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My First Sale by Joelle Charbonneau

JoelleCharbonneau Publicity PhotoWelcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Joelle Charbonneau’s debut roller skating mystery book, Skating Around the Law: A Mystery, is on the shelves. (I resisted making some joke about rolling and shelves).


I never intended to write funny books.   As a matter of fact, I never intended to write mysteries.   I was trying to write emotionally driven women's fiction and romance books.   Really, I was.   The number of rejections I received on those books should have told me something.   However, one night I was sitting on a bar stool at a conference when someone asked about my singing and acting career and whether my parents were performers.   My response was "No, but my mother is a former World Champion Artistic Roller Skater."

The silence was deafening.

Finally, the agent sitting at our table turned to me and said, "You should write a roller skating book."

Ha!   I almost fell off my bar stool.   I mean, who writes roller skating romance novels?   Being well mannered, I said that it was an interesting idea.   Inside my head I was laughing hysterically.   Ten days later, I finished the first chapter of my roller skating book.   Guess the joke was on me.   The only problem was it wasn't the romance novel the agent envisioned.   Oh, it had a romance in it, but there was also a dead body head-first in a rink toilet, an ex-circus camel and a mystery to solve.   SKATING AROUND THE LAW was born.

skatingaroundthelawMy top choice agent requested the full manuscript two days after I queried her and sent a great e-mail a week later telling me she was enjoying it and asking about my career plans.   I was psyched.   This sounded good.   19 days after the original query the agent e-mailed me.   Seeing the e-mail in my inbox made me burst out into tears before I ever opened it because everyone always talks about "the call".   Phone calls were good news.   E-mails were bad.

Wrong.   My agent was e-mailing to schedule "the call".     Three weeks after she started submitting the book to publishers, she called without e-mailing first to tell me we had an offer from a publisher.   All because of a silly conversation in a bar.   How cool is that?

Joelle Charbonneau
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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


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    Oct 04, 2010 @ 04:21:49

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  2. LibrarianLizy
    Oct 04, 2010 @ 09:35:53

    This sounds like such a cute book! I’ve put it on my list.

  3. DS
    Oct 04, 2010 @ 10:17:23

    Looks like fun. I’m passing the title on to two people I know– one likes humorous mysteries, the other is skating into his 60’s.

  4. Ann Charles
    Oct 04, 2010 @ 12:22:41

    Joelle, what a great story! I can’t wait to read the book. Roller skating and dead bodies–what a fun combination. My book is on the way.

    Ann Charles

  5. Janine
    Oct 04, 2010 @ 12:50:45

    What a neat story. Thank you for sharing it.

  6. Carolyn Jewel
    Oct 04, 2010 @ 13:47:03

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. Yours is a great example of why it’s such a good idea to attend conferences, published or unpublished.

    Congratulations on the sale. Your book sounds really cute.

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