Monday, October 09, 2006

New Hope

I have a book that I wrote about five years ago. You hear all the time about the "book of your heart"--this was it for me. It was my first single title, my first paranormal, my first action-adventure. It was the first book I wrote that was easy. I was so exhilarated to write it, and I never had a "God I hate this book" moment like I did with all the ones that came before it. The sequel was just as much a joy, and so was the third one. At least, up until the moment I stopped writing it.

I shopped that first book everywhere. I got an agent, and she shopped it everywhere. I entered it in the Golden Heart three times. I revised the opening chapters, because the gap of time between writing the first sixteen pages and writing the rest caused a voice/tone change. I revised again, adding a prologue because the beginning had so much exposition, I thought it needed more action. My scores in the GH and other contests dropped every time I revised, though, and I won a critique from a top agent, who said "what if you did it this way?" and she basically described exactly what the original opening had been.

So I've revised it again.

So where's the hope? If every publisher has rejected it twice, what can I possibly do with it?

A few years ago, a new imprint and a new line were starting at Harlequin/Silhouette. The news was barely above the level of rumor, so we had no idea exactly what the editors were looking for. I called one of them, and she said to send it. She read it over the Thanksgiving weekend, called my agent, and said it wasn't right for the line but she'd pass it along to that other new imprint. That editor also said it wasn't right for the imprint, but she wanted to hold it for something she couldn't talk about, if that was okay.

That was the high point of my career so far. I've been heading into a big trough since, but you know how life can be so cyclical? That thing the editor couldn't talk about never came to pass, but her imprint is changing focus in such a way that my book MIGHT be right for it now. I sent a partial last week, so we'll see what happens.

I don't know why I'm doing this, because even if she loves the book, I have a feeling the sequels wouldn't fit. Too much romance. So I'd be back to square one with those, and I want them published as much as I want the first one.

I'm going to give the Golden Heart one last try, too, I think. The book deserves it. Everyone, cross your fingers for me!


Erica Orloff said...

Fingers crossed!!! Good luck! The biz is so weird that way, so maybe this time . . . !

Natalie Damschroder said...

Thanks, Erica! I keep thinking about Cindy Dees and her first Bombshell, which was a book she'd written 15 years before. I don't want to wait that long, LOL, but it's never a permanent death!

Erica Orloff said...

I keep EVERYTHING. Even crap I think is horrible. Because I never know if some small element will be usable someday.

MaryF said...

Fingers definitely crossed! It's so hard when a book you love so much can't break through!

Natalie Damschroder said...

That's smart, Erica! I try to do that, but with changing technology and unknown storage, I'm always afraid I'll never find it again. :)

Thanks, Mary! You know that truth even better than I do. :(