Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

My First Sale by Sabrina Darby

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. Sabrina Darby introduces her own brand of erotic romance with her single author collection, On These Silken Sheets (link to excerpt), available in stores now.


0061780286.01.LZZZZZZZI remember getting The Call really well because I was sitting with my dad in front of my computer, watching as John McCain introduced Sarah Palin as his running mate. I hadn’t thought too much about where or when it would happen–if it would happen–but I never would have imagined my father being the first person to know simply from the way I said hello on the phone. It was August of 2008 and it had been three months since I’d emailed the complete version of my book to Avon Red.

And I say complete, because they had already seen two of the novellas of the single author anthology I had submitted.

In January of "08, I had the idea for a short erotic story, which started with this one vivid interlude. From those images, a question formed: could a solid, soulmate-style relationship between two people develop after a one-night stand? The project ended up being a novella called Against the Wall, which was fun and fast paced and totally different from anything I had written previously.

I knew Avon took unagented submissions (and at the time, I was unagented) and that on the submission page it said that their Red imprint accepted novellas. So I wrote a query letter. Two weeks later, I received an email saying I should send it in. I sent the story by US post with tracking. Didn’t actually check if it arrived until two weeks later. Found out that it never arrived. Decided to Fed Ex another copy. I think it was about a couple weeks after that that I received an email again saying the editor loved it but couldn’t do anything with just one novella. So I wrote three more, creating a series in one book, and kept sending them in as I finished them…

At this point I was living in a relative writer’s isolation. I hadn’t yet joined RWA, I hadn’t yet stumbled upon that wonderful community, Romance Divas. All I had was myself, my amazing sister as beta reader, and my husband. I knew that the editor liked my voice, and I liked my stories, only the last two stories were a bit different. One was much darker and dealt with some issues I wasn’t certain would fly over well. And the last story contained more of a micro-conflict that the usual romance plot. Over summer I think I drove my sister crazy discussing feminist theory and all the ways people could hate my work.

On These Silken Sheets, the single-author anthology that includes all four erotic historical novellas, was released on September 8, 2009 by Avon Red. Labeled as erotica but with distinct HEAs, On These Silken Sheets brings up that persistent question of what exactly is erotic romance. But no matter how the stories are labeled, writing romance has been a fascinating, fun ride so far, and I absolutely love the romance community!

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
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 06:01:24

    Hi Jane & Sabrina!
    I loved reading about Sabrina Darby’s journey into publication.
    It is reaffirming my own determination.
    Thank you for sharing Sabrina!
    Love & Best Wishes,

  2. vanessa jaye
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 06:37:51

    Hi Sabrina,

    The Divas are great, aren’t they? I tend to lurk over there, but they’re a very supportive group. Congrats on the sale! I love sexy historicals, so I will be checking out your release.

  3. Bev
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 06:56:40

    Hi Sabrina (waves madly)

    Must admit that while your books have been sitting waiting for their rightful owners to be chosen, I did sneak peeks and I’m waiting impatiently for mine to come. :)
    Love ’em. Can’t wait for your next one.


  4. Karen Erickson
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 09:50:54

    I really enjoyed your book Sabrina! And I love your first sale story. Divas rock! :)

  5. Kate Pearce
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 12:39:56

    Congrats Sabrina! And big hugs for that dog of yours :)

  6. Jeannie Lin
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 12:56:48

    Congrats on the first sale! I loved the book and found the format of the stories to be fresh and wonderfully engaging.

  7. Moriah Jovan
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 14:00:15

    I loved this book. Now, it’s billed as erotica, but it wasn’t, in my opinion. It was, however, erotic romance.

  8. Janine
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 20:36:20

    I really enjoyed reading this first sale story.

    One was much darker and dealt with some issues I wasn't certain would fly over well.

    That actually makes me more interested in reading it.

  9. Inez Kelley
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 20:44:32


    Agreed! Congrats on your first sale. And you did it unagented. What an inspiring story.

  10. Kate Willoughby
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 20:44:46

    I really liked your book, Sabrina. That first story was HOT. Also, I like fluffy Regency, but I also appreciate a story that recognizes some of the grittier facets of the time, like dealing with byblows. Your book did that well.

  11. Annie Nicholas
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 20:46:07

    Love your work. Congrats on the sale.

  12. Heather Howard
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 22:04:17

    What an interesting moment to find out about your first sale! I’m quite interested in reading a romance that deals with darker issues, so I’m exceptionally glad that novella made it into the collection. A little erotica for the thinking woman.

  13. Karalynn Lee
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 22:31:21

    Great story — I loved the part where you sent her the novellas one by one as you wrote them. You give hope to those of us who gravitate toward the novella length!

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