Julie Brannagh has been featured numerous times on this website. Today she revisits and answers the question: how to get published. Enjoy!
Most people have questions when they find out what I do. Sometimes they’re curious about the publishing industry. Many people want to know how I research the sex scenes I write. A few want to know if I have met E.L. James, Stephenie Meyers, or Nora Roberts. Back to publishing, though: I do not have all the answers. I can only describe what happened to me.
I have wanted to write a book most of my life. I spent the first (number redacted) years of my life doing everything else but writing. I was told it was impractical. As a result, my first attempt at writing a book was in 2005; I finished NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I started writing my first single title one week later. It took about six months to finish that. I had no idea what to do next, but someone told me I should try joining Romance Writers of America. I showed up for my first RWA meeting with my entire printed manuscript. After all, wasn’t someone going to offer me a publishing deal on the spot?
Nobody bought my book that night, but I met an entire group of people that knew what they were doing and could teach me how to do it, too. I spent the next three years learning from them about writing, revisions, querying and submitting. I had written a three-manuscript series before I started pitching my work at conferences and querying. My first book (Blitzing Emily) was written in the first person; I was told I would not sell until I rewrote it in the third person. It took several months. I also entered writing contests. Writing contests are offered by RWA chapters as a fundraiser and an opportunity for the unpublished and un-agented to get their work in front of an editor or an agent.
Two years later, I finaled [was a finalist] in a contest. My prize was a ten-minute meeting with an editor. I’d met her previously at a conference. The first thing she said as I sat down at her table: “Why don’t you have an agent yet?” I learned that “Because I’m a chicken” was not an acceptable answer. She took the notebook out of my hands, wrote down five agents and their contact information and said, “Query them and get back to me if you need more.”
Those agents rejected my work, but I kept querying. I queried for another two years. Those who write will know that your initial queries might never be acknowledged. You might get a mass-produced note that states “Thank you, but it’s not for us.” You’re close when you get a letter with a few suggestions on improvement. Shortly before I signed with my agent, I was getting detailed and personally-written rejection letters. I write in a sub-genre of romance that was a guaranteed rejection as little as three years ago: Contemporary romance, specifically sports romance. I kept writing.
I was a Golden Heart finalist in 2011. To my shock and amazement, agents and editors wanted to talk to me instead of the other way around. Many GH finalists sign a deal before the award winners are announced. My finalist manuscript got sent to more agents.
I found my agent because another author posted her name on an e-mail loop comprised of Golden Heart winners and finalists. She was looking for sports romance. I had to rub my eyes and look at it twice before I pulled up my e-mail and sent the agent my query letter and the first chapter pasted into the mail. She responded four hours later. She wanted the entire book. We spent two days mailing back and forth as I tried to tell her that the book needed another polish. She finally wrote to say “Just send it. I don’t care.”
I sent the manuscript. I expected the typical two weeks to six months’ wait. Agents don’t read anything overnight. She did, though. I awoke the next morning to find an e-mail from her. I have never been so afraid to open an e-mail. Would it be another rejection? I clicked on it and read, “I’m sending you a revise and resubmit letter. I want the book. I also want everything else you have. I’m going to sign you and we will go out on submission this fall.”
I called my husband at the office. I was crying so hard he thought someone died, so I forwarded him the e-mail so he could read it for himself.
After a summer of revisions, my book was ready for submission. We got six offers. The publishing house of my dreams was one of them. We accepted, I signed, and one year later, I held the first published copy of Blitzing Emily in my hands.
To answer the question: It took me seven years, approximately one million written words, fifty rejections, and a very patient agent to get published. Piece of cake, right?
Title: Intercepting Daisy Love and Football #6 by Julie Brannagh
Release date: September 6, 2016
Published by: Avon Impulse
From USA Today bestselling author Julie Brannagh comes the next fun and incredibly sexy novel in her beloved Seattle Sharks series.
When Daisy Spencer wrote an erotic novella about the Seattle Sharks’ backup quarterback and her #1 crush, Grant Parker, she never expected it to become a runaway bestseller. If anyone discovers she wrote the sexy story, her days as a flight attendant for the Sharks would be over. But once she gets to know the real man behind the fantasy, her heart may be in more danger than her job.
Having Seattle fans think squeaky clean Grant is wild in bed is the last thing he needs-even if it might be closer to the truth than he will ever say. As he spends his days, and nights, with the gorgeous Daisy, he’s not interested in going back to the lonely life he once led. But when the real author of the novella is finally outed, Grant and Daisy must both reveal the secrets they’ve hidden away or risk losing a love that’s better than any fantasy.
Click to add to your Goodreads shelf.
About Julie Brannagh
USA Today Bestselling Author, Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.
When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.