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. Today we have Kate Pearce, the author of the historical erotic romance series ‘Simply’ from Kensington. The fourth in the series, Simply Wicked, is out in stores now. She also writes for NAL, Ellora’s Cave, and Cleis Press.
I hate to start with back story, but I was of those kids who made stuff up all the time, so much so that I had a "slight problem’ distinguishing imagination from reality, a skill that wasn’t much appreciated throughout my childhood. By the time I moved to California from London in 1998, I’d forgotten about making stuff up, being far too busy bringing up four kids, remembering to drive on the wrong side of the road and hoping everyone had a nice day.
And then, I visited my local bookstore and discovered the ROMANCE section. It was huge! I immediately started reading my way through every single author I could find, and I realized that I had found my people. As I couldn’t work in the U.S, I decided to give myself five years to get a romance novel published.
After the usual traumas of a potential publishing career, horrendous contest entries, rejections, more rejections, editors leaving, agents dying the day I signed with them, and so forth, I finally sat down and wrote three books out of my usual steamy historical so-not-selling style. One of them was in first person. It was also 27K long and was an erotic historical romance, I promptly hid it under my bed
Luckily for me, my mentor coaxed me into sending it to Ellora’s Cave and imagine my surprise when one rainy Sunday afternoon in March, I got an email to say they wanted to publish it. It came out as an e-book in November 2005, four years, and eleven months into my five year deadline, I hadn’t quite intended to be an erotic romance writer, but I seemed to have a knack for it, so I just kept on doing it.
In my publishing experience, things either happen very fast or very slow. In early 2006, I sold my first print book to the now deceased Virgin "Cheek’ line. The editor asked me to rewrite the heroine and make her funkier San-Francisco-chic, so I did. That editor left, and the new one, said he was tired of funky hip San Francisco chicks and wanted something else. By the time he finally agreed to buy the book, I’d accidentally deleted version one and had to rewrite the whole thing from scratch. I wouldn’t recommend it.
In 2007 I signed with a new agent, the lovely Deidre Knight, and she sent out my first NY proposal for what turned out to be the first two books of the "Simply’ series. Within forty-eight hours we had an offer, and I was on my way. As I reminded her recently, since 2007 we’ve sold seven novels and two novellas to Kensington, one to Virgin "Cheek’ and three paranormal historicals to NAL.
As you might have noticed, I certainly wasn’t an overnight success. It took me seven years to get to the "big time’, and I’m still working at staying there. I’m sure that my ability to dream has helped me keep the faith and deal with all the setbacks, because I’ve realized that a publishing career really is a marathon rather than a sprint. I also know you need good friends, picky critique partners, a great agent and perhaps a dash of luck along the way.