Debut Harlequin Desire Author Sarah M Anderson recounts her Path to Publication!
I started writing in 2007. I had a long car ride with my 2 ½ year old son and 92 ½ grandmother, and on the way home, both of them fell asleep (or, in my Gram’s case, ‘rested her eyes’). I didn’t want to disturb them—I didn’t even turn on the radio. But I had to do something to stay awake beyond the caffeinated soda. So I let my mind wander, and it landed upon two people standing in the rain and having an argument. Then they kissed. Who were they? Why were they fighting and making up? Trying to figure this out kept me alert for the whole three-hour drive.I had imagined situations like this before, chalking it up to an over-active imagination. Usually, I forgot all about it by the next morning. But not this time. Those two people argued and kissed all night; in the morning, there was more to the story. A whole week of this went by, and they were driving me nuts. I had to do something to get them out of my head. I thought if I wrote their story down, they would leave me alone.
That scene spawned 520 pages of the first book of a family saga. I’d love to tell you that that book sold to the highest bidder and will be on best-seller lists soon, but that’s not what happened. My path to publication was not a straight line. I finished that book, wrote two more, and then another, all while I queried that first book. The rejections came in almost as fast as I could send them out. But the whole time, I kept writing.
The fourth book I wrote was signed by an agent. While she shopped that book around, I wrote some more. The sad truth that a lot of new authors don’t want to believe is that even if an agent likes something, that doesn’t mean it will sell. After a year and a half of trying, that agent and I parted ways. Another big curve along the path.
I was stuck in a problem a lot of unpublished authors have—they need a sales record to get an editor interested, and to get a sales record, they need an editor to buy a book. I decided to try my hand at a category novel for Harlequin. I called that book Indian Princess. It took second place in the Golden Rose contest and was the Grand Prize Winner for the Hot Prospect contest. Then it sold to Harlequin Desire.
Again, the path was not straight. While my editor, Stacy Boyd, loved the book, we had to go through extensive revisions. The end result now renamed A Man of His Word, will debut this December, and I couldn’t be more excited. Yes, the path to publication was long and winding. But I never turned around and I never exited, and I got to where I was going—my name of the cover of my book. That’s my Point B. Where has your path taken you?