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. Beverley Kendall’s second release, A Taste of Desire, is in stores now. You can visit Beverley at her website and learn more about her books.
I'm one of those writers who knew they wanted to write since they were very young. I can't even say it was when I was handed my first romance novel-’it was before that. I was the young child who stapled sheets of papers together and drew and wrote my own stories.
When did I get serious about wanting to write? Hmm, that had to be when I was nineteen and in college. Since I cut my romance teeth on Harlequin romances, I started writing with Harlequin Presents in mind-’to me, the pinnacle of romance books. I didn't have a critique partner-’didn't even know what one was-’wasn't a member of any writing organizations, it was just me and my typewriter (totally dating myself). I never finished the manuscript. Oh, I did send it off to Harlequin and they requested a partial, which they rejected with personalized notes on what I can do to make it better.
When I think back on that manuscript (which I still have), I literally cringe at my naivety. I didn't even have the thing read over by anyone else!!
Skipping forward many years, after I'd had my son and was looking down the road to the rest of my life, I remembered my dream of becoming a writer right about the time Avon Fanlit was gearing up. That contest set me on the course to writing my, not only first historical novel, but finishing my first manuscript.
I started sending it out in 2007 to every romance agent I could find. Everyone turned it down. So while I was writing book two in this trilogy (boy, wasn't I ambitious?), I decided why not send it out to editors who accepted queries. Hilary Sares from Kensington Publishing responded to my email query in about five minutes flat. She said she loved the query so send the full. I did, quickly, eagerly. While I was waiting, I continued to revise it. Revised so much so that I wanted to send this version to Hilary instead. After almost six months with no response from her, I did, spending another $20 on postage and sending it along with a new title to boot.
One week to the day I sent Hilary the revised manuscript, I received her rejection letter in the mail. I was bummed but not deterred. To me, that ship had sailed and there was no hope for A Lady Compromised (one of the many former titles of SINFUL SURRENDER). It was now officially dead and I could lay it to rest until I was famous and my editor would look at anything I gave her/him.
On September 4, 2008 I received a call from Hilary Sares. To say that I was shocked and stupefied would be a mild understatement. As she was talking to me, I just kept thinking, "She rejected my first book and I haven't even sent her the second one, so why is she calling me?' Well, she cleared it up by telling me she read the manuscript I sent her in February and wanted to contract it. February! OMG, she's talking about the revised manuscript I thought I'd wasted money mailing to her again. Talk about timing. If I'd received that rejection letter just a week or more earlier, I would never have sent it out.
I can't clearly remember what I said; it was a jumble of words, barely coherent I'm sure. Needless to say, I partied like it was 1999 (okay, so not literally) and exclaimed my joy to everyone I knew. I soon got an agent and penned the deal. A year or so later, SINFUL SURRENDER was released and seeing it on Wal-Mart's book shelf had to be the second best publishing experience of my life. That was almost exactly a year ago, and now my second novel and the second book in The Elusive Lords trilogy, A TASTE OF DESIRE, releases January 4, 2011.
Comment below and you'll be entered to win a $15 Amazon Gift Certificate and a copy of both SINFUL SURRENDER and A TASTE OF DESIRE!