Thursday, July 5, 2007

Ack! I've Got a Contract

A couple weeks ago I sold my first suspense.

I am beyond excited. This is the first book I started when I decided to try my hand at writing. It's also the second book I completed. I still remember the rush of reaching the end and feeling so excited.

Originally, this was a 85,000 word book. The editor who looked at it decided it wasn't a good fit for her house -- and she was right. So I sat on the book for several months -- busy with other things.

In December I followed up with another editor who had expressed an interest in the book.

Frankly, I was embarrassed to contact her -- it had been over a year since her invitation to submit it. She said she'd want to see it -- but the complete manuscript. I thought she'd just want the proposal, and make a decision whether to read the rest after that. Nope. She wanted the whole bloated thing -- her line only accepted 65,ooo word manuscripts.

Over Christmas, my sister and I spent a couple afternoons rereading the book and figuring out how to rework the plotline to fit this house's guidelines. A couple chapters were easy kills. But that only cut 8,000 words. It was still bloated and not a great fit for some of their guidelines.
I spent the next four weeks chopping and trimming, and at the end of January mailed the book off with a prayer.

That same week I signed with an agent, and let her work with the editor. About six weeks later -- during which time I sold two more books on proposal -- I got an email from my agent that the editor liked the manuscript, but it still needed some work before they could accept it. Was I willing to revise it?

With that hint of encouragement I went back to work. Of course, during this time, I learned that the word count was shrinking to 60,000 words! Ack!!!! I had to add plot and twists, while cutting words. I took a deep breath and went back to work. I love the way it developed. I really thought we were getting close. The good news is we are -- and any day now I should receive the contract.

But the fun has begun. Within forty-eight hours of getting the call from my agent, I had to complete a cover art sheet questionnaire and create a list of alternate titles. The new title is Deadly Exposure, and I love it. I still have a lot of work in front of me as I rewrite the book -- again -- based on the revision letter I received from my editor. The best part is I know it will be stronger when I'm done.

So watch for Deadly Exposure in June 2008 from Love Inspired Suspense. And pray that I can balance two deadlines that fall within two weeks of each other in August. Now I'm writing and revising under deadline.

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