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My First Sale by Kylie Brant

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. Kylie Brant has a trilogy of Romantic Suspense books out from Berkley. The first release, Waking Nightmare, was out in September. Waking Evil, the next in the series, will be on the shelves next Tuesday.


cover_092009Usually it takes very strong margaritas to get me to tell my first sale story. After all these years it still makes me wince at my ignorance. But I started writing before the Internet made it so easy to network with other writers. I didn’t belong to any writing groups or know anyone else who was writing. I just decided one summer I was going to write a book.

After a few months, I deemed it "ready’ and opened up the cover of my favorite books (Silhouette Intimate Moments) to see where to send it. I got the phone number for the company in New York and called to tell the receptionist I had a book I wanted to send in and asked how to go about it J

She huffily informed me that they didn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. I had no idea what that meant, but could tell from her tone that it was a bad thing. She finally gave a long-suffering sigh and told me about tip sheets and query letters. I queried and got an invite to submit and sent it in.

I figured I’d hear in about six weeks. Four months later I got a two-page rejection letter from a senior editor detailing the work’s strengths and weaknesses and inviting me to revise and resubmit. I did, but I’d wised up a little. This time when I sent that first manuscript in, I immediately started another. That was lucky because this time it took six months to get yet another two page rejection letter. Manuscript two had been submitted, so I revised the first yet again and sent it in, too.

When Silhouette called I was actually home from bed with laryngitis. Leslie Wainger’s (then senior editor of Intimate Moments) assistant called. She said she was just tracking down my contact information because-‘AHEM-‘I had neglected to include it with my manuscript. She went on to say that she was quite excited because she’d found me in the slush pile. I had no idea what that was, but thought she said flush pile, and that didn’t sound good! She told me Leslie was reading the manuscript as we spoke and that she’d be calling me later.

After we hung up, I started to wonder if I’d dreamed it. Maybe it had just been a Vicks Vapor Rub induced hallucination! But Leslie did call a couple of hours later and make an offer on manuscript two. She asked if I had any other works and I told her I had another in their offices. A couple months later she bought manuscript one, as well. So while I can claim to have sold the first book I wrote, it did go through some extensive surgeries first J

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


  1. RKCharron
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 04:09:07

    What an excellent First Sale story!
    Thank you for sharing Kylie.
    It reinforced my determination to persevere.
    Thanks again,

  2. Statch
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 05:03:09

    Very timely — I just discovered your books and am working my way through the ones available as ebooks. I’ve read Terms of Surrender, Terms of Engagement, and Waking Nightmare — wonderful! I have Waking Evil on preorder now, and Terms of Attraction in my TBR pile. I hope they’re planning on digitizing your backlist! I love how you write strong heroines who aren’t annoying. That’s quite a skill.

  3. Carolyn Jewel
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 08:51:34

    I love your first sale story. Thanks for sharing it. Your books sound great, too, just the kind of story I love reading!

  4. Janine
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 09:40:27

    Great story! Thanks for being so candid about what you didn’t know. I really enjoyed reading this!

  5. Angela James
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 17:50:55

    I’m not usually one to do two things: comment on the first sale posts or read romantic suspense, but I read Waking Nightmare and enjoyed it so much that I pre-ordered Waking Evil in digital. I look forward to both it and Waking the Dead. And I’m glad they decided to do back-to-back-to-back releases with these three books of yours, so there’s no long wait.

  6. Lynn Raye Harris
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 18:33:26

    What a great story! Having just spent most of Saturday with Leslie, I can absolutely picture her calling you up and imagine how the conversation must have gone. She’s delightful — and incredibly knowledgeable!

  7. Kylie Brant
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 20:47:01

    RK, you’re right-this business is all about perseverance! And it doesn’t hurt to educate yourself so you don’t start out as ignorant as I did, either :)

  8. Kylie Brant
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 20:48:40

    Thank you, Statch. That’s quite a compliment! I couldn’t bear to write a heroine who made me want to bitch slap her for stupidity, LOL!

  9. Kylie Brant
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 20:49:30

    Thanks, Carolyn, I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

  10. Kylie Brant
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 20:53:39

    Oh, Janine, you have no idea what I didn’t know when I began writing. Try nothing! I’d pick up a book and count words to a page, pages to a chapter to try to get an idea of how long they should be. I had no idea about fonts or font size. I actually sent my first two manuscripts in printed on that computer paper that comes on a roll with perforated sheets and edges on each side, written on the first Apple computer they made, I think. The first thing Leslie Wainger told me after buying my books was to get a decent printer, LOL. The second thing she told me was to join RWA!

  11. Kylie Brant
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 20:56:07

    Thanks, Angela, I’m glad you enjoyed Waking Nightmare. The back to back releases made the editing on the books come all at once, but it does make it nice for readers not having to wait long in between books.

  12. Kylie Brant
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 20:58:09

    Lynn, there’s only one Leslie Wainger and I’m convinced that what she doesn’t know about romance isn’t worth knowing! The saying she made famous was, ‘it’s all in the execution.’ Meaning that nothing was taboo in the stories, it was all in the way it was handled.

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