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My First Sale by Alyssa Day (and GIVEAWAY)

book review 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!). 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.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. Leeann Burke
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 05:48:16

    You are quite an inspiration Mrs Day. I attended the RITA awards when you won your RITA. You certainly deserved it. My friends have recommended your new series so many times that I’ll be picking it up on my next trip to the bookstore.

    Your interview was great.

  2. Alyssa Day
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 06:41:35

    Thank you so much, Leeann!! (Please call me Alyssa!) I am so truly grateful to hear that people recommend my books. It’s such a gift to be able to tell stories for a living! Thank you!!

  3. S. W. Vaughn
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 06:45:39

    What a great story! Sliding out of your chair must’ve been a fun trip. Next stop, floor, ETA five seconds! :-)

    It’s especially great to hear that you reinvented yourself after the demise of chicklit. :-) Personally, I prefer fantasy, so your Warriors of Poseidon series looks right up my alley. *G*

    Love the cover, too!

  4. rosecolette
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 06:48:32

    Alyssa, from one military wife to another, you are definitely an inspiration on how to turn the stress of deployments into something creative. Very much looking forward to your new release. Thank you.

  5. Lori
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 07:18:00

    That’s the fantasy first sale story: the one we all dream of but the majority will never have. Congrats for such a stunning experience.

    And I must admit that while I love paranormal, I don’t think chick-lit is dead. At least not in my house. Now I need to go look up American Idle (sounds like my kind of read!!)

  6. Bonnie Ferguson
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 07:52:55

    What a fabulous first sale story! And congrats on your latest release :)

  7. ms bookjunkie
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 08:01:31

    Great story! And a really fantastic video clip, it really makes me want to check out your books…

  8. NancyB
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 08:25:41

    Wow, a dream of a first-sale tale, indeed! And I agree that chick-lit isn’t dead–or at least it shouldn’t be. There’s room for both paranormal and chick-lit out there!

  9. Carolyn Jewel
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 09:36:47

    I love your story. And, by the way, I enjoy Chick Lit, when I can get my hands on it.

  10. azteclady
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 09:44:54

    (Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, I have most of Ms Day’s books, and I’d like to give the chance to someone new to her work)

    I read E-mail to the Front shortly after it came out. It’s a wonderful book. In it there’s poignancy, there’s optimism, there’s strength, and there’s love.

    I have just glommed Ms Day’s Warriors of Poseidon and I’m chomping at the bit for Atlantis Unmasked, her July release.

  11. Lori S.
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 10:37:21

    Great story! I’m looking forward to release date!

  12. SonomaLass
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 11:13:53

    Another excellent first sale story. This feature is one of the best things about Mondays now. I like chick lit and fantasy, so I’m guessing that Ms Day is a writer I need to check out.

  13. Booklover1335
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 11:14:18

    Wow Alyssa,
    That took some guts (quitting your job as a lawyer), but it has definitely paid off both for you, and for us readers!
    I am a big fan of the Warriors of Poseidon series, but never knew you wrote a chick lit. I think I will have to check it out, especially since it is what launched you into this career. Thanks for visiting with us here, and would love to win any of your books!


  14. Jessa Slade
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 11:33:39

    “Oh no, I’m writing my husband over and over.”

    But that’s so… romantic! The whole video was great, especially the slow pan down Atlantean abs :)

  15. Alyssa Day
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 11:43:57

    Thank you SO SO much, everyone!! And I agree that chick lit seems to be coming back now, which is great, but there was definitely a point round about 2006? that everyone in publishing called The Day that Chick Lit Died. It came about IMO from the hideous glut of overpublishing – 400 pink covers a month and many of them not at all good or funny or with any heart; just snark with no depth slapped on a page. I worry sometimes that publishing is doing the same (the glut) with paranormal romance now, but the market has a way of correcting these things.

    And thank you again for all the kind words!! We found out the day before Judd left last week that our youngest baby dog has cancer, so I’ve been reeling. It is nice to hear some kind words.

  16. Bonnie
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 12:12:41

    So sorry to hear about your puppy! I loved your story and am looking forward to reading your books!

  17. Kalen Hughes
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 12:28:58

    Congrats on the new release and ((HUGS!))) on the dog. I lost my ancient Staffie to cancer last year and I still tear up when I think of her . . . There are lots of treatments for pets with cancer now (and oh how my bank account knows about them), so I’ll keep my *fingers crossed* that your pup’s illness is treatable.

  18. Little Lamb Lost
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 12:30:24

    That is quite the first sale tale. Though you made your initial splash in Chick Lit, it sounds like your current series and you are going along swimmingly.

  19. Kalen Hughes
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 12:30:29

    I don’t think that came out quite right as I read it over . . .

    I lost my pup after 4 years of treatment and management, so what I meant to say was don’t despair just yet.

  20. Karin Shah
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 13:06:04

    Great first sale story! I’m looking forward to the new Atlantis book! The others were great! :-)

  21. Janine
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 13:26:19

    Military deployments can be hard. I’m sure having a sense of humor helps, though. I wish your husband and family well, and want to thank you for your first sale story. It was different and interesting.

  22. Donna S
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 13:33:18

    Great post. Thank you so much for sharing. It is always interesting reading about the first sales of great authors.

  23. Babs
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 13:42:44

    Thanks for sharing your story – congrats on the new book!

  24. TerryS
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 13:52:43

    Thanks for sharing your first sale story. While all first stories are fun to read, there really are no two alike, are there? And congrats on “Atlantas Unleashed”. Can’t wait to see it on the shelves.

    Hugs, good thoughts and support to you and your whole family. Give extra hugs and love to your youngest dog. I found reading “The Rainbow Bridge” gave me great comfort when my oldest dog passed last week. Thanks to excellent vet care she was with us much longer than we expected.

    Take care.

  25. Patrice
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 14:20:11

    What a great story! I love paranormal and the legends of Atlantis so I definitely need to try out your series. Thanks for sharing. :)

  26. Aimee C
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 14:28:54

    Great interview! I love first sale stories and your irrepressible optimism in quitting your day job, Alyssa!

  27. Tili
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 14:30:02

    I’ve mostly been skipping the “first sale” stories but something convinced me to check this one out. It was pretty fun! I guess all of them are going to be kind of sweet and fun to read, like “how we met” stories of happily married couples: they describe the beginnings, auspicious or not, of something that’s turned out well.

  28. Cybercliper
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 16:18:06

    Hi Alyssa…great interview!! I’ll have Atlantis Unleashed in my hands by noon tomorrow, oh and thanks for quitting your day job :D

  29. Sarah
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 16:47:51

    I really enjoyed your chick lit book and I have always wished you were able to continue writing it. That’s said, I’m really enjoying your Atlantis series too so don’t stop writing!

  30. Sarah Parr
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 17:01:19

    Hi Alyssa! Thanks for sharing your story and congrats on your success!! I’m so sorry to hear about your pup. I hope the news there improves.

  31. Collette
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 17:02:54

    I love your books but I really admire your courage and resilience as a military spouse. I can be grumpy when my husband works every day for a while. (Another attorney–maybe I can get him to start writing!)

    Great first sale story! And I really love the Atlantis series and it looks like you’ve got at least 3 more in the works. Yay!

  32. Alyssa Day
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 18:17:25

    Thank you again, everyone, for the kind words on the books and for military families. It has been so much fun to share my first sale story with you!!

  33. maygirl7
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 19:31:47

    What an amazing first sale story. I am curious to try one of your books.

  34. Bridget H.
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 19:40:24

    War time deployment sucks!! My hubby was in Afghanistan and I’m still not sure how I survived it.

  35. Ashley Madden
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 19:56:10

    Congrats on your release Alyssa!!

    I really love that cover!

  36. MarnieColette
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 20:14:55

    What a great first sale story. I have to say I can’t wait for number 3… I loved Conlan and Riley (one particular scene but I won’t spoil it for those that haven’t read it. I loved Ven too. Thanks for sharing your imagination with us.

  37. Michelle (MG) Braden
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 21:23:05

    What a fantastic story, Alyssa! I love your Atlantis books and am looking forward to reading my copy of Unleashed (on order – woohoo!). I didn’t know about your Chick Lit stuff so now I will be on the hunt to read those. No matter what the publishing world says, I’ve never stopped CL wasn’t dead to me. :-D

  38. Yvonne B.
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 21:27:16

    Wonderful first sale story and great cover.

    While I haven’t read any of your books yet (key word), I keep hearing enough that the books keep making louder noises along the lines of from (horrid grammar, I know) “pick me, pick me” to “Pick me NOW! Dangnabit ……..(unprintable stuff)”

  39. Gabbitron
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 21:33:54

    picking up my copy of AU during my lunch break tomorrow. i gave up my coffee for a week for Atlantis :) but this is a craving i can’t deny

  40. Michaela
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 21:35:19

    Alyssa, not only are you a great author, you’re also a wonderful person. I had the honor of meeting you at a con and it’s always nice to meet a kind, happy person to associate with the picture in the back of your favorite books. Keep up the excellent work!

  41. Crystal G
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 21:47:52

    I’m anxiously awaiting for my copy of Atlantis Unleashed!!!
    My dear darling friend hooked me on your books about a year ago. I’ve loved everything about the series, if only they could be released faster ;)

    Thanks for the wonderful reads!!

  42. Kathy Crouch
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 21:55:18

    What an amazing story!!! I am an Army wife and an aspiring writer. Your story has really given me motivation to keep on trying. Thank you for that. I love the Warriors of Poseidon books and cannot wait until tomorrow for Atlantis Unleashed!

  43. Ann
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 21:56:35

    Enjoyed your My First Sale story. Am really looking forward to the next Poseidon book and see from your web site that more are on the way. I’ve been waiting to read what happens to Lord Justice. He was in dire straits the last time we saw him, IIRC.

  44. Alyssa Day
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 22:03:35

    Thanks again, everyone!!! I’m so thrilled by all the kind words that what the heck, I’m sending the winners copies of Atlantis Unleashed that just came, all bright and shiny, from my publisher today!!! I think Jane will pick the random winners with her magic random picker button and let you/me know so you can email me at [email protected] and arrange shipping.

    Yay!! Am going to try to take my tired self to bed now.

  45. Raonaid Luckwell
    Jun 01, 2009 @ 22:06:12

    Thank you for sharing that with us. I’m a relatively newbie to your books. I read the first one and was immediately hooked.

  46. Maija P.
    Jun 02, 2009 @ 01:48:52

    I’ve read Atlantis Rising and look forward to reading the rest of them. You have very interesting series going on!

  47. Prue
    Jun 02, 2009 @ 07:25:32

    Love the story Alyssa. I am interested in reading that first book in ebook. I’ll keep an eye out for it. Can’t wait for Atlantis Unleashed!!

  48. Lauren
    Jun 02, 2009 @ 10:23:40

    What an amazing first sale story. I just read all the hilarious comments for the cover over at Smart Bitches and cannot wait to get my hands on this one!

  49. Crystal G
    Jun 02, 2009 @ 14:54:14

    I’m so bummed. The Borders that I went to did not have it in yet! That should be a crime, seriously.
    I wanted to cry. I’ve soooooo been looking forward to this one.
    I’ll try another store tomorrow.

  50. Tracy Faul
    Jun 02, 2009 @ 17:46:07

    ‘Nother military wife here, facing another deployment in a few months…definitely going to have to chase down a copy of this book, now, I think (at some point; we’ve got an extended drive coming up soon, so I may have to put it off until just before that…)

  51. ReacherFan
    Jun 02, 2009 @ 19:45:26

    I had not heard of the Atlantis series until I was offered Atlantis Rising in a trade on paperbackswap. I took it and it just arrived. It looks like the kind of book I enjoy.

    To all the men and women in uniform and the military spouses and families left to wait, my deepest thanks.

    Lest we forget.

  52. Jane
    Jun 02, 2009 @ 19:56:05

    Here are the winners. Alyssa will be contacting you:

    Little Lamb Lost
    Donna S
    Yvonne B.

  53. Alyssa Day
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 07:08:08

    Thank you all again, so much!!! What a wonderful way to celebrate release week – with the terrific gang here at Dear Author!!!

  54. azteclady
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 20:26:44

    Congratulations to the winners!

    Happy release week, Ms Day!

  55. Yvonne B.
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 23:21:19

    Thank you so much for the opportunity.

    Congratulations to the other winners.

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