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. Alyssa Day’s latest release, Atlantis Unleashed, is in stores tomorrow (or quite possibly today).
Thanks so much to Jane and the Ja(y)nes for inviting me to stop by!!
My first sale was actually my nonfiction book, E-Mail to the Front, the story of how military families cope with wartime deployment. Since my husband left this week for another 6-7 month deployment, that book is on my mind and I’m actually going to take Jane’s advice and reissue it as an e-book. I have the rights back, and this way I can only charge a dollar or two to cover costs, so that the thousands of military spouses who have read the book and asked me where to find one for their friends/families don’t have to spend money they don’t have to read it. [Here’s an interview I did about being a military wife, if you’re interested:]
But my true dream was always to write novels. My first fiction sale was a crazy whirlwind of a process that left me wondering where I’d left my glass slippers. I’d met editor Kate Seaver [then of Dorchester Publishing, now at Berkley] at a conference when I was in the process of writing E-Mail. She and I hit it off, and she asked me to send her a novel if I ever wrote one. Of course, being suicidally optimistic, I took this as "Quit your profitable job as a trial lawyer and become a full-time writer!"
[Yeah. Don’t do this at home.]
So I wrote a proposal that was part chick lit novel and part social satire, mocking the then-new reality TV genre. AMERICAN IDLE was a blast to write, and it just poured out of me. Truly a "gift" book. I sent the first 42 pages and a synopsis that broke all the "rules" for submissions to my agent. She sent it out on a Friday, and on the following Monday morning, I got a phone call. My agent. I said, "I know, I know, I need to finish the book since we’ve sent it out. I’m almost done."
She said, "No, no! We’ve got our first offer. Kate Seaver at Dorchester wants to launch their trade line with your book!"
I promptly slid right out of my chair to the floor, and when I could hear anything other than the ringing in my ears, she told me the details. Several other houses were interested, and we got enough of a bidding war started to make me very happy. We finally did go with Dorchester, and the launch book publicity gave me buzz that a debut author can’t buy. Of course, chick lit died a horrible death, and I thought my career had flushed down the toilet with it, but then I reinvented myself and began writing the kind of paranormal action-adventure-romance novels I love to read. Tomorrow my third full-length Warriors of Poseidon novel, Atlantis Unleashed, hits bookstores, and I’m still as excited and grateful to be writing stories for a living as I was on that very first day when I fell out of my chair.
Alyssa Day is the RITA-award winning and USA Today bestselling author of the Warriors of Poseidon series about a race of warriors from the lost continent of Atlantis who have a special affinity for water (but no gills!). http://www.alyssaday.com. To help me celebrate the release of Atlantis Unleashed, Dear Author and I are giving away five autographed copies of a book from my backlist to randomly-selected commenters.