I am so very excited and over the moon to share this news with you........
I just signed a THREE BOOK DEAL with ELLORA'S CAVE!!!
For Her Protection, For His Protection, and Close Protection, a smart erotic bodyguard series will be published by Ellora's Cave!
*Screams, throws confetti on self, and dances like a maniac*
Yes, it's actually true! I have contracts and everything to prove it. But seriously, until I physically held those babies in my hand I didn't believe it... I wasn't even excited, I was just thinking...oh shit, they've totally made a mistake and now they're going to realise and it's all going to be over!
Because this—this whole book deal thing happened almost exactly like this...
None of the ways people tell you it's supposed to happen, and almost all the ways they tell you it will NEVER happen. Like you know "An editor/agent is never going to request from the sample on your website", or "A publisher is never going to contract an unpublished author on proposal", but they actually did. And not just any publisher—THE publisher of some of my all time favourite author idols, like Cara McKenna and Sylvia Day! I'm pretty much in awe of the company I've just been invited in to.
But before you follow me home, knock me over the head, all to get access to my FGM, let me tell you it wasn't just—MAGIC— BAM—BOOK DEAL—and I got to that point where I was the hopeless snotty mess sobbing in tatters first.
I'm not going to do the agent/submission stats thing because it doesn't really apply here, although I can tell you I've always been
conservative on that front, but I will tell you how it happened because I know
how much these stories kept me going.
I learned how tough this industry is on my first manuscript—my little book heart baby that I thought was just the best thing ever...until well—REALITY. So I took some hard but true advice I received and wrote another book, then another one, then finally another one. Finally that last book seemed to be "getting there".
I finaled in competitions. I came second and first. I had requests from contest judges, requests from publishers and agents, and I'd hardly subbed. I learned how to own the dreaded query letter like a boss. Then the rejections came...So I revised, revised, took all the courses, got better critique, revised, took all the advice, revised, re-subbed, and then—rejection. Except the rejections were all like rejection 1: We love your writing but we would have liked if had less ABC, and then just to confuse the life out of me the next would be rejection 2: We love your writing but would have liked if it had more ABC... Yes ABC is the same thing! It just went to show that even if your writing is 'there', even if it's good, even if you spent months revising and actually take all that advice, this industry is so subjective, and tastes so personal, your work still might not find a home. That kinda hit me hard. The idea that I could keep trying and trying forever, get better, do everything and still maybe never get there...
But just as I was about to drink myself under a table, an acquiring editor contacted me and made a manuscript request off the query letter on my website. I have to admit I googled her because I thought I was being pranked...I mean that doesn't actually happen does it? Turns out it does.
So long story short, I subbed and within two weeks I had an email back saying some amazingly flattering and humbling things but that the manuscript I subbed just wasn't a good fit for them and did I have anything else. I told them about my other manuscripts and also about this smexy little work in progress that I hadn't quiet had the nerve to go through with. A week later I got another email asking if I could I call her on the phone in New York.
That's when things went a little wrong...
I prepared myself all day. I had a list of things I wanted to ask, a list of intelligent professional responses to anything she might ask me, I had my expensive hardcover note-book, I had a coffee and a Berocca because well, NY business hours are pretty much when I am sleeping. I was sorted. It took me three attempts to call...If I'm honest I'll admit I almost chickened out...She answered on the second ring and I LOST MY FREAKING MIND! Poof—brain cells gone.
I couldn't form a coherent thought let alone a coherent word. I stammered, I stuttered, I rambled. In truth I'm fairly certain that I eventually hung up on her before she was done talking. In the end I remember her saying very nice things, and that she loved sound of my smexy WIP and she asked me more about it. I pretty much read my blurb off the page. I'm assuming I vocalised something because I could not actually hear the sound of my own voice as blood pumped so loudly in my eardrums. She asked if I could send her a partial and a synopsis. I went into shock. She asked me about timeframes and I said I'm pretty fast, I got the impression that was the right answer, and she gave me six weeks to get her the proposal.
So the point of me revealing the horror of my total brain-vacation to you is this—editors understand that you are nervous! They like writers, and have compassion for the fact we might not be representing ourselves the best when we are pitching verbally. In fact one of my favourite Twitter Agents says she always requests from pitches for that reason. So these are nice people, relax!
I completed the proposal, edited, critiqued and polished, and delivered it in half the time. We'd discussed that I'd planned for it to be a series, so I included blurbs for the other two books not thinking that they'd be considered. And guess what? After four weeks of constant nervous nausea I got an email offering on ALL THREE!
I read that email so many times. I couldn't believe it—ALL FREAKING THREE! And now the contracts are signed, For Her Protection is finished and a few edits away from delivery, and I can honestly say that even without the deal writing this book has been the best thing that ever happened to me as a writer. Before this I had no brand. I was lost, trying to be writer of all things but master of none. But this book, For Her Protection, found me as a writer. It showed me what I needed to be doing all along. I know it's my best work, and writing it touched me on so many levels. I'm so ecstatic that it gets to be the book I contribute.
I know I've been quiet lately, that's because I've been jumping up and down in the corner and haven't trusted myself to write things without giving it all away! The other exciting thing is I'm coming out of the writer closet to my friends and family.
So I'm sorry everyone for keeping this part of me a secret. Trying to get published is kinda like trying to get pregnant ( I said kinda, okay). It's deeply emotional, you have this desperate yearning, except the odds are not good. Somewhere between 1-3% of manuscripts get published which means statistically I knew I had about a 99-97% chance of abject failure. People tend to think it's just like you hatch a book and then it's like wham—you chose from which publisher throws you the most money. If only! There's a special kind of pain reserved for when people ask
what's wrong with your
book womb? when are you getting published? So for me, as when I was
trying to make a human baby, I only told close friends and family until such a
time as I had my twelve week scan contracts signed.
Thank you to everyone who has followed and supported me. I have learned so much from my beautiful writing community and I'm so thrilled to be sharing this news with all of you.