May 25 2009
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. Jackie Barbosa is one of those new crop of historical authors that are making the future of historical bright and shiny. Her first print collection, Beyond the Red Door, is officially out tomorrow but may be in stores for purchase right now.
Well, it’s really a tale of two sales, not one.
The first manuscript I ever sold was a short story called Carnally Ever After. I originally wrote it for an Ellora’s Cave call for submissions in early 2007. (Ann Aguirre must take partial credit for my ever having written it, since it was through her blog I found out about the call.) Ellora’s Cave didn’t contract the manuscript, and because it was less than 15,000 words long, there were only a limited number of other publishers I could submit it to. When I did receive a contract offer, it was from Cobblestone Press, and that offer came within eight hours of submission. (The acquiring editor said the title caught her eye and pushed it to the top of the slush pile, so don’t let anyone tell you titles don’t matter!)
I have to admit, however, that as thrilled as I was to have found a home for my manuscript, I didn’t really think of that contract as my first sale. The story was so short, it just didn’t ‘count’ in my mind. But it did set me on the road to the contract offer that I do think of as my first sale, because when I wrote Carnally, the idea for a sequel started to form in my mind. That sequel, a novella titled Wickedly Ever After, was the manuscript I submitted to my editor at Kensington Books.
I didn’t have a lot of hope when I submitted that manuscript that I’d make a sale, though. Novellas are a hard sell in New York from what I hear. But I had outlines for two more sequels, and I knew the Aphrodisia line wasn’t averse to putting out single-author anthologies. So after I sent the full, I sat back on my heels, bit my nails, and waited not-so-patiently for the rejection letter.
The actual ‘call’ came at 4:00 in the afternoon, quite a surprise since I live on the west coast and it’s well after business hours in New York by then. I knew the second the editor identified himself by name that I’d made a sale, and I honestly don’t remember much after that. The details of the offer pretty much flew over my head, because all I could think at that moment was that a) I’d sold and b) I needed an agent–like yesterday! Fortunately, I wound up with the lovely Kevan Lyon to represent me.
The resulting book, Behind the Red Door, officially comes out tomorrow (though I hear rumors the online retails began shipping it last week).