On January 5th, just a few short months ago, I wrote a blog post with my one-word theme for this year. The word was fulfillment. If you read that post, forgive me for the overview. But in a nutshell, I’d shared about the struggles I’d experienced in my writing career over the past two years. I turned 41 in December and I was disappointed in where I was in my career. My book sales had taken a nose dive a couple of years ago and they weren’t showing any signs of shooting back up. I shared in that blog post how I truly believed things would get better on 2019 for my career. I had no idea back then how true those words were and how quickly it would happen.
In 2018, I wrote a psychological thriller. One that had been rattling around inside of my head for a long time. It was dark and creepy in the best way and I was so proud of it. I decided that with this book I wouldn’t self-publish, but instead try to land a Big 5 publisher.
So on January 22, 2019, I started querying agents with the project. In my fifteen years of writing, I’ve queried agents and publishers so many times I honestly didn’t have high expectations. I had a list of 100 of the top agents/agencies in NY and I planned to work my way down the list and then start a new one if need be. I told myself I was in it for the long haul, even if it took years. That’s how much I believed in this book.
By mid- February, I had an agent (What?!!) And not just any agent – an incredible agent at my dream agency. I queried 49 agents, and ended up with 5 offers of representation. It was all very surreal. Almost too good to be true. I pinched myself a lot.
My agent began pitching publishers toward the end of March after we edited the manuscript and got it in tip-top shape.
On April 4th the book went to auction in the US. That night I chose my amazing editor, who I get to work with at least 2 books on! (Again, what??!!) One to release Spring 2020, the next one Spring 2021. I’m over the moon excited!
Here is the announcement from Publisher’s Marketplace!
If you had told me back in January that in just 3 short months I’d be here, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s all been a whirlwind. But even though it’s moved so fast – querying in January to signing with an agent in February to taking a deal in April – my career actually had a very slow start.
I wrote my first book fifteen years ago. Back then the chick lit genre was huge. Women’s fiction sections of bookstores were filled with pastel colored books, humorous stories about quirky women. My first three books were chick lit. The first one garnered a lot of attention from editors and agents, but in the end chick lit tanked and so did my dreams of publishing one of those books.
So I shelved them and spent the next few years trying to figure out my niche. I took writing classes and workshops, got involved in online writer’s forums, went to critique groups, entered contests, read books on the craft of writing, read A LOT.
Then in 2011, I wrote my first young adult series. At that point lots of my friends were self publishing and doing well with it. So in 2012, I followed suit. Within a year, I’d made enough to quit my job and write full time. I did very well with my YA romances for the next few years. But then the market shifted and my income started to go up and down in a way that I could no longer count on. So in 2017, I went back to work. I kept trying to make my writing happen, though, but felt increasingly disheartened.
So, while this has all moved fast, it’s actually been fifteen years in the making. Richard Bach said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
I went back and forth on whether to even blog about this, but in the end I decided everyone likes a motivational story, right? I know that over the past 15 years I’ve devoured every blog post and article I could read about somebody making it. Sometimes when we are in the thick of it with rejection, it’s the inspirational stories that keep us going. If that’s you, I pray my story keeps you going!
Pursue your dreams. Whatever they are. It won’t come easy. In fact, it will probably be really hard most of the time. But in the end, I promise it will be worth it.
I’ll end with the lyrics to a song by one of my favorite bands.
Joseph – Blood and Tears
We’ll say it wasn’t easy
No, it was never easy
And when we look back
They’ll wonder how we got here
Tell them how we got here
It was blood and tears
Blood and tears
Blood and tears
It’s how we got here