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My First Sale by Mandy Hubbard

MHubbard_authorphotoWelcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between.   Mandy Hubbard‘s novel Prada & Prejudice is in stores now.

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In late 2005, I heard about a write-for-hire piece at a major publisher, so I sent them a proposal. They sent me a revision letter. I remember laughing out loud and actually dancing in my kitchen with my dog, like a revision request was the best thing since sliced bread, and it meant I was going to make it.

A month later, I was rejected.

Fast forward to 2007, when my agent was submitting a little book called PRADA & PREJUDICE. Much like my first ill-fated novel, rejections poured in.

After a half-dozen or so, I received a revision request from Lexa Hillyer at Razorbill. So, although I did not dance with my dog this time, I revised it.   She rejected it. Saddened, we moved on.

More rejections.

prada26prejudice1-200x300By the time we hit rejection 20, I was more than a bit disenchanted. It had been over a year of submissions and multiple revisions. Draft 7 went out to a single editor, who requested-‘you guessed it-‘revisions. HUGE ones.

I did not dance with my dog this time, either. And while I questioned my sanity,–knowing this manuscript may get rejected and never go anywhere again after twenty-two tries–I opened up a word doc and started over from scratch, and wrote draft 8 without lifting a single word from draft 7. With the help of critique partners and my agent, I turned it into a much more polished Draft 9.

You probably know what comes next: rejection. Luckily, despite 22 rejections at this point, my agent wasn’t willing to give up. We put our heads together and came up with some new ideas, and she sent it to seven houses. If this didn’t work out, I’d have nearly 30 rejections, and it would be time to retire it.

Two weeks later, everything changed. Word came in the form of an email, not a call. When I opened that email titled GOOD NEWS, I had low expectations. I figured, hey, maybe someone is getting second reads! We’d been down that road many times, with no contract in sight. But the words in that email said things like "heated interest" and "expecting multiple offers."

26 rejections, 18 months, 9 drafts, and multiple offers. Someone was talking to me-‘a coworker-‘but I couldn’t even talk, let alone breathe.

The actual call came a week later, saying those two offers came in. And guess who one of them came from? Lexa Hillyer, at Razorbill. After reading three versions, she offered. The book hits shelves June 11, 2009, followed by a second YA due out Summer 2010, and a Harlequin/Nascar novella in June 2010.

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

8 Comments

  1. Juliana Stone
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 05:26:58

    Mandy, what an inspiring post. Wow. I am in awe of your grit and determination! Well done and I’m so thrilled for you! thanks for sharing your story.

  2. ms bookjunkie
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 06:14:39

    Wow. Now that’s what I call perseverance. And work ethic. Congratulations!

  3. Leeann Burke
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 07:08:25

    This is the perfect way to start the week. It’s great to hear such inspiring story of determination and believing in yourself and your writing. I’m glad to hear your creative dreams are coming true.

  4. Erum
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 11:34:25

    Wow, thanks for sharing. This gives other aspiring writers hope. I’ll definitely be checking out your book.

  5. Jessa Slade
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 12:12:30

    Nose, meet grindstone. It’s great, not just that your agent believed in you, but you did too. Thanks for the inspiring story.

  6. Janine
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 13:56:56

    I also found this story inspiring. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. Mandy Hubbard
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 14:11:10

    Aww, thanks you guys!! It’s hard to believe my book actually hit stores last week…it seems like it took forever to get here.

    Thanks for letting me share my story!

    ~M

  8. The Rule of Ten
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 06:59:23

    […] course, as I noted, this doesn’t work for everyone. In this interview, author and agent Mandy Hubbard talks about how discouraged she got when she hit rejection 20. […]

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