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. Winner of the Booksellers Best Award and the Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter, Amelia Grey’s books have been sold in Europe, Russia and China. Married for over twenty-five years to her high school sweetheart, she has lived in Alabama, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and now calls Panama City Beach, Florida, home. For more information, please visit www.ameliagrey.com.
When I penned my first book more than ten years ago, I didn't know that I didn't know how to write a book. I only knew I wanted to write a book, and the day I began writing we didn't even have a typewriter in the house. I wrote that book in three composition notebooks with several different colors of ink, and then paid someone to type it for me. Much to my disappointment, it didn't sell. But I didn't give up. I bought a very fine electric type writer, but that didn't help as my second book was rejected, too. I finally decided maybe I didn't know how to write a book, but I certainly wanted to learn so I wasn't about to give up!
I joined Romance Writers of America and went to conferences and attended all the workshops as well as taking the train from Connecticut into New York City for workshops that were held by Romantic Times.
By the end of another year, I had written three complete books and two proposals. They were good books. Special books. The best I could make them. But rejections were piling up. Friends and family members asked constantly, "Have you sold your book yet?" Again and again, I had to tell them, "No."
I began seriously to doubt if I was a good enough writer to be published. A published writer friend said to me, "Set a goal to sell a book in a year, and if you don't reach that goal – - give up and go on to do something else."
I thought about that for a long time.
I thought about other things I might like to do instead of write romances. I quickly realized I had no desire to be a secretary, a real estate agent, or a bank teller. I didn't want to go back to college and finish my degree to become a teacher. I didn't want to be a businesswoman, or a nurse. And, I didn't want to join a women's club and play bridge, tennis, or golf.
I wanted to be a writer . . . a romance writer.
A few days later, I told another published friend what had been said to me about giving up after another year, and she said, "Gloria, God doesn't give you the desire without the talent to back it up."
I had the desire, the talent and the skills I'd learned in the many workshops I had attended at conferences – - and I was young and had plenty of time. Why should I give up in a year?
That day I set a goal to be published no matter how many rejections I received or how many workshops I had to attend . . . no matter how long it took!
It took me another two years to sell that first book and it was the first historical I wrote which made the sell extra special. I had entered it in the Maggie Contest which is sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers. When I received a call that I was one of three finalists I made plans to make the 5 hour drive to Atlanta to be at the banquet where winners would be announced. Thankfully, my book won that night and an agent names Joyce Flaherty came over to my table after the dinner and said to me, "I was the judge for the historical category, and I picked your book as the winner. I can sell it for you if you want me to represent you."
Joyce sold that book and I'm happy to say that Joyce went on to sell eight more books for me before her untimely passing a few years ago. And I'm delighted to say that I've just had my 21st book published.
I thank God that my desire was so great that I didn't give up.
The first chapter of my latest book An Earl To Enchant, the third book in the Rogues' Dynasty Series is available on my website. I invite you to stop by and give it a try.