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My First Sale by Charlotte Hughes

charlotte4My First Sale series. Each Friday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between.   Award winning author Charlotte Hughes began her writing career publishing newspaper and magazine articles before becoming a New York Times best selling author. Charlotte makes her home in Beaufort, S. C. Best known for her FULL series with Janet Evanovich, she has written over 40 books, ranging for the 3 mysteries she wrote for Avon to Mira’s HOT SHOT. Her newest release, NUTCASE centers on Atlanta psychologist Kate Holly and the humorous antics of her friends, family and patients. In the process she learns that the life of a psychologist is enough to drive anyone nuts. Readers are invited to visit Charlotte online at, where she also blogs regularly. As part of the introduction of her newest work, NUTCASE, Charlotte is doing a virtual blog tour VIRTUALLY NUTS in February and March.


I ran a licensed daycare at the time of my first sale. It was a way for me to earn income and stay home with my two little boys, both under the age of three. I had a total of six children under the roof of my house from 7 AM to 7 PM. I highly don’t recommend that career path. If one kid gets a runny nose, they all get runny noses. Same with diarrhea.

I’d simultaneously submitted a manuscript to several agents, but weeks had passed and I hadn’t had time to worry about it because, well, there were SIX CHILDREN in my house! And one of them had a habit of biting people.

It was lunch time, and I busier than a one-armed paper hanger, trying to get food on the table and keep an eye on The Biter. The noise level in my kitchen was multiple decibels higher than what somebody from OSHA would have deemed safe, so when I answered the phone I could barely hear the person on the other end. Somebody from such-and-such was interested in representing my book.

I figured I hadn’t heard right. I was mistaken. Or maybe it was a scam. Only a week before, some publishing company had called to sell magazines. My husband answered the phone and all he heard were the words "publishing" and thought I’d just made my first sale. He yelled out to me, "Hey, there’s a publishing company on the telephone. I think they want to buy your book." I broke three fingernails and stubbed my big toe trying to get to the phone. In the end, I order four magazines from them.

But the nice lady on the other end of the line was from a literary agency, and she liked my style. She felt certain she could sell my book, but she had a few revisions. Well, hell, I would have rewritten the whole book in my own blood at that point. I grabbed a sheet of paper so I could write down her suggestions. My nine-month-old was smearing peanut butter of his face, but at least everyone was safe from the Biter. He was gnawing on the back of a chair.

nutcaseI used nap times to write so as soon as I tucked everyone in I started on my revisions. A couple of weeks later, I mailed it to the agent. Days turned into weeks, and I heard nothing.

On the day I received "the call" I was sprawled on my sofa, suffering from a bad case of PMS. I was exhausted, having just put six cantankerous kids down for their naps. I was considering a career change. Suddenly it didn’t seem as important to be home with my children during their "tender years." In fact, I thought it would be fun find a job where I traveled a lot.

The agent asked me if I had any nice photos of myself. Well, sure, I thought. There was a picture of me smiling proudly beside my son who’d finally taken a dump in his new potty chair, me kneeling at the bathtub drenched from head to toe, trying to get both boys bathed, me holding a birthday cake and surrounded by six children, including the Biter.

But, no, the agent wanted something professional looking. Something that would look nice on the inside back cover of my new book. The book that had just sold!

I’m not real clear what happened next, although I’m pretty sure the heavens parted, and trumpets sounded. I think the angels sang. I just remember walking around the house in stunned disbelief for the rest of the day. I have a vague recollection of being startled by the sound of a yelping kid. In the brief time I’d allowed myself to wallow in sheer happiness, the Biter had struck.

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. Maya M.
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 08:44:25

    Reading this first sale story, I thought it would be a good idea to check out some of this new-to-me-but-funny-sounding author’s work.

    Then, I got to the part where she wrote her MS during naptime, after she put six (6! SIX!) little ones down to nap at once.

    With my single, unputdownable toddler tumbling at my side, I was seized by a powerful desire to have nothing to do with such an overachiever. OK, some might call that envy. Just because the max I get out of my one-and-half-year-old is fortyfive minutes, on a good day. Writing time? What writing time?

    Alright. In salute to someone who dealt with a biter (been there, done that) I’ll go look for these books after all.

  2. rebyj
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 10:31:28

    I was considering a career change. Suddenly it didn't seem as important to be home with my children during their “tender years.” In fact, I thought it would be fun find a job where I traveled a lot.

    HAHAHA as the mother of 4 I hear ya!

    I know I’ve read some of your books, I’m thinking category romances? The new book “Nutcase” is part of a series? I’ll have to go web hunting to get your book list because the above comment was the Laugh O’ The Day.

  3. Janine
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 11:48:28

    Great, funny story! I esp. loved the part about the magazine sellers. Thanks so much for it!

  4. Jessa Slade
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 11:52:08

    I would have rewritten the whole book in my own blood at that point

    The Biter could’ve helped with that :)

  5. SonomaLass
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 13:35:11

    Wow, that sure brings back memories of the years when my kids were in daycare. I am not cut out to be a full-time stay-home mom, so women willing to keep OPKs (Other People’s Kids) in their homes were godsends when my four were young. Briefly, one of mine WAS the Biter, and his daycare mom was wonderful and patient in helping us through that phase. Since my youngest just turned 16, I haven’t thought about most of those women in many years. Maybe I’ll see whether I can track any of them down for a nostalgic thank you.

    I’m really looking forward to reading Nutcase. It sounds great.

  6. Jill Sorenson
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 17:17:35

    Love your story! As the mother of two little ones (who both refuse to nap!), I can totally relate. Job in travel, LOL. I think I would die of exhaustion, taking care of six. Kudos on the sale.

  7. Charlotte Hughes
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 12:12:49

    Thanks Jill, Jessa, Janine, Sonoma, Reby, and Maya.
    They are grown now but still a handful. Nutcase is the newest release in the Kate Holly Series and stands alone. Yes I wrote for Loveswept and also did a book for Desire, before making the NY Times lists with my recent books.

  8. Friday Finds (March 6) « Thoughts of a Lusty Reader from DC
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 16:31:00

    […] by Charlotte Hughes, she keeps popping up on various romance book blogs and she wrote a post for Dear Author that had me cracking up, I figured if she could write that well about her own life, how awesome […]

  9. pam
    Aug 25, 2012 @ 12:52:19

    do you know what has become of Charlotte Hughes? Unhinged never was published in Jan. 2011 and I have no response to emailing her from her website.
    Also wondering what happened to author Beverly Connor—–

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