Romance writers often work for years on their craft. The prize of seeing our work in print can seem distant at times and there are no quarantees. Perhaps that’s why we refer to the first offer of publication as “The Call.” It’s a personally validating moment that changes things.
But no two “Calls” are alike. Today debut author Joan Swan shares her call story.
Let me just say, it wasn’t at all what I expected.
I’m not sure where I got my fantasy of one call, one offer, one acceptance, one round of edits and wha-la, we were done, but that’s evidently what I had in mind, because when it didn’t happen, I found myself a little lost in the whole process. Thank goodness for my agent, Paige Wheeler. She did a lot of talking, a lot of explaining and I did a lot of Mmm-hmm-ing and Okay-ing.
I don’t see myself as a pessimist, but a realist. When you look at the statistics of writers becoming debut authors…well, just don’t look. Suffice it to say, my motto has always been hope for (and work toward) the best, prepare for the worst.
So when my agent called to say, “We have an offer”, I held my breath against the excitement ready to bust my ribs, waiting for the “but” at the end of that statement.br /In this case, the “but” was positive. “But, another house is also interested and I’m waiting to hear more from that editor.”
We went back and forth for a few days, talking revisions and changes for the series with each editor. My agent and I discussed the details of each publishing house, specifically what they brought to the table outside the advance—reputation, marketing efforts, author support, distribution, trade vs. mass market, etc. There were so many considerations I’d never realized would be important so early in my career.
Ultimately, we chose Kensington. The Brava line has a fabulous reputation for quality romance. Their covers are consistently amazing, their marketing supportive and varied.
A factor even more important to me personally was how I clicked with Alicia Condon, my editor. When we discussed revisions of the first book, I appreciated her candidness and her visions for how the book could be stronger and more compelling. While it meant a major rewrite, her suggestions gave me a glimpse of how her influence would improve my writing, which has always been a core focus of my career goals. Growth is very important to me, in every way. The fact that I felt I had found an editor who shared that value was key.
If you’re an author who has also gotten The Call, what types of considerations did you have to make that surprised you? If you’re an author waiting on The Call, what types of core career goals do you want incorporated into your first contract?
Thanks for having me, Mia!
My pleasure, Joan. Since Alicia Condon is also my editor, I can second your praise for her. It’s so important to work with someone who “gets” you.
Joan’s Bio: Joan Swan is a triple RWA® Golden Heart finalist, and a double Kiss of Death Daphne Du Maurier finalist. She writes sexy romantic suspense with a paranormal twist, and her first novel with Kensington Brava, FEVER, debuts April, 2012. Currently, she works as a sonographer at a one of the top ten medical facilities in the nation, and lives in magnificent wine country on the central coast of California with her husband and two daughters. You can find Joan at:
For writers who pop by today, I’d love to hear your answer to Joan’s question. For readers, here’s your question: strongHave you ever had a moment when something you’ve worked hard for finally came to fruition? How did it make you feel?