I just read my friend and crit partner, Brit Blaise’s blog about our long ago RWA trip and her query that ended up getting her a book deal with Avalon and it got me thinking about my own past history with publishing. In fact, I think it was on that same RWA trip that I heard an editor speak who would change my publishing career forever.
If you want to get the scoop on our RWA trip, here’s the link to Brit’s blog –
Brit Blaise’s Blog
As for me, I attended a Kensington Publisher’s Spotlight and heard their editors talk about a new line that was starting called “Aphrodisia”. They asked for writers to send them erotic romances, even partials so they could get this new line off the ground with a bang. I had just started an erotic romance with the help of my friend and crit partner, an already published erotic writer, Brit. So I decided to send off my partial. Why the hell not, right? Couldn’t hurt…
So here’s the query letter I sent in with my partial – verbatim (and I’m cringing at the typo that got by me then!!:
I attended the Kensington publisher’s spotlight at this year’s RWA National Convention in Reno, where one of your editors advised you were looking for erotic romance—even partials—for a new line. So I’m enclosing a partial of Seduction of the Klatch, a paranormal erotic romance that is just under fifty percent complete along with a synopsis. It completed portions are linear, except for the last scene, which jumps to the queen’s ascension ceremony. The story is about an ugly duckling who wakes up to find out she’s the crown princess of a race of otherworldly witches whose life force is sexual energy. She needs the help of the prince of her erotic dreams to help her save a world she never knew existed.
I’m currently published in paranormal romantic suspense with Triskelion publishing and my paranormal romantic comedy comes out in both print and ebook next month, also with Triskelion. I’m the president of my local RWA chapter, a member in good standing of the FF&P chapter, Kiss of Death and Passionate Ink (the new RWA erotica chapter) as well as a member of an active critique group.
I’m very excited to submit to Kensington’s new erotic romance line. I hope you enjoy reading Seduction of the Klatch and I look forward to hearing from you.
So now the rest of the story…
I didn’t hear from Kensington for almost a year. In fact, I figured it sucked so badly that they had just circular filed it and didn’t even bother to reject me… But then….I got THE C ALL! Or actually my husband did. He was at home and got a call on our home phone from Audrey LaFehr from Kensington asking me to call her back. He called me at work with the information and as soon as I could I called her back – right there from my cubicle 🙂
I’ll admit – I was terrified! This was my first “Call”. When Triskelion had bought my first book, Into a Dangerous Mind, I’d gotten the “EMAIL” – which I still did a happy dance over. But this was New York calling – the big leagues, an actual New York editor! And I scrambled to remember everything I had learned about talking to editors and about getting “THE CALL” Anyway, I called her back, actually remembered my name to tell her who I was and managed not to sound like too much of a flake – I hope…LOL!
She told me that she loved my sexy writing and could I turn this world I had started into three books. My heat started racing, my palms started to sweat and I said without missing a beat, “Yes, I can do that.” Then she asked if I could finish the first book by the end of the month (I still had 50% of it to write) and get it to her. I found myself saying a confident, “Absolutely,” before panic set in. Then I told her I wanted to use this deal to get an agent and did she have any she liked working with. (I had heard about this tactic from a fellow RWA author – might as well make sure you have an agent your editor likes working with – right? Anyway – she threw me off when she instead asked me for my short list of agents I was considering. I told her Paige Wheeler topped the list – I’ll have to tell that story about how I met Paige in another blog. Audrey told me she LOVED Paige and I was off and running…. Although she did mention a few other things like she hated the title – sounded too much like “Seduction of the Crotch” for her taste…lol!! Which is true. It eventually became Ceremony of Seduction – my best selling book to date! She also asked if I would be taking a pen name since this would be my first erotic. I told her I’d get Paige’s opinion and let her know.
Anyway – I’ll give you the scoop on how I got Paige as my agent in my next blog, but I immediately called my critique group – The Butterscotch Martini Girls – together to figure out how the hell I was going to turn this into a trilogy and to gird me up for finishing the other 50% of this book in three weeks. Because, damn it! I wasn’t going to miss out on a three book deal just because I had to write a measly 40-50 thousand words and edit and polish an entire book in three weeks! I had seriously fallen down on the job because I figured they hated it so had resigned myself to the fact that I just couldn’t cut it as an erotic writer. No worries – I wouldn’t give up writing, I’d just stick with my sensual books that had gained me my current fan base.
But that’s how I came to write the query letter above for Kensington when I sent in my partial. When I was learning how to write a query a friend and NYT Best Selling author had shared one of hers with me and I modeled mine off of that. So feel free to borrow mine and update it if you’re learning – I’m a big believer in paying it forward 🙂
And like I said, I’ll write another blog going about how I got my wonderful agent, Paige Wheeler – who really is terrific!
Hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day holiday planned! I’m off to write!!