My ‘call’ story with Samhain – how to sell a book to an ed in 30 minutes

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As it’s Monday and I have the whole week ahead of me to get back to work on FRENCH BLUE – the sequel to my September release, DARK BLUE, I thought I’d blog a little about my ‘call story’ on this book.

Although DARK BLUE and FRENCH BLUE are both red hot romances with BDSM/kink elements, I have had a slightly less hot contemporary published by them. I loved working with my editor there, she is clear in her editorial directions, friendly and very approachable. I had more input into the cover design process than with any of my UK edited books (that’s not a criticism, it’s just how Samhain work) and was thrilled with the cover.

On the subject of payment – yes, I need to earn a crust – they pay great royalties of 30-40% and most novels of over 50k words are published in high quality trade paperback versions around 10 months after the e book.

I wrote DARK BLUE first and foremost because it was a story I had wanted to tell for quite a while but hadn’t had time to write.

Finally, having finished two long mainstream romantic novels which I’d sold to a Big Six UK publisher, I sent off a partial of the ms to my Samhain ed. I hoped it might be her thing but beyond that, I had to cross my fingers. Admittedly, I didn’t have to go into the slushpile as I’d had a book accepted before but you just never know. I still had a nailbiting wait after I pressed send on the partial and query.

After all this was a new departure for me; a book that was a step up in the explicitness of the sex scenes and a story with BDSM elements at that.

Fortunately for me I hadn’t long to wait. About 30 minutes in fact my ed was back by email. Yes, she loved the idea of the story, yes keep writing – and yes, send her the full as soon as I had finished it as she had a publication slot free in the Autumn. She also had a few suggestions as to tense and POV which were a huge help – and frankly, they were ideas that had been bugging me too.

No matter that I have had six books published before – I’ve had many rejections, all of which have hurt to various degrees from inducing a sigh of relief to full-blown sobbing and chocolate-bingeing.

So when I got such speedy encouragement, I was beyond thrilled and beyond motivated. Having started the story months before, I’d had plenty of time to mull over what was working and not, and make notes and simply think. So by the time I had the encouragement from my ed, I was straining at the leash to finish the book.

Knowing that I had a goal: a contract offer, a publication date was the best motivator ever. More important than that: the editor had given me validation that I wasn’t alone; she loved the story and characters too and it was Ok to step out of my comfort zone and let my imagination have free rein.

So I started writing and just didn’t stop. I loved writing this book and yes, there were times when I had to step aside and rewrite and edit and rethink but in no time it was finished.

Now I have edits coming up in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I need to stop basking in the glow of finishing DARK BLUE and get into the linked book which features the hero’s brother.

That’s the hard part. So I’ll crack the whip over myself and get back to the keyboard.

Samhain’s Submission Guidelines are here.

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