FIRST OFFICIAL: Sale 🙂
So many people have asked for more details, so I’ll share them here.
My publisher is Sourcebooks and my editor is Deb Werksman. Deb and I met at the 2007 National Conference when she had been a Golden Heart judge and LOVED my friend Robin Kaye’s finalling 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 Raccah’s (publisher) 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, I’ll tell you. 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 knew Deb wanted to hear them (this is why you need to work on that “elevator pitch”/high concept thing so you can do it at a lunch setting). I happened to mention that In Over Her Head was probably going to end up in the Top 5 of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Contest. Deb wanted to know why I hadn’t submitted it to her and I said I couldn’t, according to the rules of the contest, but if it didn’t make it to the Top 5, I’d send it along. It made it to the Top 5.
Life got hectic when it was in the Top 5. I worked that final into agent interest, garnering multiple agent offers (the winner of the contest was guaranteed to be published), and accepting the offer from Jennifer Schober of Spencerhill Associates.
Something to note: one of the final judges for the contest was Sue Grimshaw, Romance Buyer for Borders. I introduced myself to her at a conference after the contest was over (and I hadn’t won) and Sue proceeded to give my story such praise that it stunned me into silence. (If you know me, you’ll know that this feat doesn’t happen all that often. Maybe twice before in my life. Seriously.) She gave me some advice to make the book marketable and I made the change.
I also saw Deb at the Long Island Luncheon where we, again, sat next to each other and I dragged pitches from everyone at the table for her. I also mentioned to someone at the table that I had two partials of the next two Mer stories ready and waiting. Deb jumped – “It’s a trilogy?”
Now, you know, we all hear to only pitch one book. Will an editor really take a chance on three books by a debut author? Here I had an editor asking me about all three when she already had book 1 in her queue. The books are stand-alones, but contain characters that you hear about in the other books, so I mentioned it. She wanted the partials.
My agent sent everything out, and Deb jumped. I remember her words to me were, “Frankly, I’m surprised this hadn’t sold yet.” That makes a writer feel good, let me tell you!
Deb called on Monday that she was taking it into Editorial on Tuesday. I got an email from her IN the Editorial meeting that they wanted it and to have my agent call her, my agent did her agenting thing where it was on submission elsewhere (thank God I had an agent!), and on Thursday, July 17, we accepted the offer.
However, the offer wasn’t just for In Over Her Head. Deb also wanted the rest of the trilogy AND gave me release dates that I only dreamed about.
Now I’m hard at work polishing those other two stories so they sparkle like In Over Her Head. Look for all three books next summer: June, August and October – the perfect beach read since they, ya know, take place at/in the ocean.
Filed under: Author Buddies, editors/agents, First Official, networking, Publication, Publishing, RWA Conferences | Tagged: In Over Her Head, Judi Fennell, Mer, ocean, Publishing, romance, The Call, trilogy |