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First Sale

My First Sale by DiAnn Mills

My First Sale by DiAnn Mills

DiAnn MillsWelcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. DiAnn Mills is an award winning Christian romantic suspense author with a brand new romantic suspense novel arriving in bookstores this October, Pursuit of Justice
(Tyndale House Trade Paperback), book 3 in her Call of Duty series.

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"Stop telling me you are going to someday write a book. Do it now."

I startled at my husband's words. "What did you say?"

"I said write the book. I dare you. In fact, why don't you quit your job and see if you can get anything published? I give you a year."

I stood as tall as my five feet two inches would allow, anchored my hand on my hip, and formed my words. "You're on."

I gave two weeks' notice and tackled my new career as though it were a real job. I googled writer groups and conferences, and purchased how-to books. Guess I was a bit of a bull dog. My day began at eight a.m., and I didn't stop until my word count goal was reached, leaving time to study the craft. I wrote out checks for writer conferences and studied my new writer books, one of which was a Writers Market Guide.

With my novel in my head and its contents slowly taking form on the computer screen, I also wrote short stories, articles, and devotions. It didn't matter to me if I was paid or not; building my resume and bio meant more than the dollars.

Then it happened. Many of the shorter pieces became published. Yeah! Already I knew I wouldn't ever have to return to my job. Although I was spending more hours in my new career than in my previous job, I was having fun! I found critique partners and continued to work on my novel. After putting together a proposal, I sent it off to various publishing houses who had indicated interest in Christian historical romance.

Acceptance came much sooner than I expected.

I'll never forget the day the email came. A publishing house wanted my novel. They liked my characters, my setting, my plot! Woo! Hoo!   They asked for a few changes, which I quickly completed, and they sent me a contract.

The following months were spent in excited anticipation of publication-’copy edits, viewing the book cover, and being able to say, "I'm a published writer." The publishing house contracted with me for several books over the next few years. Every book gave me a thrill, and it still does today. But not the same over-the-top, cartwheels, and bubbling laughter as the first novel.

Pursuit of JusticeI discovered I enjoyed suspense, so all of my novels took on that flavor.

But I'd also discovered something else. With every new technique and concept learned along the way, I had a deep desire to teach other serious writers. I formed a writer's critique group in my home. I began to teach at writer's conferences and mentor other writers. I became active in the Christian Writers Guild, and today I am their Craftsman Mentor.

Fifty novels later, I'm still learning and teaching the craft of writing. Encouraging other writers to achieve their writing goals is as much a passion for me as developing my own novels. It all began with a dare and finding the self-confidence needed to take those first steps in learning how to write. And my husband? He's my best cheerleader and my worst critic. He challenges me to dive deeper into characterization and plot while assisting my in research.

If I can do it, so can you.

I dare you.

My First Sale by Joelle Charbonneau

My First Sale by Joelle Charbonneau

JoelleCharbonneau Publicity 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. Joelle Charbonneau’s debut roller skating mystery book, Skating Around the Law: A Mystery, is on the shelves. (I resisted making some joke about rolling and shelves).

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I never intended to write funny books.   As a matter of fact, I never intended to write mysteries.   I was trying to write emotionally driven women's fiction and romance books.   Really, I was.   The number of rejections I received on those books should have told me something.   However, one night I was sitting on a bar stool at a conference when someone asked about my singing and acting career and whether my parents were performers.   My response was "No, but my mother is a former World Champion Artistic Roller Skater."

The silence was deafening.

Finally, the agent sitting at our table turned to me and said, "You should write a roller skating book."

Ha!   I almost fell off my bar stool.   I mean, who writes roller skating romance novels?   Being well mannered, I said that it was an interesting idea.   Inside my head I was laughing hysterically.   Ten days later, I finished the first chapter of my roller skating book.   Guess the joke was on me.   The only problem was it wasn't the romance novel the agent envisioned.   Oh, it had a romance in it, but there was also a dead body head-first in a rink toilet, an ex-circus camel and a mystery to solve.   SKATING AROUND THE LAW was born.

skatingaroundthelawMy top choice agent requested the full manuscript two days after I queried her and sent a great e-mail a week later telling me she was enjoying it and asking about my career plans.   I was psyched.   This sounded good.   19 days after the original query the agent e-mailed me.   Seeing the e-mail in my inbox made me burst out into tears before I ever opened it because everyone always talks about "the call".   Phone calls were good news.   E-mails were bad.

Wrong.   My agent was e-mailing to schedule "the call".     Three weeks after she started submitting the book to publishers, she called without e-mailing first to tell me we had an offer from a publisher.   All because of a silly conversation in a bar.   How cool is that?

Joelle Charbonneau
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