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. DiAnn Mills is an award winning Christian romantic suspense author with a brand new romantic suspense novel arriving in bookstores this October, Pursuit of Justice
(Tyndale House Trade Paperback), book 3 in her Call of Duty series.
"Stop telling me you are going to someday write a book. Do it now."
I startled at my husband's words. "What did you say?"
"I said write the book. I dare you. In fact, why don't you quit your job and see if you can get anything published? I give you a year."
I stood as tall as my five feet two inches would allow, anchored my hand on my hip, and formed my words. "You're on."
I gave two weeks' notice and tackled my new career as though it were a real job. I googled writer groups and conferences, and purchased how-to books. Guess I was a bit of a bull dog. My day began at eight a.m., and I didn't stop until my word count goal was reached, leaving time to study the craft. I wrote out checks for writer conferences and studied my new writer books, one of which was a Writers Market Guide.
With my novel in my head and its contents slowly taking form on the computer screen, I also wrote short stories, articles, and devotions. It didn't matter to me if I was paid or not; building my resume and bio meant more than the dollars.
Then it happened. Many of the shorter pieces became published. Yeah! Already I knew I wouldn't ever have to return to my job. Although I was spending more hours in my new career than in my previous job, I was having fun! I found critique partners and continued to work on my novel. After putting together a proposal, I sent it off to various publishing houses who had indicated interest in Christian historical romance.
Acceptance came much sooner than I expected.
I'll never forget the day the email came. A publishing house wanted my novel. They liked my characters, my setting, my plot! Woo! Hoo! They asked for a few changes, which I quickly completed, and they sent me a contract.
The following months were spent in excited anticipation of publication-’copy edits, viewing the book cover, and being able to say, "I'm a published writer." The publishing house contracted with me for several books over the next few years. Every book gave me a thrill, and it still does today. But not the same over-the-top, cartwheels, and bubbling laughter as the first novel.
I discovered I enjoyed suspense, so all of my novels took on that flavor.
But I'd also discovered something else. With every new technique and concept learned along the way, I had a deep desire to teach other serious writers. I formed a writer's critique group in my home. I began to teach at writer's conferences and mentor other writers. I became active in the Christian Writers Guild, and today I am their Craftsman Mentor.
Fifty novels later, I'm still learning and teaching the craft of writing. Encouraging other writers to achieve their writing goals is as much a passion for me as developing my own novels. It all began with a dare and finding the self-confidence needed to take those first steps in learning how to write. And my husband? He's my best cheerleader and my worst critic. He challenges me to dive deeper into characterization and plot while assisting my in research.
If I can do it, so can you.
I dare you.