#TBT Behind the Curtain: The Call

Today’s Throwback Thursday post is from February of 2014 when I received some of the best news of my professional life, I was going to be published! Especially with the recent release of Evelyn’s Promise, I enjoy looking back at where the journey started. Though it was a long road to where I am today, I wouldn’t change one minute of the experience.

When I got The Call it was actually in the form of an email. The very enthusiastic acquiring editor got my attention with a few simple words: “I had a chance to look at Traces tonight, and loved it! If it’s still available, I’d love to publish it at Liquid Silver.” I read and re-read those simple yet extraordinary words several times before I finally smiled and squealed and did a happy dance!

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I am not an overnight success story. Not by a long shot! I started writing novels while we were living in Indiana, which means it’s been about 20 years ago. In the interim, there’s been part-time jobs, rearing two kids, tending an aging father, full-time jobs, college classes to earn first a Bachelor’s then a Masters in English, family crises and deaths to handle. All the while writing on one story or another, researching, taking craft and business classes. Volunteering with my writing-related organizations, such as my local Romance Writers of America (RWA) Heart of Dixie chapter.

I’ve submitted query letters and full manuscripts many times but was always turned down for one reason or another. With the changes in the publishing industry, the idea of self-publishing my novels started bouncing around in my head. But, honestly, after all the time I’ve spent striving to sell my work to a publisher to publish the book, I wanted that sense of validation doing so would bring to me.

A few weeks ago I saw on Twitter the hashtag #pitmad (pitch madness) and inquired as to how it worked. Essentially, you pitch using a Tweet including #pitmad and the genre of the story. Then the agents/editors following the hashtag would favorite any pitches they wanted to see submissions on. They tweeted what kind of submission they wanted (query and partial manuscript; query and full manuscript; etc.).

Now consider this challenge. Boil down an entire novel into 140 characters including spaces; less the characters needed for the hashtags. Obviously, abbreviations would be necessary! After several attempts, I whittled the pitch down to, “Demo expert plans to raze inherited 1860s plantation while a spectral lady & a hunky lawyer teach her abt family/luv. #pitmad #Romance #WF”. When half an hour later I saw that my tweet had been favorited, I researched the press to ensure it was a valid request, then sent the submission as requested. Then I went on about my day, writing and revising my historical romance story before submitting it to a different editor at a different press.

A few days later, I received the email from Ms. Terri Schaefer, Editor at Liquid Silver Books, offering to publish Traces. Wow! My heart sang. Then my mind kicked in and I contacted the two agents who had the manuscript on their desks for consideration to represent me. Ultimately, both declined though they both said my writing was “fantastic” or “wonderful” and they could understand why an offer had been made. So I contacted Ms. Schaefer and had a good friend who happens to be not only an author but a literary attorney review the contract and make some recommendations for changes. Once most of those changes were incorporated to our mutual satisfaction, I signed the contract.

Busy times, but I’m so ready after all the years of working towards this moment to enjoy this roller coaster of promotions and launch parties and book signings.

That’s my story about receiving the BEST NEWS EVER. What was the best news you’ve received? How did you react?

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