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My First Sale by Tracy Ann Warren

Welcome to the My First Sale series. Each Friday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between.   Tracy Ann Warren‘s historicals were recently acquired by  Avon and her latest release, Tempted by His Kiss, is in stores now.

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First sales have a touch of the miraculous about them . . . or at least that’s how it seemed to me when I finally got The Call. Obviously the heavens didn’t open up and angels didn’t literally sing, but for me they kind of did, since I’d been toiling in unpublished angst and obscurity for years with little to show for it other than a few contest wins and the occasional "good" rejection letter.

Prior to the blissful day I made that first sale, I’d been trying my hand at writing contemporary romance under the mistaken impression that it was "easier" to sell. After piling up rejections on three manuscripts, I decided to ignore the common wisdom that warned against unpublished writers trying to break into the single-title historical romance market. I’d always loved reading historicals and had an idea for a Regency-era novel about identical twin sisters, who switch places at the wedding altar. The plot and characters really excited me, so I thought "what-the-heck," figuring that even if this book didn’t sell either, at least I’d have fun writing it.

Once the manuscript was complete, I knew I’d need an agent if I had any hope of making a sale. After studying the market and narrowing my choices, I sent out a few queries. Then I started another manuscript and tried to put the submissions out of my mind. I won’t go into all the details, but several months later, the first of my big breaks happened when I was contacted by a top agent, who said she loved the manuscript and wanted to represent me.

Three months after that–on a warm, wonderful July day in 2004–she called and said that she had an offer for not only that book, but for three! The publisher wanted two more connected novels that would create a trilogy! And so, in the span of a single afternoon, I went from struggling "unpub’ to multi-published author.

Even now, there are days when I can’t completely believe everything that’s happened–especially considering the fact that my "what-the-heck" book, The Husband Trap, went on to make the USA Today bestseller list and also to win the RITA ® award for Best First Book.

In early 2008, just after my next trilogy was released, I had the opportunity to move to Avon Books for a new launch and what I like to call my SECOND first sale–or perhaps I should say my first sale with my second publisher. I’m tremendously pleased and excited to be part of the Avon family and they have welcomed me, and my new Regency-era Byrons of Braebourne series, with open arms. My debut Avon title, Tempted By His Kiss, will be in stores February 24, 2009 and features Lord Cade Byron, the first of eight siblings, who are all known for being "mad, bad, and dangerous to know.’

I’m having a great time writing this new series, being among new friends at Avon Books and having the chance to share my stories with readers–and all thanks to that very first sale!

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

9 Comments

  1. Jill Sorenson
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 09:06:36

    Hi Tracy,

    I loved the Trap series! Looking forward to Tempted by His Kiss.

  2. Tracy Anne Warren
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 15:21:14

    Hi Jill,

    Thanks for checking out my first sale story. Hope you have a fabulous time reading TEMPTED BY HIS KISS!

  3. Karin
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 15:51:46

    What a great first sale story. I’m glad the switch to historical has worked out so well for you. Have you ever considered switching back to contemporary at some point, or even just trying another one while still mainly writing historical?

  4. Tracy Anne Warren
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 16:11:14

    Thanks, Karin! And yes, the switch to historical has been a really wonderful one for me, so much so that right now I just don’t have time to write contemporary, even if I wanted to. I’m currently under contract with Avon to write the first four books in my Byrons of Braebourne series and the novels (and a novella I have coming out in June) are keeping me really busy. Plus, I’m having so much fun writing my new series that I’m extremely happy for the moment staying in my Regency world. However, I believe one should never say never, so who knows. Perhaps some time down the road, I’ll get the contemporary impulse again. Plus, there’s one of those original contemporary manuscripts that I still really love and believe in (my agent does too!!) and we have hopes that someday it will find a home and make it into print.

  5. Miki
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 18:13:01

    Welcome to the My First Sale series. Each Friday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Tracy Ann Warren's historicals were recently acquired by Avon and her latest release, Tempted by His Book, is in stores now.

    You do mean “Tempted by His Kiss”, right? I just bought that one…

  6. Tracy Anne Warren
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 19:51:04

    Hi Miki,

    TEMPTED BY HIS KISS is the correct title :) Thanks for giving my new series a try. Hope you really enjoy Cade and Meg’s story.

  7. Janine
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 21:49:25

    I enjoyed reading this, so thank you.

  8. tracy warren
    May 12, 2009 @ 06:56:59

    HI there, we share the same name (minus the ann bit) but write quite differently, I’ve just been published with nightingale with a childrens books called porkie pies and big fat sausages !!!! its about a kid with dyslexia who over comes the bullies (and pretty much becomes ahero) i wanted to write this book as im dyslexic myself, the thing is with the credit crunch and all, i cant find an agent who doesn’t say they are not taking on new authors at the moment. i’ve written the second bok and third is on its way…. tracy, any advise on top agents and how to snap one up ! thanks,

    tracy warren

  9. Tracy Anne Warren
    May 13, 2009 @ 08:25:38

    Hi Tracy,

    How fun to meet another Tracy Warren! Very cool :) And congratulations on the publication of your children’s book. I hope it does great.

    As for finding an agent, there are no easy paths and it generally takes lots of patience and perseverance. You probably already have, but be sure to do your homework first and research agents who specialize in your genre of writing–children’s books in your case–since there’s no point submitting to an agent who doesn’t represent what you write. Check them out with AAR and sites such as preditors and editors to make sure they are honest and ethical and that they have a track record of making sales. Beyond that, write a great query letter, since that can help spark an agent’s interest and get them to read your work. You might also want to consider going to a few writers conferences, especially if you know that a particular agent you’re interested in meeting will be attending. That way you can meet them to see if the two of you click. You might even be able to pitch your work to them there.

    Otherwise, just keep submitting and keep writing. I’m not very familiar with the children’s book market since I write romance fiction, but it may be that you don’t even really need an agent at this point in your career, especially since you already made one sale on your own. Bottom line, the most important thing is to find the right agent for you, even if it takes a while. Remember that it’s better to have no agent than a bad agent. I wish you lots of luck!

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