My First Sale by Brenda Novak
It’s always exciting to revisit my first sale. I’ll soon be celebrating my 10-year anniversary of receiving The Call, which happened on August 26, 1998, and what a fun, challenging and rewarding ride it’s been so far!
I wasn’t one of those people who’d always dreamed of being a writer. I thought I was left-brained, better at math and science, or business. After majoring in Business Administration, I was content to help my entrepreneur husband start and run his various businesses-‘until I caught my daycare provider drugging my children with cough syrup to get them to sleep while I was working as a loan officer (so she could watch the soaps all day uninterrupted!). My trust destroyed, I knew I had to work from home; I wouldn’t leave my children vulnerable again. But I wasn’t sure how to make money. The only asset I knew for sure I possessed was the ability to type fast, so I considered starting a typing service. Fortunately, at the same time, I was reading Jude Devereaux’s A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR and was so captivated by the story that the desire to pen my own novel began to burn in my heart.
That desire resulted in my first manuscript. It took me five years to do the research (it was set in Victorian England) and teach myself the craft. At this time I didn’t know about RWA or any other writer support organizations. In searching for the contacts I would need to get published, I fell victim to a "book doctor" who said I had commercial talent but needed a "just a little" professional editing. Twelve months later and $5,000 poorer, I had an 800-page manuscript that was supposedly ready to submit. But I’d trusted the wrong people, and it was way off target. Luckily for me, at this point fate interceded. A friend introduced me to Romance Writers of America and encouraged me to attend their annual conference.
I took that advice and went to the convention quite pregnant with my fifth child. I was there to meet potential publishers, but soon realized that I’d been taken. My manuscript wasn’t marketable (for a variety of reasons).
After putting so much work and expense into it (which I’d forced at a time when my husband’s business was failing and we were losing our home), that painful realization probably would’ve devastated me–except I could feel that I was finally in the right hands. I rushed home and, over the next four months, rewrote OF NOBLE BIRTH. The manuscript emerged as a lean 435-page historical romance, which I entered into The Golden Heart (RWA’s national contest for unpublished writers) and, lo and behold, I finaled. This lent me enough credibility to get me an agent, who sold that manuscript to HarperCollins almost a year later. The book came out in November 1999, and I’ve written twenty-eight books since then(only one historical, though-‘but that’s another story
TRUST ME, First book in The Last Stand Series, On Sale May 27th!
Don’t miss my on-line auction for diabetes research beginning May 1st at www.brendanovak.com