October 2011 was my first attendance at the Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight and Magnolia Conference. My mentor talked me into it and I was beside myself with anxiety. This particular conference is for aspiring and published authors. They primarily deal with romance but it’s open to most genres within that realm.
The workshops that they have are all about improving your skills while cheering you on. That being said, I went into my second day of the conference as I pitched to Harlequin. Oh my! I’d been reading their books since I was fifteen and here was my chance to try my hand at getting into their publishing house. Can we say Vapors, boys and girls?
The appointments are only 8 minutes each, so you have to go in with the words to grab their attention, quickly. She was intrigued with what I proposed but it didn’t quite fit into her division with the company. If I reworked it with the male being the main focus of the book then she was sure it would sell oversees, but I had already written this one from the woman’s point of view and was saving her brother for the next book (if I was ever able to write it).
She was insightful enough to ask what else I had written and I was surprised at her asking. She “knew” that I had to have more than one item up my sleeve and I did. I proposed my paranormal series and my romantic suspense. Of course, that was taking more than my 8 minutes (with introduction). Victoria told the moderator to give me five minutes and smiled as she didn’t take No for an answer. She was determined to hear me out. I was fumbling over myself with pride.
The tale ends with a formal rejection from Harlequin that following year but I appreciated the kindness that she extended to me for my “babies”. She understood and even saluted me at the banquet dinner that we had that night. I was welcomed enough to go into a pitch with St. Martin’s Press the following morning.
And that manuscript that was rejected by Harlequin? It was Andromeda, and was soon published by Secret Cravings Publishing. I’m pleased with my dealings with this small press in TN, enough that I submitted Just to be Left Alone to them within months. That was accepted as well, and started my wonderful career as a serious writer. Now, I’m slowly writing on three books as I finish college. Two of these, will be sent to SCP, as I know they’ll be well taken care of. For the series, have no fear, I’ll find the perfect home for it once she’s grown up enough to be sent out on her own.
Message: Sometimes a small home is the best thing for you. Cozy and personal.