My First Sale by Patricia Sargeant, Persistence Pays Off
Award-winning author Patricia Sargeant knew from the age of 9 that she wanted to be a writer, but her dreams of being a published one didn’t come until after rejections and long waits. Despite six years passing between the completion of her first manuscript and her first sale, Sargeant persevered. Her hard work has come to fruition and with one book under her belt, September sees the launch of her first trilogy featuring firefighters with On Fire.
Her first romantic suspense, You Belong to Me,won third place in the 2006 Reviewers International Organization’s Award of Excellence in the Favorite Debut Novel Category.
Born in the West Indies and raised in New York City, Patricia now lives in Ohio with her husband.
I’ll always remember my first sale call. It was around 9 a.m., Wednesday, March 1, 2006. I was at work in my office trying to figure out how to get rid of a co-worker who’d turned a two-minute question into a 30-plus-minute impromptu meeting. To my great relief, my phone rang. Although I didn’t recognize the number displayed on the caller identification screen, I pretended that I did.
I apologized to my co-worker, saying I’d been waiting for this call – little did I realize how prophetic was that statement. My co-worker very kindly expressed understanding and left my office. I answered the call and Karen Thomas, then with Kensington Publishing, offered me a two-book contract.
March 1, 2006, was Ash Wednesday. I was fasting, so at first I thought I was hallucinating. Because of the delay between my submitting my romantic suspense, You Belong to Me, and receiving The Call –" two years and four months, but who's counting? –" I'd put that story out of my mind with the intention of immersing myself in other projects.
I told Karen I would discuss her offer with my agent. I actually didn’t have representation at the time, but I’d been researching agencies and had a list of agents I wanted to approach. I contacted the first one on my list. My dream agent, Roberta Brown. I didn’t think Roberta would agree to represent me, but hey, hope sprang eternal.
By the end of our conversation, I was even more impressed by Roberta. I sent her the synopsis and first three chapters of You Belong to Me and crossed my fingers that she would like the story. The stars were definitely in alignment for me that day because the next morning Roberta offered to represent me.
I think the moral of this story is never give up, never surrender your dreams. Persistence does pay off. If you think you have a fit with a publisher, don't be afraid to follow up