Saturday, October 20, 2007

How I Sold My First Book -- Or Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned From George Costanza

I hope you are all having a great weekend! This week, Killer Fiction is very excited to feature Dorchester Debut Author, Angie Fox, as our guest blogger this weekend. I met Angie at the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Dallas this past July. We happened to sit down at the same table at the Kiss of Death Mystery Suspense Chapter's Death by Chocolate Party where we were both finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence (Trigger Happy Halliday was a finalist, as well!) and became acquainted then, connecting off and on throughout the conference. I was thrilled to hear from Angie several months later that she had gone on to sell her first book and asked Angie to share her experience with us here at Killer Fiction. I remember my own 'The Call' story and will blog about that next week, but I still remember how stunned and excited I was that my dream was finally a reality. For those of you who are published, I suspect we never get tired of hearing these stories. As for those who are still waiting for that momentous call, I remember so many times before I was published that I just wanted to give up but would read someone's 'call' story and it would keep me plugging. So, without further adieu, I'm thrilled to welcome Angie Fox to Killer Fiction. Take it away, Angie!

~Bullet Hole~

________________________________________________

How I sold my first book

Or: Everything I needed to know, I learned from George Costanza
I’ve always loved to read, so it was no surprise to anyone when I eventually decided to write a book of my own. When I did, I attacked it head on. I planned, I worked, I outlined more than any woman should. The end result? I wrote three mysteries that didn’t sell.

I don’t know how many of you watch Seinfeld, but there is a time in George’s life where he decides what he’s been doing hasn’t been working, so he decides to do the opposite. That’s what I did with my books. I’d been writing serious mysteries, with lots of science and research involved. They’d generated some interest, enough to almost, almost sell. But nothing quite happened.

To take my mind off the latest mystery making the rounds with agents, I decided to write something completely different, a funny paranormal romance where I could build my own world and make up my own rules. I fell in love with the idea of a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches and THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER was born.

Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of painstakingly writing over the course of a year, I giggled my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months.

The opening chapters did well in contests and caught the eye of an editor, who asked to see the whole thing. That same editor bought the book less than a week after I finished it.

I still can’t believe THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER will be an August 2008 release. And just this afternoon, I was working on the sequel, laughing with the characters and having more fun than I should.

While I’m not sure Seinfeld is the best place to go for life lessons, I really do think there’s something to be said for following your instincts – in writing and in everything else. Can you think of a time you’ve taken a different path? Broken out of a pattern and started something new?

28 comments:

Christie Craig said...

Angie,

I love your story. And I love your Seinfeld lesson. Sometimes, forcing yourself to go down another path, a path to the unknown, is the quickest way to get where you need to be.

I love, love it when I find myself laughing with my characters. Sometimes, it's hard to believe they pay me to do this.

I can't wait to read your book. Thank you Angie for sharing your story and thank you Kathy for snagging her.

Crime Scene Christie

Gemma Halliday said...

Great sale story, Angie! I can't wait to read your book, the tittle alone has me hooked.

And I'm a firm believer that the answer to all life's problems lie in Seinfeld episodes. Anyone else celebrating Festivus this year? ;)

~Gemma

Lucy said...

What a great story.

I recently had a "discussion" with someone about what catches a reader's eye on a book. I said a title could get my attention but the blurb would seal the deal - one way or another. And I love the title of your book and the blurb you gave...definitely would have me at the register with a new purchase. :-)

Tori Lennox said...

What a great first sale story!!! Thanks for sharing it with us. :)

Jenyfer Matthews said...

You know, I am constantly using Friends episodes to illustrate my points (much to my husband's chagrin) so I love your Seinfeld story. Especially since I remember that time!!

Great story and congratulations!

Estella said...

Congrats on your sale!

catslady said...

Isn't that amazing how that works lol. I say it sold because you had so much fun writing it! I think I've seen every Seinfield episode 3 or 4 times lol.

Faye Hughes said...

Great story, Angie. I actually had the pleasure of reading your first chapter in one of those contests...can't wait to read the completed book!

Faye

Angie Fox said...

Thanks, Christie. I'd never realized (until this book) how important it is to have fun every step of the way. I had a ball writing THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER and it made a real difference in the story.

Angie Fox said...

Gemma,

I have a Festivus pole. They sell them online. I'll try to find the link. In the mean time, here's the link for Festivus Greeting cards and The Airing of Grievances Worksheets. Oh and the Feats of Strength Challenge Card ... http://www.kwillis.com/festivus.html

Angie Fox said...

Thanks, Lucy. I'm glad to hear you're game for riding off with the biker witches! You wouldn't believe some of the real life bikers I met while doing research along the way. These folks are a real hoot and a half. I'm going to have to include a section on my website to introduce readers to the quirky folks I've met along the way.

Angie Fox said...

Thanks, Faye! If you wouldn't mind confessing, which contest did you judge? My editor spotted THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER in the Chicago RWA's Four Seasons Contest. It was a very well run contest, by the way. I'd highly recommend it for anyone who wants to test out a new manuscript or get that completed manuscript in front of the right agent or editor.

Angie Fox said...

Found it! You can order your very own Festivus pole at www.festivuspoles.com.

Oh and for Jenyfer, this was also in my Favorites folder, a site with some of the greatest Friends quotes of all time. Because, yes, most everything can be traced back to Friends and Seinfeld. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108778/quotes

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Thanks for that link! I watched Seinfeld and Friends every week while they were on and can probably quote most the episodes by heart!

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks so much for guest blogging with us, Angie. I really do think you've nailed it when you talk about breaking the rules and breaking out of a pattern--especially in how it relates to writing. In a market vastly more competitive, where it seems every editor or agent is repeating the need for a 'high concept' idea ad nauseum (I have yet to hear a helpful definition of same but I suppose it's a case of they'll know it when they see it) writing out of the box is more important than ever.

It's a fine balancing act, too, though, as there are some elements in a romance that are pretty much expected to be there.

But hey, half the fun is trying to read an editor's mind, right?

I hear those groans. :)

And good luck on the sequel, Angie. From the fun you're having writing it, I'd say it's going very well!!

~Bullet Hole~

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, Angie,

I judged several contests this year but I'm thinking it may have been in the Golden Claddagh. I still remember Pirate - he was one funny talking dog. LOL.

Best of luck for huge sales!

Faye

Angie Fox said...

Thanks, Kathy. It was great of you to invite me to post my story.

And, Faye, I'm glad you liked Pirate. He's one of my favorite characters to write. I was so glad when one of my editor's comments on the book was, "do not change a thing about Pirate."

Lily said...

Congrats on tour sale... must have been great!

Nathalie said...

Great story... taken a diffent road... many times... I act more on impulse!

lila n. said...

Once I broke a mirror... so I decided to do something to indulge myself... I took a vacation - which was much needed!

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