Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

My First Sale by Amelia Grey

amelia grey 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. 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.

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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!

An Earl to Enchant CoverIt 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.

I'm always happy to hear from readers. Please e-mail me at [email protected] or visit my website at www.ameliagrey.com.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

11 Comments

  1. Amelia Grey
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 09:00:31

    Good morning! I’m so pleased to be here today and sharing my story of how I finally got published. I’ll be checking back throughout the day to see if anyone has questions or comments. I’d love to hear from you.
    Amelia

  2. Michelle
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 09:40:14

    Amelia, thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story! I can’t believe someone told you to set a goal to get published in a year – if it didn’t happen, give up. Getting published is not something you can control.

    Anyway, I’m so glad it worked out for you.

  3. Amelia Grey
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 12:18:30

    Michelle,
    yes, I was upset about it for a little while, but got over it and went back to writing! :-) And just in case you are wondering–the author who said that to me wrote for Harlequin American at the time and, she’s no longer writing–but I am!
    Amelia

  4. Kim in Hawaii
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 12:46:46

    Mahalo, Amelia, for sharing! It can be eye opening for readers to learn how authors struggle sometimes to get published. I became a fan 5 years ago when I lived in the Netherlands, so I had to go that extra mile to order your books. But I felt it was worth it as your books are charmers! Looking forward to reading An Earl to Enchant!

    Are you attending RWA in Nashville?

  5. Marsha
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 13:01:19

    Thank you for sharing your path as an author. Your work is new to me, but after reading this and the excerpt on your website, I’ve added the Rogues’ Dynasty to my TBR (she fainted! what? why? I have to know!)

  6. RebeccaJ
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 13:08:23

    You’re much wiser than I am, Amelia. Someone told me that same piece of advice, ‘try it for a year’ and I actually stopped writing for a long time after that because I felt like I didn’t have the talent. Glad you stuck with it.

    I now have the quote your friend gave you about God and talent on my desk. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. carolyn jewel
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 13:27:33

    Thanks for telling your story! Boy, I got hot under the collar when I read the part about someone advising you to quit if you weren’t published in a year. I’m still hopping mad that any writer would give that advice. I’m glad you didn’t listen.

  8. Janine
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 14:08:49

    Hi Amelia. I enjoyed reading your story. I agree with Carolyn. It is so wrong-headed of someone else to put a timetable on your dreams. A shame there are so many people out there who try to discourage writers from writing. Who knows how many great books don’t get written because of that. I’m so glad that you didn’t give up.

  9. Amelia Grey
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 15:00:01

    Hi Kim,
    I think you are the Kim I get newsletters from about what nice things you do for the military. And yes, I will be in Nashville. How about you? And I’m so glad you are a fan of my books!
    Hi Marsha, so glad you put my latest book on your list. Let me hear from you afrer you’ve finsihed it! :-)
    Hi Rebecca, I guess this blog was for you! Now get busy and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it. I want to see your name in print!
    Hi Carolyn, she sold her first book to the first publisher she sent it to. I think she thought I was just spinning my wheels because I’d had a few rejections, but what I was doing was learning!
    Thanks Janie, I’m glad I didn’t give up, too! I’ve often told this story before because it has meant so much to me. I truly believe God doesn’t give us the desire without the talent to back it up no matter what it is we want to do.
    Amelia

  10. Elyssa Papa
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 16:01:11

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, Amelia. I’ve been having a hard time with my own writing dreams lately, but this post reminded just why I plug away.

  11. Shelly
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 18:38:16

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s good to be reminded that goals are worth pursuing-even when they don’t come easy or fast.

    I know I have read a couple of your books, and I hope to keep up with your list. Best wishes to you.

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