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My First Sale by Anne Marsh

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. As the following first sale story from  Anne Marsh displays, from bitter disappointment can come great things.   Anne’s current publisher is Dorchester and obviously Dorchester authors are in quite of a bind right now with their books only being made available digitally.   If you want to find Anne’s books, take a look at your favorite ebook retailer for her first novel, The Hunt, and her most recent release, Bond With Me (Kindle and BN).


My first sale was due to Disney. I'd always dreamed of writing a romance novel One Day (cue the Disney music), but that day was always some vague, indeterminate day in the future. I was working for Pixar, an inspirational workplace, because it seemed as if absolutely everyone there-‘from the Oscar-winning directors to the guys in the maintenance department-‘were creative. Everyone spent weekends writing a book or a film script, illustrating books or exhibiting in galleries, crafting and running highly successful Etsy shops. I was able to take free writing courses from Pixar University, Pixar's in-house training and development program, and I loved it. My stacks of writing books grew, but my word count didn't. I'd write that book. Someday.

Then, one morning, I went to work and my manager asked me to step into his office. And shut the door. Uh-oh. Ten minutes later, I was laid off and bawling my eyes out in the Human Resources office, a casualty of the Disney-Pixar merger. All I wanted to do was stop crying long enough to slink out of the studio without being spotted.

Anne Marsh Bond with MeI made it home. I sat on the bed, howled, and ate my way through all of the junk food in the house. My husband, wise man that he was, hugged me and left to make a grocery store run for more sugar. Halfway through, though, something happened. I got mad and I stopped crying. I'd loved the idea of my job and I'd absolutely adored the studio-‘but the work itself had become boring. If I could write anything, I realized, I'd be writing romance. So why wasn't I doing that? I had a stack of Good Housekeeping magazines in my bathroom that promised me that being laid off was actually A Very Good Thing (clearly, that writer didn't have a mortgage) and that it was the universe's permission to reinvent myself and choose to pursue whatever I felt a passion for.

Choose. Choosing sounded damned good to me. I could choose to write a book. I could see being laid off as an opportunity to follow my dream, rather than as an invitation to drain my savings account.

I chose to get up each morning and, before I looked at the online want ads (shh, don't tell on me), I wrote. At first, I had a daily goal of 500 words. Then a thousand. Then three thousand. I wrote three books while I was waiting for my first sale. One wisely resides in my closet; the light of day is not kind. The second earned me a revise-and-resubmit (closer!). The third book was the charm. THE HUNT is a fun book, my treat to myself as I slogged through job postings and interviews and the constant No, No, No! of job searching. I just made the book up as I went along, adding in all my favorite bits. A strong, sexy alpha male. A really, really sexy chase scene. Some slightly kinky sex. Pyramids. A heroine who was resilient and feisty and more than capable of making the hero want to reach for happily-ever-after. By the two year anniversary of my layoff, those choices were a complete book and I had an agent and my first sale. And the revise-and-resubmit? I revised and resubmitted and BOND WITH ME, a sexy paranormal romance about fallen angels in search of their soul mates, comes out on August 24th. All because of a choice.

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. Jayne
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 08:34:57

    WTG Anne! Great first sale “keep at it” story.

  2. Jane
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 08:39:31

    @Jayne I also think the cover is very clever with the tattoo twining from one wrist to the next. I don’t think I’ve see that done before.

  3. Jennifer M (OR)
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 09:09:31

    A very inspiring story and very needed in these times and with this job market. Congratulations.

  4. Carin
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 10:01:37

    I LOVE that cover!

  5. TKF
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 10:35:38


    I also think the cover is very clever with the tattoo twining from one wrist to the next. I don't think I've see that done before.

    I haven’t seen it on a cover this way, but it’s a main feature of the heroes in Larissa Ione’s Demonica series. They have their linage on their arms and it magically duplicates on the heroine when the couple bonds.

  6. Angela
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 12:28:07

    Great choice and great first sale story! And the teaser about the story, and the cover sold me on it. I look forward to reading it.

    @Jane: I haven’t seen that done on the cover before either, and I really like it!

  7. Janine
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 12:46:56

    Neat first sale story. The Pixar coworkers sound like interesting people. It must have been a fascinating working environment.

    Best of luck with your book, and so sorry about the Dorchester situation.

  8. Sunita
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 12:47:30

    What a wonderful story! How lovely to be reminded that it is possible to love your job, be good at it, get laid off, and then get to do something you love even more. Good luck on the new book!

  9. Isobel Carr
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 23:28:37

    @Anne Marsh: I assume you’ve eaten many a lunch at Rudy’s Can’t Fail?

  10. Anne Marsh
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 08:23:34

    Hi Isobel! I have eaten at Rudy’s, but not that many lunches… I was always more of a fan of Pixar’s onsite restaurant. They had an unbelievably fabulous salad bar.

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