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My First Sale by Rachel Gibson

Rachel Gibson’s first book was Simply Irresistible, a secret baby romance, which featured a “charm school graduate and Southern belle extraordinaire” who runs away from being a trophy wife, has a one night stand, and goes on to build an empire (a small one, but still). I knew then that Gibson marched to the beat of her own drummer. Gibson excels at her sports heroes, particularly the hockey books (See Jane Score is my fave although Simply Irresistible was huge fun), and brings back the sports in her latest book, Not Another Bad Date.

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The day I got that first sale call is still very clear in my memory. It was the morning of February the 10th, 1996. Geraldo was on television, and I was wearing my pink sweats and getting reading for my three minute workout on my treadmill.

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I had been writing and submitting my work for over six years. I’d completed four full manuscripts and a partial of three chapters and a synopsis. I’d racked up around twenty-five rejections from every major publisher in New York and Canada. I’d won the Golden Heart award in 1994 for the best contemporary manuscript. Back in those days, winning the Golden Heart was pretty much a guarantee that you’d publish. It was kind of expected, and it seemed that everyone else who’d won that year was getting published. Everyone but me. By the time 1996 rolled around, I’d gotten so discouraged by rejection that I’d stopped writing. I’d buried my Golden Heart necklace in the back of my sock drawer so I wouldn’t have to see it and be reminded of my failure. I knew I’d get back to writing someday, but I needed a little time and distance from it.

So, when the phone rang that February 10th, the last thing on my mind was writing. I was just relieved to put off the grueling workout for a few more minutes. When my agent told me that she’d sold my book to Avon, I was first shocked and then confused. I’d thought all my manuscripts had been thoroughly rejected with a big red "Hell No" stamp. I’d forgotten about that little three chapter proposal I’d written and sent to my agent. The editors at Avon loved my voice in those chapters and wanted to buy the book despite the synopsis being "the worst synopsis they’d ever read."

I don’t have the best memory. Sadly, my brain is kind of a sieve, but I will never forget what it was like to see the faces of my children for the first time or how it felt to sit there in my pink sweats and feel my heart pound as if I’d just completed my three minutes on the treadmill.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

8 Comments

  1. Jill S.
    May 30, 2008 @ 08:44:45

    Fun to read how that first sale was for you. I’ve read all your books, and have loved every single one of them, but especially Madly Truly Yours.

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  2. Gennita Low
    May 30, 2008 @ 08:46:26

    Hi Rachel!

    We always remember the pounding heart, if nothing else! And how mundane the whole day was compared to The Call. I think the most memorable moments are always when one’s family and friends hear the news too and they can see that you are glowing with excitement.

    BTW, Rachel, I think I replaced you in Avon as the “worst synopsis” submitted ever, so that crown is now mine.

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  3. Rachel Gibson
    May 30, 2008 @ 09:16:00

    Jill,

    As I am closing in on the last 100 pages of book 13, it's always nice to hear someone out there is reading and enjoying my books. And Nick Allegrezza–ahhh. He was so much fun to write.

    Sorry Gennita, there are just some things I don’t share or pass on. Don’t even think of getting near my “worst synopsis ever written” crown or my Messier bobble head. Just a fair warning.

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  4. Janine
    May 30, 2008 @ 10:17:15

    Wonderful first sale story! I’m glad you shared that you had stopped writing and buried your golden heart necklace. With some first sale stories, it sounds like those authors never let rejection get to them, and while I really admire that, I can really empathize with someonw that it does get to.

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  5. KarLyn
    May 30, 2008 @ 11:05:20

    Rachel
    I am so glad you got published. I’ve read all of your books many times over! I loved your newest book ‘Not Another Bad Date’ too. Can’t wait to read what you publish next!! Keep ‘em coming.

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  6. Christyne Butler
    May 30, 2008 @ 23:44:44

    Rachel,

    Great first sale story…thanks for sharing!

    I’ve been a fangirl of yours since I found DAISY’S BACK IN TOWN…and immediately went out and bought your entire back list! You have been an inspiration to me and my writing ever since. I’ll be haunting the bookstores this weekend to pick up NOT ANOTHER BAD DATE!

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  7. limecello
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 23:15:40

    Rachel, that is such a cute story – and good thing you didn’t completely stop! I love your books – and when I get Not Another Bad Date my collection will be nearly complete! It’s hard for me to pick a favorite – the See Jane Score was the first book you wrote that I read – ironically, Simply Irresistible is my most recent acquisition.
    Congratulations on the new release!

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  8. Theresa
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 08:18:29

    Rachel, thanks for sharing! Great first sale story. I love all of your books. I am a huge fan. Congratulations on the RITA final this year!

    ReplyReply

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