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first-sale

My First Sale by Beverley Kendall

My First Sale by Beverley Kendall

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. Beverley Kendall’s second release, A Taste of Desire, is in stores now.   You can visit Beverley at her website and learn more about her books.

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I'm one of those writers who knew they wanted to write since they were very young. I can't even say it was when I was handed my first romance novel-’it was before that. I was the young child who stapled sheets of papers together and drew and wrote my own stories.

When did I get serious about wanting to write? Hmm, that had to be when I was nineteen and in college. Since I cut my romance teeth on Harlequin romances, I started writing with Harlequin Presents in mind-’to me, the pinnacle of romance books. I didn't have a critique partner-’didn't even know what one was-’wasn't a member of any writing organizations, it was just me and my typewriter (totally dating myself). I never finished the manuscript. Oh, I did send it off to Harlequin and they requested a partial, which they rejected with personalized notes on what I can do to make it better.

When I think back on that manuscript (which I still have), I literally cringe at my naivety. I didn't even have the thing read over by anyone else!!

Skipping forward many years, after I'd had my son and was looking down the road to the rest of my life, I remembered my dream of becoming a writer right about the time Avon Fanlit was gearing up. That contest set me on the course to writing my, not only first historical novel, but finishing my first manuscript.

A Taste of Desire by Beverley KendallI started sending it out in 2007 to every romance agent I could find. Everyone turned it down. So while I was writing book two in this trilogy (boy, wasn't I ambitious?), I decided why not send it out to editors who accepted queries. Hilary Sares from Kensington Publishing responded to my email query in about five minutes flat. She said she loved the query so send the full. I did, quickly, eagerly. While I was waiting, I continued to revise it. Revised so much so that I wanted to send this version to Hilary instead. After almost six months with no response from her, I did, spending another $20 on postage and sending it along with a new title to boot.

One week to the day I sent Hilary the revised manuscript, I received her rejection letter in the mail. I was bummed but not deterred. To me, that ship had sailed and there was no hope for A Lady Compromised (one of the many former titles of SINFUL SURRENDER). It was now officially dead and I could lay it to rest until I was famous and my editor would look at anything I gave her/him.

On September 4, 2008 I received a call from Hilary Sares. To say that I was shocked and stupefied would be a mild understatement. As she was talking to me, I just kept thinking, "She rejected my first book and I haven't even sent her the second one, so why is she calling me?' Well, she cleared it up by telling me she read the manuscript I sent her in February and wanted to contract it. February! OMG, she's talking about the revised manuscript I thought I'd wasted money mailing to her again. Talk about timing. If I'd received that rejection letter just a week or more earlier, I would never have sent it out.

I can't clearly remember what I said; it was a jumble of words, barely coherent I'm sure. Needless to say, I partied like it was 1999 (okay, so not literally) and exclaimed my joy to everyone I knew. I soon got an agent and penned the deal. A year or so later, SINFUL SURRENDER was released and seeing it on Wal-Mart's book shelf had to be the second best publishing experience of my life. That was almost exactly a year ago, and now my second novel and the second book in The Elusive Lords trilogy, A TASTE OF DESIRE, releases January 4, 2011.

Comment below and you'll be entered to win a $15 Amazon Gift Certificate and a copy of both SINFUL SURRENDER and A TASTE OF DESIRE!

My First Sale by Keri Ford

My First Sale by Keri Ford

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. Keri Ford is a debut author who submitted a first page for critique in May of 2010. Taking the critiques, she examined her writing and launched herself into a new project which is released today. You can buy “Through the Wall” in digital format through most etailers.

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In the Spring of 2010, I was sprawled out on the jagged shores of rock bottom. My guts had been ripped out of me, my heart left bleeding. There wasn't an inch of skin that wasn't rubbed raw.

I'd realized what I'd been hearing was true. My writing was awkward, stiff, and plainly put, not good.

Even worse, I didn't have a clue on how to fix it. A critique partner ripped through a page for me, pointing things out and how to fix some issues. I sent a page into Dear Author for First Page Saturday. I reviewed feedback given to me from submissions. I took in and analyzed every comment, thankful for them, hard as it was.

One comment stood out very clear and I'll never forget it. "And this brings me to the thing that most feels like you're following rules blindly"-’Courtney Milan. This may not have been Courtney's intention when she wrote it, but I translated that as, I was so busy following those unwritten rules about writing, trying to be perfect to get published, I couldn't even tell a story through it.

I put all my current works in progress away. I didn't know if all my stories were awful, if it was just a couple or what. I knew I wasn't going to stick my finger in anything I had been working on and further ruin their possibility.

After nearly five years of faithful writing I wasn't about to give up. Not knowing what else to do, I pulled out an old story I had bedded. One I'd written before I learned how to write.

Five minutes into that reading I made a startling realization-’when I didn't have a clue about writing mechanics or publishing or marketing, or anything, writing was fun. I kept reading that story. My heart was fluttering again. My stomach kicking up with anticipation. It was a complete rush that swept over me. I read that whole story remembering how giddy I'd been while writing it. I wanted writing to be like that again. Wanted my breath to catch when something surprising happened. Laugh by some unexpected comment. Sigh over something sweet.

Still not confident enough to return to my ongoing manuscripts, I decided to write something brand-spanking new for an experiment. And something short.

Something sexy. What's funner than having sex?

Blank document in front of me, I decided I needed a heroine looking for sex. I leaned her against a fence at a barbeque and let her survey the crowd of opportunities. Mr. Blond Hair, Blue Eyes came prowling out of the masses.

I didn't think about sentence structure, usage of "that' or "was', GMC, shallow POV or deep-’nothing. I had two goals with writing this story. One-’get my heroine laid. Two-’have fun while doing it. That was the kit and caboodle of my plotting.

The words just poured out. The characters flew off the page. For the first time in a long time, I felt good putting the words down. Two days later, heroine was satisfied, so was the hero, and all in about 15,000-words. I had my rush back.

All those unwritten rules? The bits of them that I needed had seeped into my writing unconsciously. That phrase, "learn the rules and then you can break them"-’I got that now.

I cleaned that story up and sent it to an editor who'd asked to see something contemporary from me. Within twenty-fours, the editor at Turquoise Morning Press responded back and I signed my first contract. And that's how I made my first sale, which turned into my first series.

Through The Wall is the first of six sexy contemporary novellas in the Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas series. It releases *today* (((giddy happy-go-lucky feelings)))

Straight up stubbornness and thick skin got me here. It's what's going to keep me here.

Thanks so much Jane for letting me on here today!