Friday, April 11, 2008

Publishing Moves at Geological Speeds...

Maven Jacqueline Barbour...except when it doesn't!

This past week has been quite the whirlwind for me as my writing career has taken a giant leap forward in the span, literally, of days. I'm still pinching myself, not quite able to believe I didn't accidentally wake up in someone else's life.

So, to tell the story from "the beginning" (and no, I don't mean the "I was born in a small town..." sort of beginning), in early February, I sent queries to a couple of agents and John Scognamiglio, Editor-in-Chief at Kensington Books, pitching Wickedly Ever After. Within hours, I had a response back from one agent requesting a partial and one from John, requesting that I send the full.

I printed the manuscript and gave it to my husband to mail out from his office the very next day. I figured it would be easier for him to use his company's meter to figure and print the postage than for me to go to the post office. I later discovered that, though he did eventually send it out, he let it sit on his desk for at least ten days before he actually bothered to post it. Remarkably, he is still alive :).

At the end of February, I received an email from John, asking whether the two related novellas I mentioned in my query letter were completed or, if not, available in outline form. I shot back with outlines the following Monday afternoon and posted a rather excited comment on my blog that I might have some big news soon.

And then I waited. And waited. And waited. THIRTY WHOLE DAYS!

Yeah, I know you're laughing. But seriously, that first nibble of interest, which came so quickly--and seemed even quicker once I knew that rather than having had the manuscript for a couple of weeks, John had had it only a few days--had me hoping I'd hear something, one way or the other, within a very short period of time. And it was short, as it turned out. It just didn't seem that way at the time! (Does it ever?)

"The call" came last Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. Now, for those who don't know, I live on the left coast, which means the last call I was expecting to get at that time was one from an editor in New York City. My son answered the phone and hollered for me, and I made my way down to take it (in my bathrobe) expecting it was someone from my office or a client. When the person at the other end announced, "This is John Scognamiglio at Kensington Books," well, I think you can pretty well imagine my reaction. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest because I knew, even before he said another word, that I was about to get an offer of publication.

John rattled off the details of the offer, but I have to admit that I barely heard them. All I could think of was that I had an offer from a major New York publisher for a single author anthology. That my dreams were coming true. Words really cannot adequately describe how amazing and surreal that moment was.

When John finished telling me the details of the offer, I was still coherent enough to explain that I was searching for an agent and that I'd be in touch with him once I'd selected someone to represent me. I had the manuscript with one agent already, and I let her know I had an offer right away. She said she'd read it over the weekend. In the meanwhile, I contacted four other agents who were on my A-list and received four additional requests for the manuscript.

And then things REALLY got interesting. By Friday afternoon, I had two offers of representation. By Monday evening, I had five. I was floored. And it was a tremendously difficult decision, because I felt a real rapport with every one of them. At no time did I feel that any of them was in it "just for this deal." All of them seemed genuinely interested in helping me build my career and representing me for the long haul. Their faith and belief in me and my work blew me away.

In the end, I chose Kevan Lyon at the Dijkstra Agency (they don't have a website, so I can't link you up, but I'm told they're working on getting one) as my agent. She's been a literary agent for a relatively short period of time, but has been in the publishing industry in one way or another for something like twenty years. And the agency itself has an amazing reputation, with a client list that includes Amy Tan, Lisa See, and Chalmers Johnson, to name a few. I know I'm in good hands.

Even though I'm incredibly pleased with my choice, it was tough to write those rejection letters to the other agents. I honestly don't believe I could have gone wrong, whoever I chose. (And I tip my cap to all those agents and editors who have to write rejection letters on a daily basis. It is no easy task, and I look at my rejection letters with a whole new eye now that I've written a few myself!)

This post has already gone on quite long enough, so I'll close by saying how much I appreciate the friendship, support, and encouragement of all the friends I've made in these past few years of writing, but most especially Maven Lacey. We've told the story of how the Mavens got together, but Lacey was the first person who really worked with me and convinced me I could do this writing thing. Without her, I'd never have kept going, never have met the other Mavens, never have stepped fully onto the path that led me here. There have been lots of other people along the way who've made a difference, and I plan to publicly thank each and every one of them over the course of the next few weeks.

But in the meantime, Lacey, this one's for you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You'll always be a rockstar in my world.

30 comments:

Emma Petersen said...

WOOT! Go CP! Go CP! This is just the beginning chick. Just the beginning so you might as well settle in for a long awesome ride. (I really need to stop writing erotica. Everything I write sounds dirty now. LMAO.)

Darcy Burke said...

Congrats Jackie!!! Let's hope hubby doesn't let your contracts sit for ten days... ;-)

beverley said...

I'm all SQUEEEEEed out so I will be more sedate and say that it couldn't have happened to a nicer person. Enjoy this, grow with this, and make this one of the best rides you'll ever have in your life.

Bev

lacey kaye said...

I totally wasn't expecting that! I was already sentimental...now I may have to reapply my eyeliner. You are an awesome rock star ninja and never forget it! It was easy to see the talent needing to be uncovered. Thanks for being my cp an my friend. And super-thanks for all the reciprocal pimpage; your belief in me and my books is exactly what I need right now. ((HUGS!))

Marnee Jo said...

WOOT!! That's wonderful news Jackie! I'm so happy for you!

SQUUEEEE....

LOL!

I can't wait to see your books on the shelf. :)

B.E. Sanderson said...

SQUEE! Congratulations!

Thanks for your story, Jackie. I needed to hear about success this morning. =o)

Bill Clark said...

w00t!!! I was wondering about that dangling teaser way back when, and kept checking your blog (in vain) for updates. Squeeeee!!!!!!!!!

Suggestion: tie string around hubby's finger the next time you give him something to mail. That way he'll at least wonder what the string is about, and give you a call to find out! :-)

CM said...

Yay Jackie! You rock! Woohoo!

Erica Ridley said...

Super-congratulations, Jackie!!! Maven world domination continues!!! =)

Tessa Dare said...

SQUEEEEE! What a week!

I'm so, so excited for you, Jackie! And I can't wait to see your anthology on the shelves. Any news on a release date?

Gina Black said...

Such exciting news. Congratulations!!! :)

Carrie Ryan said...

Awwwwww!!!! What an amazing story! So exciting!

World domination is clearly imminent!

Vicki said...

Woot!! I'm so excited for you Jackie!!! Can't wait to see this book on the shelves. And yes, I think you better settle in for a very long ride. You Rock!!!

terrio said...

Congratulation, Jackie!!! That's a great story. Much success and lots of books flying off the shelves!

Edie said...

Congratulations, Jackie! I came over from the Pro loop. I love to hear Call stories, and yours is a great one.

Jackie Barbosa said...

Thanks to everyone for the kind words and congratulations.

Emma, you made me laugh. You mean that WASN'T dirty? Bwahaha!

Darcy, if my husband lets my CONTRACT sit on his desk, I think we can assume that's grounds for justifiable homicide. I just wasn't sure the courts would see it that way when it was merely a requested manuscript ;).

Lacey, we're together in the sentimental boat. I was pretty misty by the time I finished writing this post. And believe me, all feelings are mutual!

B.E., glad I could tell a story that lifted your spirits. I truly believe my experience is proof positive that if you keep writing, keep learning, and keep believing, your time WILL come.

Bill, sorry I kept you in suspense so long. But imagine how *I* felt, eh?

Tessa, my agent says we're probably looking at a summer 2009 release, but that could mean any time from May through August.

And now, it's off to the grocery store. Alas, gaining an agent and a contract don't mean you get to stop doing all the day-to-day drudgery. More's the pity!

Gillian Layne said...

Jackie, this is the MOST awesome news! You are one class act, and I'm thrilled (and NOT surprised) that so many others recognized it.

Can't wait to see that book on the shelves! :)

Kelly Krysten said...

Congrats!!!!!

LaDonna said...

Jackie, saw your link on Amie's blog and ran over. Loved your story, and got chills! I wish you much success!

Santa said...

Just think - one day very soon you'll see your books on that check out line and in the Best Sellers section.

Mazel Tov!, auguri and congratulations!

You Mavens are really on quite the roll!

JenWriter said...

Great story! This is such great news. Congrats!

Amie Stuart said...

Well you already know how proud I am of you!!!! Congrats again girl!

sylvia said...

Hurray! Congratulations, that's great news! Ten days? He is lucky to still be alive!

Elyssa Papa said...

Congrats, Jackie! What a great story! This definitely calls for champagne--lots of it.

Keira Soleore said...

OMG!! I'm hugely squeeing and jumping up and down and sideways. Way to go, Jackie!!

Lacey can be rather convincing, can't she?

I was already sentimental...now I may have to reapply my eyeliner.
Vixenating Maven!! ;)

Lenora Bell said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! Go Mavens! I'm thrilled for you, Jackie.

caramaena said...

Congratulations!!! Fantastic news :)

Jackie Barbosa said...

Thanks again to everyone for the kind words and heartfelt congratulations. I am so blessed to have found such a wonderful community of friends and fellow writers.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Congratulations, Jackie! What an amazing whirlwind of a story!

Renee said...

Huge Congratulations.

Renee

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