www.marilynbrant.com

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I Sold My First Novel...

...and my second!!

I'm thrilled to say the book that won RWA's Golden Heart Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements last year (According To Jane: A Novel About Pride, Prejudice & the Pursuit of the Perfect Guy) just sold to John Scognamiglio, editor-in-chief at Kensington Books, in a two-book deal. It's a women's fiction project and will be coming out in late summer/fall of 2009 in trade paperback. The second women's fiction book--ingeniously named "Untitled #2" at the moment--will follow, but I'm not yet sure when it'll be released. Or, in fact, which story it'll be.

I've only had a couple of days to let this information sink in, so I know I haven't come close to fully processing it. When my agent Nephele Tempest called me with the news of the offer last week, my brain was stuck between two sentences, which left me unable to say anything other than: "Oh, my God!" and "Thank you..." Pretty much repeatedly. For an hour.

But I have one or two additional thoughts now on what getting The Call has meant to me. Yes, there's a sense of validation. To discover that someone (not your best friend, not your favorite relative) loves your story for many of the same reasons you loved writing it--well, that's a remarkable gift. To be writing exactly the type of story you enjoy writing and to have someone (with acquisitional power, even! :) want to add it to his Fall '09 list...it would be hard not adore this person. Fervently. Sight unseen and without so much as a phone conversation. It would be equally impossible not to feel incredibly fortunate that this particular manuscript crossed this particular editor's desk at this particular time.

Then there's that whole Dueling Internal Voices thing, where Voice 1 shouts, "Getting a novel published is too hard, and I can't do it!" while Voice 2 shrieks back, "But I sure as hell will, and I dare anyone to try to stop me!" I've been living with this increasingly loud argument in my head for almost eight years. Knowing that Voice 2 won the battle and getting to see this process through to the end is a great relief...although publication never really feels like "the end" among novelists. This is an industry where perseverance, determination and commitment are not only required to get into the publishing game but at every level afterward. I'm pretty sure anyone who's taken on fiction with an intent to sell understands this.

Yet, I haven't known a single published author who didn't experience moments of doubt before getting her call. Wondering whether she'd be able to turn her dream into reality. Wondering if she'd be able to persist long enough to make it happen. Or, once that call came, if she'd sell again. Or get a large-enough advance to quit her day job, hit a coveted list or successfully change genres. Published or unpublished, we all have to fight against the skepticism and fear that comes whenever we confront that seemingly endless wall of rejection.

I started writing fiction seriously in the summer of 2000. I have enough rejection letters to travel to the moon and back--or at least to somewhere in the Balkans. But I spent a lot of time this year thinking about the dedicated published authors I know, many of whom suffered through multiple rounds of revisions on their latest projects, years (not months) between sales and the steep writing-craft learning curve necessary for anyone not born with a natural and encyclopedic knowledge of Robert McKee's Story. I remembered these writers--these warriors, actually--as I revised this novel, revised it again, asked friends to critique it and point out where it didn't make sense (and, let me tell you, there were plenty of spots...). And even when they insisted I had it right--that I should feel confident going into editorial submissions--some days it was just so hard to believe this call would ever come...

But it did. Finally.

Oh, my God!

And I know I wouldn't be able to make this announcement were it not for the tremendous love, support, friendship, critiquing genius and infinite encouragement of my family, my good friends and my writing community--which, incidentally, are not mutually exclusive groups. So, here's to all of you.

Thank you.

19 comments:

Eliza said...

No, Miss M, here's to you. I am so proud of you and I cannot WAIT to get that book into my hot little hands. You deserve this so much.

Carrie Lofty said...

Congratulations again, Marilyn! You have my email address, right? If you need to bend my ear, I'm here.

Tina M. Russo said...

Congratulations. This is so wonderful, so inspiring and after reading your call story and history on the 2007 GH loop...SO DESERVING.

Praying for continued success for you.

L.A. Mitchell said...

AHHH! I'm SO happy for you!! It's about time the woman who beat me out got what she deserved *g* I'll live vicariously...if just for today. Awesome news.

Trish Milburn said...

I loved reading your account of The Call, Marilyn. It sounds oh so familiar. I particularly remember the argument in my head. Congrats, again. Can't wait to read your book. I love the title.

Cindy Procter-King said...

Congratulations, Marilyn, my '07 Bond Girl Sistah!

Marilyn Brant said...

Ladies,
Thanks to ALL of you for your kind and supportive comments! I'm excited (and exhausted!! :), but it's been a really amazing week...

Nephele Tempest said...

*smooches* to you, Marilyn. You deserve them. Sorry I didn't get to hang out with you this weekend at the conference, but a little bird told me you were glowing. That's what I love to hear.

~Nephele

Maureen McGowan said...

I am so excited for you, Marilyn!!!

Sandra Ferguson said...

Marilyn, congrats, on so many accomplishments.

Yeah! for selling the book, no wait for selling two books.

Yeah! for your determination to never give up (and oh how tempting that is).

AND

Yeah! for not going nuts with all those voices shouting out in your head.

I can't wait to hold my copy in hand.

Gail Fuller said...

WTG, Marilyn!!! Congratulations, hon! I'm so happy for you. What a wonderful blog. I can't wait to tell my mom the fabulous news. Woo hoo, another Bond Girl has sold! Congrats again! Keep smiling! :)

HelenKay said...

Congratulations on your sale!!

Caryn said...

I just popped over from Pam's blog to congratulate you, but I also have to say that this post was fantastic -- incredibly reaffirming. I can't wait for the book's release!

Asil said...

Congratulations, Marilyn!

Where can I sign up for an autographed first edition?

Your "old" high school buddy,

Lisa

Nadine said...

AAHHHH!!!!! I can't believe I almost missed this!!! I hope it isn't too late to tell you how absolutely THRILLED I am for you!!! You stuck it out, made it, and I love your book title!!! Honestly, I was so, so SO happy to read this today!

Can you please email me privately when you have a chance (I know you're probably still in a haze...), I'd like to send you something.

nadinedajani@yahoo.ca

Here's to having a mojito in your honor tomorrow!
xxx

Simone Elkeles said...

Marilyn, the public is going to go ga-ga for the book, and I know this because I've been priviledged to read an earlier version. I CANNOT wait to see it/read it again when it comes out!
Let's celebrate ASAP!

Lisa Plumley said...

Mega CONGRATULATIONS, Marilyn! I just saw your sale news. That's fantastic! :)

Marilyn Brant said...

The congrats and good wishes you all have sent me have made my week wonderful! Hugs to you!!!

Mel said...

Congrats! I was in last year's Cherry cheering crowd for you. Congrats, Congrats, Congrats! So, just walk around your house(apartment) clicking your heels until it all settles. And then do the snoppy dance.