My First Sale by Lori Devoti
When Lori Devoti earned her Bachelor in Journalism, it wasn’t to write, but to work in advertising. Twenty years later, Devoti finds herself writing long copy in the form of novels, contemporary, dark paranormal romances and urban fantasy novels “with a little death and a lot of adventure.” She has three books under her belt, a fourth, Guardian’s Keep, that is on shelves near you.
My first sale story is the tale of a lightning bolt hitting. I wasn’t supposed to sell that book, and certainly not when I did.
It was my second completed manuscript and first romance. Writing it was a complete learning process-meaning it was way harder to write than it should have been (if I’d had a clue).
I’d joined RWA in late summer, around the time I started the book, and forged ahead. Somewhere along the way I learned about things like antagonists (yeah, you need them) and GMC and all that other stuff that is like breathing to me now. I also learned about pitching to editors at conferences, and more importantly I learned from the RWAonline board that the editor who was taking pitches at my local conference was also buying new authors for a “debut” program.
The book wasn’t done, and it had been a mess to write (learning my way along as I did), but I decided I was going to finish it in time for the conference and pitch it. I’m insanely goal oriented and this got me moving.
So, I made my appointment, finished the book and wrote a pitch. I’ll never forget all these other writers walking away from those pitch sessions saying how well they had gone. Mine was horrible. I thought I was going to urp on Hilary Sares’ shoes, but she was nice and helped me fumble through. And at the end I thought there was no way she was going to buy my book, even though she had requested the full. She had even said things like “category is a good place to start.” Uh, Zebra doesn’t do category… But I sent of the full that Monday, and pretty much forgot about it.
Two weeks later, I was sitting at home waiting for two of my RWA friends to arrive to discuss chapter business. As I’m waiting, I bebop over to check email and there out of the blue is an email from Hilary saying, “Read Daisy Creek (retitled LOVE IS ALL AROUND), very cute, want to buy it.” I was in shock. I checked the sender’s address multiple times trying to figure out who faked the message and how-but no it clearly said Kensington Books in the return address. Then I realized if it was really an offer to buy my book she would have called too. So, I checked my voice mail and sure enough she had left a similar message on my voice mail.
I was home with just my five-year-old and two-year-old at the time (not a real understanding audience) and my husband (darn man) didn’t answer his phone at work, so I was left wandering around my house like an idiot-alone and in shock. When my first friend arrived I was standing on my front porch, phone still in my hand yelling “I sold my book.”
It was completely unreal.