Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Guest Blogger -- Cat Schield
I’m very excited to be with you today to share my journey to publication. In my mind, it’s a lot like sailing. Both can be fun. Both can be scary. You get bruised. You can’t control the wind or the publishing industry. You can only adjust your sails or what you are writing to take advantage of the environment.
Rarely can you get directly from point A to point B. Both journeys might require a series of direction changes in order to draw ever closer to your goal. Most of the time, long periods go by where nothing appears to be happening, but you’re making headway. Interspersed with the waiting are short burst of frantic activity when you change the boat’s direction or do a quick polish on that requested manuscript.
Why am I making this comparison? Because if it wasn’t for sailing, I never would have sold my first book.
In 2006 a sailing buddy of mine, Erik Westgard, pestered me to write an article on our sailing adventure in the British Virgin Islands. He’d been writing for magazines for years, but had his eye on the glossy pages of International Yacht Charters and Vacations. To my shock, they chose my article for their June 2006 issue. I was going to be published.
Despite having tried and failed to sell a book at various times over the previous two decades, this pub credit gave me reason to believe in my chances of become a published author. My voice had matured. My dedication had ballooned. This time around I was going to sell or die trying.
I knew contests were a good way to get feedback and bypass the slush pile. In the fall of 2006 I’d finished two manuscripts and started entering them in contests. A lot of contests. To my delight, I made the finals in the the first two contests I entered. I was on my way. Or not. The next few gave me some eye opening feedback. Undaunted, I fixed my problems and got my first request for a full in the summer of 2007. And my first rejection. Slow pacing and not enough conflict.
I began to study craft and revise. More contests gave me more feedback and more full requests. Late 2008, after receiving great feedback on all my rejections letters, I got a form rejection. At a loss for how to move forward, I decided a change of genre was in order. So, I started writing YA. But I never lost my dream of selling to Silhouette (now Harlequin) Desire.
When I pitched to Kevan Lyon at the 2009 Nationals, I had a book at Harlequin and a two time requested manuscript I’d never submitted. She looked at both. And signed me. The editor who’d asked to see A Case of Meddling, my Silhouette Desire targeted book, had left by this time, but the new associate editor was happy to take a look. And to provide revision notes three weeks later. Believing this might be the one, I quickly turned around a revised manuscript.
To keep myself distracted while I waited to hear something, I entered the Golden Heart. In the past I hadn’t had much luck, but this year proved different. Of the two manuscripts I entered, I thought A Case of Meddling had the best shot. I was wrong. The book that finaled was Fake Fiancee, Real Love. And to my shock, it went on to win the Golden Heart for series contemporary romance.
A month later, Kevan called to tell me we had an offer. A Case of Meddling re-titled Meddling With A Millionaire hit the shelves as a Harlequin Desire this month. Dreams do come true. Sometimes you just have to be patient and believe.
Cat Schield lives in Minnesota with her daughter and their Burmese cat. Winner of the Romance Writers of America 2010 Golden Heart® for series contemporary romance, when she’s not writing sexy, romantic stories for Silhouette Desire, she can be found sailing with friends on the St. Croix River or more exotic locales like the Caribbean and Europe. Contact her at her website.
Or follow her on Twitter or Facebook .
Meddling with a Millionaire
No Man’s Bargaining Chip
Emma Montgomery wouldn’t be manipulated into marriage as part of Daddy’s business deal—even if he cut off access to her trust fund until she complied. The talented jewelry designer would just make her own way. Or go down trying. Too bad her intended groom--maverick businessman and former crush Nathan Case--made her stubborn stance so difficult. The heat of his touch had her nearly betraying herself at every turn. Resisting Nathan and regaining her money were the name of the game—but meddling with this millionaire might land her right back in his arms!
Tell us about how patience and/or belief paid off for you. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Cat's book!