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My First Sale by Cindy Gerard

Welcome to the My First Sale series. Each Friday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Cindy Gerard writes romantic suspense.   She has a trilogy, Black Ops, Inc., out this fall.


Hey all. My first sale story probably mirrors a lot of authors. The truth is, it falls into the "if I knew then what I know now’ category, I probably wouldn’t be published. I was so naïve. Such a baby – rhetorically speaking – and so ignorant of the business. Long story short, I was in love with LaVryle Spencer’s work – who among us doesn’t love and miss LaVyrle?? Anyway, I’d exhausted her complete library – or so I thought until I discovered some old titles but couldn’t get them. So I wrote to her. That was before the days of e-mail (yes, Virginia, there is a pre-web era many of us survived, but just barely). But I digress. She wrote back. Told me she wrote to me personally because my letter was so articulate. In my mind that equated to: "LaVryle Spencer thinks I’m articulate. I bet I could write a book."

book review You laugh but that’s just how it all started. I sat down with a portable manual typewriter with a sticky E and set out to write the great American novel. From that moment on I was a gonner. Bitten bad by the writing bug. That manuscript was rejected by the best editors in the business book review (many of whom I enjoy seeing at RWA nationals these days) but the rejection letters were very encouraging so I kept at it. I wrote two more books. Farmed them all over NYC and finally got the call one pretty fall afternoon from Elizabeth Barrett (yes that’s her name) from Bantam Doubleday Dell’s now defunct Loveswept line. My hubby was helping a farmer friend of his so I was home alone. I was screaming and buzzed with excitement so I hopped in the car, drove out to the farm, bounced across a fall plowed field or two until I found Tom behind the wheel of a HUGE combine picking corn. He saw me coming, jumped out of the cab and ran to the car. book review"Who died?" he asked frantically. In his mind, nothing else warranted the beating my poor car was taking.

We still laugh about that day but MAVERICK was my very first title and came out in July of 1991. Now, wow, 17 years and 41 books later, I still get a little tickle of excitement when I think about that first sale.

And speaking of sales :o) SHOW NO MERCY, my September 2008 release hit #15 on the New York Times best-seller list. I’m still in shock and hoping that readers will like TAKE NO PRISONERS, which will be released Tuesday, October 21st, as much as they seem to be liking MERCY. I’d love for you all to check out my website where you can win things, read excerpts and see photos of me in "terminator mode’ as I research weaponry on a rifle range. Yep. I’m bad. :o)



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. Jeanette
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 09:13:29

    Wonderful first sale story,very sweet! I loved “Show No Mercy” and can’t wait for Tuesday!
    P.S. you’re right who doesn’t love and Miss Lyvryle??

  2. cindy gerard
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 09:16:34

    Hey Jeanette
    Thanks – on all counts. So glad you liked MERCY. It had been almost 15 months between books for me so I’m really excited about the Oct, Nov and Jan pub dates of this new series.
    And yes to LaVryle. she’s still my hero :o)

  3. Alison Kent
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 10:33:01

    LaVyrle Spencer was the keynote speaker at the first writer’s conference I ever attended, a local one in Houston (where afterwards I sat for an hour talking with Arnette Lamb; miss her). She taught me about verisimilitude, and when I went up to talk to her following her workshop, she sung Janis Ian’s “Jesse” to me (it’s mentioned in the dedication of HUMMINGBIRD). I selfishly wish she hadn’t retired, but her backlist is amazing.

  4. cindy gerard
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 11:00:08

    Hey, Alison. Nice to ‘see’ you. I think I’ve read HUMMINGBIRD 5 or 6 times. I get all gooey each time. And wow – I am so envious that you’ve met her and yes – I remember her workshop and versimilitude. Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to hear it on tape :o(

  5. Debra Webb
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 11:09:30

    Hey Cindy! Great story! I love the covers for your new trilogy! And, as always, the writing is exquisite! Can’t wait for the next installment.

  6. Patty L.
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 11:13:09

    Great first sale story. I think my hubby would have the same reaction. LOL I am ashamed to admit but I have never read a LaVyrle Spencer book. I know I live under a rock.

  7. Janine
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 11:23:35

    Neat story. Count me as another one who has greatly enjoyed LaVyrle Spencer’s books.

  8. cindy gerard
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 11:49:06

    Hey Deb. thanks, buddy!

    Patty – OMG! Never read Spencer? You poor thing. You MUST go out and find one of her books – any one of her books. She’s amazing. My fav, however, remains HUMMINGBIRD.

    Hi Janine – and yes, the lady rocks!!

  9. Jessa Slade
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 11:50:41

    “LaVryle Spencer thinks I'm articulate. I bet I could write a book.”

    What a great first critique! Thanks for the story.

  10. cindy gerard
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 11:56:38

    Jessa – yeah, it was the first of many critiques – some not so great :o) But, you gotta be tough in this business and thick skin is a real plus :o)

  11. Crystal-Rain Love
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 13:15:47

    What an adorable first sale story!

  12. Jill Sorenson
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 14:33:50

    Hi Cindy! So nice to see you here. Great first sale story.

    I used to read Loveswepts. : )

  13. cindy gerard
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 14:38:38

    Hey Crystal – Adorable? Now I can smile about it but boy was I naive. :o)

    Hey Jill – When’s that book due to hit the shelves?

  14. Jill Sorenson
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 15:55:45


    *January 27th*

  15. Nicole
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 22:12:53

    Great story! I’ve actually met you once at a booksigning in Cedar Rapids. We’ve even got you a nifty “Local Author” shelf thingy for your romances at the Half Price Books.

    Anyways, Show No Mercy is on my tbr pile. Had to buy it the day it came out.

  16. cindy gerard
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 23:02:35

    HI Nicole. I remember! Great to ‘see’ you again.

  17. Keishon
    Oct 18, 2008 @ 08:13:35

    Hi Ms Gerard, I also bought your new release in ebook, Show No Mercy. Do you plan to have more of your older books in ebook? I certainly would buy them as many of my reader friends have enjoyed your books. Thanks.

  18. cindy gerard
    Oct 18, 2008 @ 09:52:40

    Hi Keishon. thanks for buying MERCY in ebook format! Too cool. As to my other books, I think there are a couple of my books available on Amazon if you have a Kindle. Other than that, my prior publishers do not make books available in ebook format. The good news – the remainder of my Black Ops inc series will be available at the Simon and Schuster website in ebook format.
    Thanks again.

  19. Lori
    Oct 18, 2008 @ 19:59:06

    Great story :) I’ve loved all your books. Nolan, yum… one of my favorite heroes. I just finished Show No Mercy and am about to start Take No Prisoners. Men in Uniform and spy types are some of my ‘can’t resist’ hero types. Keep on writing them, and I’ll keep reading them, LOL!

  20. cindy gerard
    Oct 18, 2008 @ 22:04:13

    Hey Lori. Wow. You’ve got a copy of Take No Prisoners already? I didn’t think it was even supposed to be out until next Tuesday. Cool. so thanks for the nice words on Mercy and my other guys. Hope you enjoy Prisoners as much. Hugs

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