When I joined RWA in the Spring of 2005, I had just finished my first manuscript. I really believed I'd be a published author by the end of the year. Then by the end of the next year . . . And now seven years, two children, five finished manuscripts, a hard drive worth of first three chapters, and 100s of rejections and several almost-sales, I'd almost started to believe it just wouldn't happen.
And I did give up. In 2010, after my son was born, and my collection of first three chapters was steadily growing and rejection letters kept coming from projects I had out on submission, I decided to let my RWA membership lapse. See how not writing felt. Not writing felt horrible. Worse than horrible. Then in May 2011, I decided to give it one more shot with a very simple goal--I would open my WIP, whatever that happened to be, every day, no matter what.
In one year, I wrote more words than in the previous 6 years combined, finishing two complete books and one novella.
And today, that Novella sold to Ellora's Cave. Seven years ago when I started, e-publishing was a brave new world and Ellora's Cave stood out as one of the big success stories. I always had them on my list, and I'm absolutely thrilled to be bringing you my funny, sexy, sweet novella with them.
And if you ever doubt the power of social media, this story would never have happened without it. I knew Delphine Dryden on twitter, and after 50 shades came out and was heralded as "mommy porn," she suggested erotica writers take back the term. A group of us worked on shorts featuring heroines who also happened to be mothers getting happily-sexily-ever-afters. Knowing a group of us were all talking and tweeting about our stories kept me on track as did my #1k1hr friends.
I submitted to Ellora's Cave at Del and others in my critique circle urging, crossed my fingers, and when I saw the email today, I really thought it was a rejection. And my heart sank. And then I read it and my squeal probably sounded all the way to Mount St. Helen. And then I told twitter :) And my husband. In that order. Luckily, he forgave me.
Over the years, I've read hundreds of "call stories" and success stories and I always looked forward to the day I'd have a call--or in this case email--to share. And in every story, the message is always the same--don't stop writing. Don't stop trying new things, new genres, new stories, new lengths, new critique groups.
P.S. Today would have been my beloved Grandmother's 92nd birthday. It's our first without her. She'd be a little horrified that my first sale came from an erotic romance, but I think she'd also be tremendously proud of me. She was one of my biggest supporters of my writing, and I called her with every contest win and every request for a full, right up until her final weeks. I'd like to think she brought me a little luck today.