Friday, July 27, 2007

Decisions, Part 1

What I'm reading: More RWA freebies -- The Spy Wore Silk by Andrea Pickens

What I'm writing: Chapter 4 -- or is it 3? No hard and fast lines yet.

I've spent much of this week making career decisions. For someone who has trouble deciding what to eat for breakfast (and often skips it as a result), this has been a challenging last few days.

Several months ago, I found myself in the classic elevator pitch, although I had no clue I was pitching. I was at a mystery writer's conference, and the icebreaker to open conversations while waiting for elevator, or at the bar, or anywhere was, "what do you write?" I think I'd said something about just having come from an agent appointment, mentioning I was a little out of my element since my works were technically romance, but that I was enjoying learning more about the mystery side of things. Now, at a romance conference, I'd have suspected any male was likely to be in the agent/editor category, but half the attendees at the mystery conference were men.

When he responded with the typical question, I told him I wrote romantic suspense. He asked me for a few details, and as the elevators were very slow in coming, I gave him the "it's a Pollyanna Meets Delta Force kind of novel. He asked for little more, and when the elevator arrived, he handed me his card and told me to look for him in the agent appointment room the next day.

I did. He gave me the publisher's flyer on their romance line and we chatted for a couple of minutes between his appointments. He told me to send him the full manuscript. I hadn't even considered pitching to his house, since I'd already decided what I needed was an agent who would know where my work belonged.

But, because he'd asked, and because he wanted it electronically, I did send it after I got home, figuring that would be that. When I went to RWA, I was still pitching that novel, and had another request for the full based on my pitch appointment.

So…fast forward to Tuesday morning, after a Monday from hell changing web hosting, email, and dealing with our normal internet outages, when I see an email from elevator publisher offering a contract on my book. But it's written in legalese, so I decide I need to find an agent.

Having an offer on the table isn't a guarantee of representation. At least not an offer with a small advance. My first call was to the agent who had requested a partial at RWA. She was very nice, and offered to move my pages to the top of her pile and get to them that day...

to be continued.

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