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My First Sale by Margo Maguire

atlanta-author-photoWelcome to the My First Sale series. Each Friday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Margo Maguire writes historical romances for Avon. Her fifth Avon book, Wild, is in stores now.

Wild, is in stores now.


My road to publishing was not exactly the norm. In fact, I didn’t set out to be an author at all, and even after I started writing seriously, none of my walls ended up being papered with rejection letters. I sold the first book I ever wrote.

Now, before you get upset with me, allow me to explain.

My mother was a teacher, English being her primary subject, although she had a Master’s degree in Special Education. Because of her, my siblings and I were well-read, and used very good grammar all our lives. But I didn’t follow in Mom’s footsteps. I became an RN instead, and worked for many years in the Intensive Care Unit of a major receiving hospital. And for a change of pace, I went back to school and got another degree in a subject that had always interested me – history, although I didn’t really think I’d make a career out of what I’d learned. Little did I know …

When I worked the afternoon shift in ICU, I found it impossible to relax and go to sleep after eight or twelve hours in the unit, so I started writing in order to de-stress. After about a year, I had a complete historical romance novel that I thought was pretty decent. My kids were older and I was ready to go back to work full time, so I decided to see if I could get my work published – to try for a career change.

006166787001lzzzzzzzOn February 10, 1998, I mailed the manuscript (entitled The Rescue) to Harlequin Historicals in New York. On February 20th, I received a call from Harlequin, saying that they loved The Rescue and wanted to buy it. They also wanted to change its name – so that book was released in March of 1999 as The Bride of Windermere. I wrote another nine books for Harlequin and then switched to Avon. (And in the meantime, there have been plenty of proposals rejected by my various editors over the years).

I am pleased to say that my fifth book for Avon – Wild – was released just this month! And though I actually miss the pace and the adrenalin rush of the intensive care unit, I think I’ve found my niche.

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. Janet Bennett
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 07:51:33

    Dear Mrs. Maguire,

    I thank you for your inspiration to continue as a writer despite our chosen other career path as RNs. I, too, have found my niche as a writer, but it has always been a dream of mine and I’d been writing most of my life. I applaud your courage to make the career change.

    I have just published my first book, “Hidden Treasure”, through a print-on-demand company and wonder if I should have looked more earestly at publishing houses such as Harlequin. Hearing all the horror stories of rejection after rejection, I decided to publish myself and see where that leads me. My only issue now is that I have many other books to publish and wonder if self-publishing will do me justice.

    If you have any advice or suggestions to follow, I would like to hear from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.


    Janet Bennett, RN, Author
    “Hidden Treasure”

  2. Leah
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 08:00:42

    Great story! I also have a degree in history, which led me to a marvelous career in…various customer service jobs! And I always like to read about people who began writing later in life, after doing other things. It inspires me.

    And Ms. Bennett–you should give it a shot. All it will cost is some postage. And if you’re worried that you don’t have what it takes to deal with the rejections, you can always start small by entering some contests, or submitting your first page to DA or the column in Romantic Times. Good luck!

  3. Juliana Stone
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 08:21:42

    Congrats Margo! I think I just met you on one of the PAN threads, alhtough I could be wrong! I loved your story!

  4. Kim Lenox
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 08:34:29


    I’ve been reading your books since you were with Harlequin. I’m so thankful you found writing as a means to de-stress. Lucky readers!

    Can’t wait to read WILD.


  5. Jessa Slade
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 12:37:46

    Thanks for the inspiration to make changes mid-stream. With the state of the world & economy today, that lesson is more important than ever. My XY was laid off between Christmas & New Year’s so re-education is a big theme in our household these days.

  6. Margo Maguire
    Jan 17, 2009 @ 09:56:29

    Thanks to all of you for your great comments! And good luck to those of you who are following the path toward publishing. It’s not an easy road … My recommendation is to join a writer’s group (romance or not) to get the support and feedback you need in order to move forward. This seems to work well for a lot of published authors!

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