From Agent to Publisher: My Story (Part 2)

In my last post, I shared the first half of my story in the time that passed between signing with my agent and signing with my publisher. It was really encouraging to get such supportive feedback from others who are struggling or have struggled similarly. Even though the story has a happy ending, it was a tough period of my life and career and it’s always heartening to hear that others empathize–even now. It was the writing community that kept me going and always has!

On that note, in order to spread a little hope, here’s the second half of the story…

When You Give Up…

The end of the year drew near and that “within a week” idea had become laughable. We were running low on major houses to send it to and I was starting to seriously think about what my next step should be. I’d had my heart set on traditional publishing because I felt like it was the best route for where I’m at in my career, but I was open to small houses with smart marketing tactics. My agent and I brainstormed more imprints we could send it to, adding in the “longer shots” at this point. We decided to do one more last round, including one of my favorite small publishers.

And then we waited.

By this point, I had long since moved on to other projects and I kept my mind busy, not worrying about my submission or checking in too much. I hadn’t given up all hope, but most of it. I knew I was going to have to get serious about coming up with a new plan if things didn’t pan out, but I didn’t want to think about it yet. Finally, one day a few months later, I checked in to see if we’d gotten any responses. My agent responded with a checklist of the last places we’d sent it to with a rejection here, a rejection there, still waiting on this one and a glimmer of hope…second readers at one. I didn’t get my hopes up. I’d been there before. But it was nice to hear.

By the time I got home that day, before I’d even had a chance to respond to her email, I got another email saying we’d had an offer! Someone wanted to publish my book! It was the smaller house but they have made NYT bestselling authors and I was thrilled! My book wasn’t going to go into a drawer! It would be out there in the world! Maybe not the way I’d originally planned, but I had faith in my ability to make the most of it.

My agent had already alerted the house with the second readers that we had an offer and by the end of the day, I was vibrating with excitement–they loved it too and the editor wanted to talk with me on the phone! This was on a Thursday, and she wasn’t able to chat until after the weekend, which is what ALWAYS seems to happen, but I had waited this long. I could wait a few more days.

The Editor of My Dreams

Finally, the following Tuesday, I got on the phone with the editor. I was nervous, of course, but the moment we started talking, all of that melted away. She was so easy to talk to and made me feel valued in a way that I knew I could just be myself. She told me things like, “your story has stuck with me in my bones,” and that while reading it she’d missed her subway stop–apparently, the ultimate qualification amongst editors! She had suggestions for some final tweaks to improve the story, all of which I was on board with, and I hung up with her feeling over the moon.

And then we waited. (You see a theme going here, right?)

Luckily, this wait wasn’t too long. Once there is an offer on the table, things tend to move pretty quickly. I had been through too much by this point to have any expectations, but of course, I wanted to work with a traditional publisher, and even more so, with this amazing editor who was as excited about my story as I was. I was supposed to hear by that Thursday and as the hours ticked by, I thought I might get sick with anticipation.

Finally, as I was leaving to pick up my oldest daughter from school, the call came in. It was my agent. WE HAD AN OFFER! And not only an offer, but a 2-book offer! I was stumbling over my words with excitement but squeals are pretty universal so my agent knew how thrilled I was. It was an amazing moment for both of us–we had been through so much to get to this point, and somehow, it had all ended up better than we could have hoped for. In that moment, I was thankful for all the previous rejections because I knew I’d ended up exactly where I was meant to be:

Harlequin.

But wait…there’s more.

This all happened at the end of March, and because the publisher wanted to announce it strategically, there was more waiting to be done before I could shout it from the rooftops. I’d initially signed on to be a part of HQN, an imprint where the romantic storyline plays the biggest role in the story, but also offers some other plots. It was a great fit and I was thrilled that though Harlequin is known for their romances, they were treating my book as women’s fiction every step of the way. We got right to content edits, which were blessedly light by this point and yet, clarified the message of my story in a way I hadn’t been able to up to this point.

As the following weeks passed, the real reason for the wait came to light–Harlequin was designing a new imprint and they thought my book would be perfect for it. They couldn’t divulge too much information yet but I trusted my editor and I trusted my agent so when they asked if I wanted to be a part of it, I said yes. I’ve always been a risk taker so even though I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into, I was sure it was worth a shot. With big risk comes big rewards, and the more I learn about my new imprint, the more I’m sure I made the right choice.

What’s Next For My Book

If you follow the news in the industry, or you follow my news, you know by now that this imprint is Graydon House, an imprint specifically for women’s fiction and “book club” type books. They will be publishing only 12-14 books in the first year, starting in September 2017, and I am beyond honored that my book is one of them. We recently re-titled my book to PERFECTLY UNDONE, which fits the story and my main character, Dylan, “perfectly.” It will be released on October 3, 2017.

Working with my editor and the Harlequin team has been such a happy experience every step of the way, from content edits, to line edits, to coming up with cover ideas, to re-titling. It’s such a surreal thing to see my book take shape from a file on my computer to something I will soon be able to put my hands on and share with you. There were so many times over the last six years, since I first started writing this book, that I was afraid I was delusional with my pie-in-the-sky dreams. But I have grown so much during this arduous process that I wouldn’t change a single thing. I think every stumble along the way only made me more thankful to finally be here and this feeling of bursting-at-the-seams gratitude is worth all of it.

Plus, it makes for a good story.

But this isn’t the end. If you’d like to follow along as Perfectly Undone becomes a real live book, and find out when you can read it for yourself, subscribe to my newsletter and/or follow me on Facebook. Your support means the world to me and I can’t wait to share my debut with you!

I am an author and a writing business teacher. I am also a mother of two, a wife, a businesswoman, a nature-lover, and a wannabe yogi. My debut women's fiction novel, PERFECTLY UNDONE, will be released on October 3, 2017. Here, I blog about my journey in publication in the hopes of inspiring others to follow their own dreams.

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