Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

My First Sale by Juliana Stone

Juliana StoneWelcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Today’s story comes from debut author, Julianna Stone, whose first book “His Darkest Hunger” is in stores tomorrow (or maybe even today).

***

My first sale story is more about how timing and luck play as much of a role in this game of publishing as talent does. At least that is what I believe.

A few years ago I picked up Dark Prince by Christine Feehan and everything changed. I discovered a paranormal world I adored and was at the right place in my life to give it a go myself. Writing that is! Something I'd always wanted to do, but never had the time before.

I immediately found an online community via the eharlequin site, met an amazing group of women who encouraged and helped me in my dream. I entered a contest with only a blurb (you were supposed to have a finished ms but my crit partner told me that some rules are meant to be broken) and got a request from an editor.

The Darkest Hunger by Juliana StoneOkay had a moment where I totally freaked out and then sat down and wrote the damn thing in  6 weeks. Sent it off and decided to query agents while it was on its way to NY. I'd entered the first line of the ms in a contest on an agent blog and it garnered some interest. I thought what the hell? Can't hurt. I was blown away with two offers of representation right away.

My agent is awesome. She edited the ms. We did revisions and then four months after the contest that started this all we pitched to NY.

And then we waited. It was summer, spent time with the kids, went to my first Nationals and met my agent and some authorly types. Felt kinda inadequate because I'm not in anyway a "schooled" writer. In fact I felt really, really intimidated. I went to workshops where phrases were bandied about, things like "black moment" and "deep POV" and a bunch of other stuff that honestly, I had no idea what the heck they were talking about. I nodded and pretended that I knew but I came home feeling like I'd stepped in way over my head. How could I be a writer when really I knew nothing about it?

Luckily for me a month later my agent called with some news. An editor at one house loved the ms, but hated the ending. She might be open to a re-write. Cool. I'd do that. BUT she called once more with the news that an editor really liked it. Like a lot. It was Thursday, September 11th, 2008. She told me the editor would call me the following Monday.

Well, Monday came and went. No call. Tuesday came and went. No call. I was a mess. Thought I'd come so close and then nothing. Wednesday the phone rang and well, it was the editor. We chatted about the book, about my vision for this series. We joked about other stuff. She was very cool and I liked her. But not once did she say "I'm going to buy your book."

The next day I was in the bathtub and the phone rang. I'd brought it in with me, just in case. It was my agent calling to put me out of my misery. Avon wanted two books! I remember sitting in the tub holding the phone to my ear and shaking. I can't even remember what I said to my agent.

In passing I found out that the day before my editor read my ms, they'd decided in an editorial meeting that they needed another shifter type paranormal in their list. Luck? Timing? I can't say for sure, but man, I'm glad it was MY ms she picked up that fateful day.

However it happened, I am grateful, blessed and totally thrilled to be living my dream.

You can read the first 20% of Juliana’s book here (up to page 67).

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

17 Comments

  1. Tweets that mention My First Sale by Juliana Stone | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary -- Topsy.com
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 04:35:37

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Juliana Stone and Kendra James, dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: My First Sale by Juliana Stone http://bit.ly/avgUvX [...]

  2. Suzanne Rock
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 06:53:58

    Congratulations Juliana! I feel privileged to have seen your journey from the very beginning. You’re great, your book is fabulous, and I see a wonderful future for you in this business. You’ve worked much harder than you let on in this interview and deserve every ounce of success that comes your way!

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  3. Mary G
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 07:01:34

    Hi Julianna
    Love the story – got goose bumps. I think it’s awesome that you’re a natural talent. Far too modest too. Even if they were looking for another shifter type paranormal, there’s no way they would buy your book if it wasn’t good enough. As a contemp reader, there are tons of those out there. I’m buying your book. Best wishes. You rock!!

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  4. Barbara
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 07:06:13

    Luck and timing may have played a part, but you’ve got real story telling chops. Something those agents and editors saw right away! It’s one thing to be able to analyze and label “black moments” and “deep POV”, but instictively utilizing all the right elements to create an unforgettable read is nothing to sneeze at, lady. Congratulations:D

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  5. Theresa
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 07:45:12

    Great cover, and I very much got sucked into the excerpt. But booksonboard says it’s not available until tomorrow. Left impatiently hanging….sigh.

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  6. Dee Tenorio
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 08:57:22

    Hey Julianna,

    Having seen you from the beginning, I can totally tell everyone that we knew right away that you were going somewhere and fast. Talent is what editors are looking for and that’s what they found in you. Luck can only take you so far and by God, woman, this is just the beginning.

    Congrats on your first sale day!
    Dee

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  7. Grace Conley
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 09:51:12

    I’m a member of Juliana’s critique group, and have to say that she is an extremely humble and lovely person!

    I know she blasted out that first draft — but she’s also an instinctually gifted writer and hard worker.

    Yes, she was lucky to garner early interest. She’s also gone through a tremendous learning curve this year, from revisions to galleys to learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Those who are published understand the type of commitment involved — and she makes it look easy. ;-)

    Here’s to you, Juliana! I’ll be out at Border’s picking up my “official” copy tomorrow. :-)

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  8. JessicaP
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 12:12:18

    Heartiest congratulations to you. I’ve bought it, look forward to reading it, and wish you all good luck in the future.

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  9. Rae Lori
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 13:21:45

    How awesome it is to see Juliana’s story here! We frequented the same writer groups and it’s awesome to see her journey to publication. I’m so excited for the debut of her series. Looking forward to reading it!

    Congrats and much success to you, Juliana!

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  10. Janine
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 15:18:06

    In passing I found out that the day before my editor read my ms, they'd decided in an editorial meeting that they needed another shifter type paranormal in their list. Luck? Timing? I can't say for sure, but man, I'm glad it was MY ms she picked up that fateful day.

    However it happened, I am grateful, blessed and totally thrilled to be living my dream.

    What a great story. Your book sounds interesting, too. Thanks for this post!

    ReplyReply

  11. Tabby
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 17:38:51

    I love the 20% Browse Inside feature that Harper Collins has. I never would have bought your book based on the blurb (sorry) but now that I’ve started to read it I’m only sorry I can’t buy your book tonight. Congrats on your first sale and you can be sure I’ll be downloading your book tomorrow–I can’t wait to finish!

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  12. Juliana Stone
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 17:45:08

    Thanks everyone who visited! My fellow sirens, Dee( julesq waves madly) haha, who would have known back then eh?

    And Tabby, LOL, you put a smile on my face!

    The past year and a half I’ve met an incredible amount of people. Most of whom have enriched my life in a postive way. The many authors who support each other and mentor newbies like me are invaluable….the cool reviewers, bloggers and readers make my day!

    Thanks to everyone who has helped me get here, the view is wonderful!

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  13. chelleyreads
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 19:08:40

    yay juliana!! congrats!! what a great story and a lovely post. many, many more successes in the coming future to be sure :)

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  14. Beth Kery
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 12:29:37

    Does this mean you didn’t change the ending then? At any rate, it’s a great story. I can’t wait to read this book. Happy Release Day!

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  15. Juliana Stone
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 13:13:06

    Hey Miss Kery! I didn’t change the ending, however I was able to flesh it out and add about 10k and that made a world of difference!

    Thanks to everyone for your sweet comments, this has been a pretty special few days for me!

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  16. Maddie
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 15:26:22

    I love the cover, that alone will have readers stopping and picking it up.

    I went out and brought your book today after reading the chapters on your site, all I can say is keep on writing.

    I wish you the best of luck and congrats

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  17. Elle
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 11:10:48

    Hi Juliana. I love to see an amazing writer and all-around amazing woman find success. I wish you the best. Your book is wonderful…And this milestone is just the first of many for you. Congratulations!

    ReplyReply

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