I first met Amy at the Silken Sands RWA Conference sponsored by my Chapter- the Gulf Coast Chapter. While I didn’t get to talk to her much, she seemed to be our kind of girl and I got to know her a little more on the PRO-Org loop of the RWA. She just recently inked her first deal with Carina Press and I also found out that her agent is my dream agent. She is one cool chica and I think you’ll like her. She also offers critiques of synopses among other things and will even write your author bio for you. Check out her website: http://www.amyatwell.com/
Amy Atwell: The Ten Year Trek to Published
Thanks to the ladies here at Southern Sizzle Romance. It’s such a joy to pop by and formally announce the sale of my first book. LYING EYES will be released by Carina Press in November, 2010. Here’s the quickie blurb:
In LYING EYES, a Las Vegas costume jewelry designer discovers her illusions of a satisfying life can’t hold a candle to true love when she forges a dangerous alliance with a hot thief to try and rescue her aging father Cosmo, a tricky magician who’s disappeared and left behind nothing but a mystery of stolen gems, a carload of Russian relatives, an overfed rabbit, a hired gunman, and two sisters she never knew she had.
The Sizzlers asked me to share my trek to the contract. What a l-o-n-g trek it was! I started writing with an eye to publication in 2000. I joined RWA, which was instrumental in connecting me with other authors. No longer was I that “weird girl who likes to write stories.” Hell no. Now I was an aspiring author.
But it was a lengthy trek from wanting to write to mastering my craft. My first ever editor submission went to Alicia Condon at Dorchester in 2001. Turns out my mom knew Alicia’s dad (I know, what are the chances, right?). Here’s the opening sentence of my first submission letter:
Dear Ms. Condon: It appears that my mother struck up a conversation with your father outside the Deer Isle post office, resulting in this manuscript landing on your desk. Frightened? Believe me, so am I.
Yes, seriously, I wrote that. To her credit, she actually agreed to meet me a few years later. Well, after she’d had her then-assistant Kate Seaver reject the book, of course. The 130,000 word Georgian-Regency saga. Oy….
From there, I moved on to write contemporary single title romance. After four tries, I finally earned a finalist spot in the Golden Heart contest in 2008. That led to signing with an agent. That led to marketing the much revised (and significantly shorter) historical—which didn’t sell. I also finished writing Lying Eyes in 2008, and though we had some editor interest, we couldn’t quite get past the marketing problem.
Frankly, the book has too much comedy to be marketed as a straight romantic suspense. But it has too much suspense to be marketed as a romantic comedy. After the book didn’t sell in 2008, it wound up under the bed until earlier this year. You see, I love the book. Fortunately, my agent loves the book. So we brainstormed fresh ways of bringing it to market. And we sent it to Carina Press.
Three weeks later, I had an offer. A month after that, I had a contract (and yes, they really DO come from Switzerland!). Two days after that, I had revisions from my editor. Two weeks later, I was wearing a First Sale ribbon at National. (Go ahead. Squee. I did.)
Bottom line here is don’t give up your dreams. Trust your gut and write the book you love.
So here’s my question: how many of you have written a book you feel will be hard to sell? Why did you ignore the difficulties and write it anyway?
THANKS AMY FOR A GREAT POST AND AN INTRIGUING QUESTION AT THE END.