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First Sale

My First Sale by Keri Ford

My First Sale by Keri Ford

Welcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Keri Ford is a debut author who submitted a first page for critique in May of 2010. Taking the critiques, she examined her writing and launched herself into a new project which is released today. You can buy “Through the Wall” in digital format through most etailers.


In the Spring of 2010, I was sprawled out on the jagged shores of rock bottom. My guts had been ripped out of me, my heart left bleeding. There wasn't an inch of skin that wasn't rubbed raw.

I'd realized what I'd been hearing was true. My writing was awkward, stiff, and plainly put, not good.

Even worse, I didn't have a clue on how to fix it. A critique partner ripped through a page for me, pointing things out and how to fix some issues. I sent a page into Dear Author for First Page Saturday. I reviewed feedback given to me from submissions. I took in and analyzed every comment, thankful for them, hard as it was.

One comment stood out very clear and I'll never forget it. "And this brings me to the thing that most feels like you're following rules blindly"-’Courtney Milan. This may not have been Courtney's intention when she wrote it, but I translated that as, I was so busy following those unwritten rules about writing, trying to be perfect to get published, I couldn't even tell a story through it.

I put all my current works in progress away. I didn't know if all my stories were awful, if it was just a couple or what. I knew I wasn't going to stick my finger in anything I had been working on and further ruin their possibility.

After nearly five years of faithful writing I wasn't about to give up. Not knowing what else to do, I pulled out an old story I had bedded. One I'd written before I learned how to write.

Five minutes into that reading I made a startling realization-’when I didn't have a clue about writing mechanics or publishing or marketing, or anything, writing was fun. I kept reading that story. My heart was fluttering again. My stomach kicking up with anticipation. It was a complete rush that swept over me. I read that whole story remembering how giddy I'd been while writing it. I wanted writing to be like that again. Wanted my breath to catch when something surprising happened. Laugh by some unexpected comment. Sigh over something sweet.

Still not confident enough to return to my ongoing manuscripts, I decided to write something brand-spanking new for an experiment. And something short.

Something sexy. What's funner than having sex?

Blank document in front of me, I decided I needed a heroine looking for sex. I leaned her against a fence at a barbeque and let her survey the crowd of opportunities. Mr. Blond Hair, Blue Eyes came prowling out of the masses.

I didn't think about sentence structure, usage of "that' or "was', GMC, shallow POV or deep-’nothing. I had two goals with writing this story. One-’get my heroine laid. Two-’have fun while doing it. That was the kit and caboodle of my plotting.

The words just poured out. The characters flew off the page. For the first time in a long time, I felt good putting the words down. Two days later, heroine was satisfied, so was the hero, and all in about 15,000-words. I had my rush back.

All those unwritten rules? The bits of them that I needed had seeped into my writing unconsciously. That phrase, "learn the rules and then you can break them"-’I got that now.

I cleaned that story up and sent it to an editor who'd asked to see something contemporary from me. Within twenty-fours, the editor at Turquoise Morning Press responded back and I signed my first contract. And that's how I made my first sale, which turned into my first series.

Through The Wall is the first of six sexy contemporary novellas in the Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas series. It releases *today* (((giddy happy-go-lucky feelings)))

Straight up stubbornness and thick skin got me here. It's what's going to keep me here.

Thanks so much Jane for letting me on here today!

My First Sale by Nathalie Gray

My First Sale by Nathalie Gray

Nathalie Gray author photoWelcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Nathalie Gray writes science fiction and paranormal romance, some of which have won awards (including an RT for best futuristic romance). Nat also creates cover art as Kanaxa. When she's not doing either of these things, she can be found in her impregnable fortress under the arctic ice sheet, plotting world domination.   Her latest stories can be found in The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2.


Thanks for letting me play! I promise not to say (too many) bad words. At the risk of sounding like a goof (which I am, and proudly, too), I began writing not at the tender age of two with crayons held in my chubby fist, but at the substantially less youthful age of thirty. By then, my hand was no longer adoringly chubby but rather well-worn from a career in the military and a brand new baby (they're hard on the hands, the little critters!). After taking stock of the dents in my wall from various encounters of the bookish kind, I foolishly decided that I could do this shit, I could write stories, better stories even, where heroines kicked Le Butt, and crushed the villain. Almost on a dare with myself, I began to write. Ten pages, fifty, six-hundred. I began to send these ridiculous and pitiable attempts to agents and publishers. Some of them must have taken pity, because I began to receive not only form letters, but personal rejections. I received *personal* rejections! Only writers enjoy those.

Mammoth cover high resIn June of 2005, five years after writing my first page, I sent my latest babbling to a publisher. Two weeks later, I received an email from a lovely editor whom I have since then dubbed Madame M., and could I please send the full manuscript.

Could I?!

I'm sure my neighbours remember that day as clearly as I do. So does my dog, no doubt. Unless you live in a strange neighbourhood indeed, it's not every day a gangly woman bursts out of the house, jeans rolled up from cleaning a flood in the basement and spiky hair a mess, waving a piece of paper quickly becoming limp and sad-looking as she dashes through hedges four houses down to her BFF so they can partake in squeeage and OMGitude.

Since then, I have sold books to Ellora's Cave (Hi EC, my very first publisher!), Red Sage, Samhain, Constable & Robinson, and Running Press. If my latest manuscript is accepted for publication, it will become my 40th title sold.