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.
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the heavens didn’t open up and angels didn’t literally sing, but for me they kind of did, since I’d been toiling in unpublished angst and obscurity for years with little to show for it other than a few contest wins and the occasional "good" rejection letter.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 After piling up rejections on three manuscripts, I decided to ignore the common wisdom that warned against unpublished writers trying to break into the single-title historical romance market.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!