Saturday, September 8, 2007

Greatest Moments In Writing!

*grabs a hanful of M&Ms and munches* I was thinking about this particular topic because of Kelley’s fantastic news—CONGRATS KELLEY! It’s these success stories that keep me going, constantly working to improve my craft. So, today is all about you, the author! I’d love to hear about that truly great moment when you sold your first story and knew a sense of accomplishment like nothing else in this world. When you realized that someone other than mom was going to read your stories.

Here’s my Great Moment. First, let me explain a few things about Anne Rainey. I’ve been writing since 2003. No, I didn’t just pop up a year ago. LOL The first things I submitted never even got rejected, as I never actually received a rejection letter. Apparently, I was either that bad or that unimportant. *grumbles and eats more M&Ms* So, after waiting for months and months on a few publishers who couldn’t even take the time to send me a letter saying ‘you suck’, I decided to take some time off from writing and research my craft a bit. I learned a lot in this time. Everything from how to write a query letter to sagging middles (and I’m not talking about waistlines, lol). After I felt more confident, I picked the pen up again and started writing. This time when I submitted, I did get a rejection letter. Hey, at least I’d moved up from being a nobody to someone worthy of a ‘you suck’ letter. LOL

What did I do? I went back to the beginning. I researched and attempted to figure out what I was doing wrong. At last, I’d figured it out. It wasn’t that I was writing crappy stories, they just weren’t fleshed out. It was as if I were submitting rough drafts. So, I went back to that first manuscript and basically gutted that sucker. Oy! I submitted it and BAM! I sold! No, it wasn’t my first sale, because as I waited for this particular print company to back to me, I wrote a few other stories and submitted those. ah-ha! Two more sales! Finally, I’d made it.

So, I suppose my shining moment happened twice. First, when I got the email from my editor at Samhain Publishing, Ltd.. I’ll never forget her words: “it was a sharp, sexy, well-written story”. I hooted and laughed and thought to myself, “Yes!” All the time I’d spent researching my craft was worth it! The second time was when I got that phone call from my dear editor at Red Sage Publishing, Inc.. I screeched and cried and finally, I opened up a bottle of wine. LOL Since those moments I’ve sold two more stories to these two wonderful companies--more on that when the details are ironed out--and I couldn’t be happier.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your shining moment? This is your time to brag, ladies!

11 comments:

Nicole North said...

Very inspiring, Anne!! My very first fiction sale was for a short story to a magazine. I've been writing for a long time, so I was over the moon with that first sale. Someone, an actual editor, liked my story enough to buy it. Wow, that was different from rejection city. My first sale of a novella to a romance publisher, Red Sage, was even more exciting!! For the first time I felt like a real author. :-)

Anne Rainey said...

Hi Nicole!
I love Red Sage!! They've been a pleasure to work with. I have the best editor there, too, she's wonderful. :-)

You know, Stephen King first got his break through a magazine sale (I think) and look where it's taken him? That's motivation right there! :-)

Kelley Nyrae said...

Thanks for the congrats, Anne!!

I've loved writing my whole life but I always thought I would write childrens books. I struggled and could never finish one. I thought maybe I was wrong and writing wasn't for me. Then when I moved to California I was a stay at home mom for the first time and picked up my first romance book. I fell in love with the stories and discovered that was the kind of books I was supposed to write. I knew it once I started reading them. At the end of 2005 I decided I'd start writing a novel (still unfinished). I worked hard on it but just couldn't get it done so I decided to write a short story. I submitted it and sold to an epublisher. I was really excited but like you wanted to learn my craft better. In between submitting and selling the short, I wrote a novella which got rejected (it was actually the book I just sold. Originally it was a novella but not a very good one, LOL). Anyway, I started researching like you and I took a class from a published romance author. I learned so much in that class. I looked at my novel and realized it sucked bad. So I then looked at my novella and it just sucked a little bit so I decided to totally change the whole thing and turn it into a novel. It worked! I sold the book to a print publisher and it will be out in 2008! When I got the call I screamed and danced like you except I couldn't do the wine thing because I'm pregnant, LOL.

Great topic!

Anne Rainey said...

This is so interesting. I love reading these stories. It helps us to remember that none of us was ever an overnight success. We've all had our struggles.

I think with writing, it's good to start small. Short stories are easier, less intense. Moving up to novellas is a good transition. Then taking the plunge and doing novel length stories seems less frightening, because you've had some practice. :-)

Jude Mason said...

Hi Anne,

Interesting topic, and I feel a bout of long windedness coming on. *G*

I've written what might be called dark erotica since I was in my teens. When I got married, 36 years ago, my writing took a back seat to husband and family, and to be honest, I never dreamed anyone would actually want to read my stuff. I'd fill notebooks with short stories and long, some went on for months, some were finished in an hour, but no one ever saw them. Used to think I was a tad of a perve. *G* Those notebooks held hundreds if not thousands of stories. And after I had a few filled, I'd burn them. I mean what else was I supposed to do with all that pervie stuff?

Anyhoo, we got our first computer in 1998 I believe and that opened up a much easier way to write, and by then my kids had grown and gone, and I had time to really get back to writing. When we got online, it was like a whole new world opened up for me. I found groups of writers. Writers found me. I mean it was awesome!

In 2000, I was approached by a publisher, Roy Larkin, who was in the process of opening up an epublishing house called Amatory Ink, and he encouraged me to write something for him.

You could have knocked me over with a puff of air. I don't think I breathed for five minutes, just waiting for him to say he was only joking. I knew I'd worked hard to improve my writing skills, but I also knew I wasn't good. Hell, mediocre would have been a stretch back then. But, I couldn't let it just go. This was my dream. One I'd never really admitted I had.

It took months for me to get that first novella polished and tiddled up enough to send. When I did, I was so excited, so scared. What had I done? What would he say to my semi-literate babblings? Would he laugh?

Well, he didn't. He emailed me with an acceptance letter. He also said it still needed work. POV was something I'd never even heard about before. And tenses, what the heck were those? Oh my, I had work to do.

Roy taught me a lot. I'll always be greatful for his patience. Amatory went under a few years ago now, but I still have the books/stories I had there. Some I still love, others I'm scared to even look at because I know they weren't well done.

It's been a real ride since then, and I wouldn't change a moment of it. I've learned and will continue to strive to improve my craft. And, I love my job!

Hugs
Jude

Anne Rainey said...

Jude!

Thanks SO much for telling us your story. I always wondered how you'd gotten started and what sort of things kept you going, plugging away, etc., and now I know.

Your journey sounds interesting! :-)

It's funny how each of us have had a different route here, but one thing I'm seeing that is common with all of us and that's 'NOT GIVING UP!'. :-)

Kris Eton said...

My journey has just begun. I wrote a short story last November when there was a call for submissions at Triskelion Publishing. My story was published and for sale for 3 weeks when they declared bankruptcy. I never saw a penny from that book, and it's still tied up in the court proceedings.

However, I was lucky enough to have a second story free and clear...I sent it off to Cobblestone Press only a week after Triskelion declared their intentions.

GOING DOWN, the story for Cobblestone, was released on August 24th, and I just found out a couple of days ago that it was #4 in sales for August...after only a week on the site!

I feel like epubs are a great way to get started in the industry. Yes, you risk a few bad experiences, but you come out a stronger, smarter, better writer.

I've already completed and submitted a second story to Cobblestone. I hope to have some good news soon.

Natasha said...

I'm deinitely not an overnight success, even though my first 3 releases are coming out in the next 3 months! I've been writing off and on for almost 20 years. I focused on category romance and while I got lots of requested, I got just as many rejections.

So in 2006 I decided to shift focus. After revising, I sent out five different manuscripts to five different publishers. I told my DH that if I threw enough stuff at the wall, something was bound to stick :) Well, I sold to three of those publishers - Samhain, Ellora's Cave and Red Sage!

Great post, Anne. It's fun to hear everyone's stories.

Anne Rainey said...

Kris,

That was a sad day when Trisk went down. But, congrats on your Cobblestone success. I personally think they have great covers. Wishing you good luck on your recent submission! :-)

Natasha,
MEGA CONGRATS! Those are three fantastic publishers lady. Doesn't get much better than that! :-)

Jenna Bayley-Burke said...

You've never had a rejection letter! WOW.

My shining moment was the first sale to Mills & Boon. I've always wanted to see my name on a category romance. I read so many that it felt fitting...still...surreal...

Anne Rainey said...

Hi Jenna,

LOL!!! Well, I'm not sure if you're referring to me or one of the other ladies, but I definitely had my fair share of rejections, which I talked about in the blog post. :-)