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.
I remember getting The Call really well because I was sitting with my dad in front of my computer, watching CNN.com 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!