to talk to a telemarketer on the firs

The Call While on a Call

I remember that evening quite well. At the time, I worked as a help desk representative and was at work. It’s not uncommon for us to browse the web or check our emails in between calls. Matter of fact, that’s where I’d get most of my reading done. But I learned one really important thing that day. So here it is, the day I got the call. I wasn’t quite sure how receptive people would be of my book. After all, it’s rather off the wall with some slapstick moments. What do you expect from someone who grew up watching Mel Brooks films? So, I would send a query here and there. Most of the editors and agents I’d queried had sent polite rejections. But a friend of mine suggested I send my manuscript to Deb Werksman and that Sourcebooks liked funny and quirky books. Finally in December, I sent Deb Werksman my manuscript and query. In the meantime, I also sent out a query to one of my dream agencies. A couple weeks later, I was delighted to receive a request from one of their agents f

Breaking In...Again

When people ask me to share my call story, I'm tempted to ask "Which one?" You see, I've had three different pen names since my initial debut in 2006. I know. It's a weird situation, but it's a fact of publishing life. If all the writers who have more than one pseudonymn turned purple tomorrow, there would be lots of purple authors out there. I started writing dark, angsty viking romances for Leisure Books with the fabulous Leah Hultenschmidt as my editor. I wrote three books as Diana Groe, then asked Leah if it was ok for me to try adding a bit of humor to the 2nd book in a two book contract. She gave me the green light, but when I turned in my manuscript, she said it was so different from my previous stories, I was likely to give my readers whiplash. Emily Bryan was born. Under this light-hearted alter-ego, I wrote 5 stories. Things were rolling along. My work was winning awards and was translated into 7 different languages. But change is the one constant in

The Double Call by Tracey Devlyn

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's big break into the publishing business. So many fascinating roads leading to an utterly unforgettable moment. Just goes to show you that even in this we have our own style. As for me, I queried my agent and Sourcebooks within a few days of each other in March of 2010. Both requested a full manuscript. Almost exactly a month later, I received an offer from both Deb and Don. That’s, of course, the short version. The long version? I’m not sure I can adequately convey the crazy roller coaster ride of emotion I experienced from April 21 – April 22, 2010, but I’ll give it a shot. During the day, I work as a Human Resources Manager for an environmental agency. One of my responsibilities is overseeing our large volunteer force. Every year, we have a volunteer appreciation dinner to recognize our volunteers’ efforts and to give them a fun evening. Guess when I got the call from my editor? Yep—the night of our appreciation dinner, April 21. At the t