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The Email

by Jayna Gardner

“We’d officially like to aquire…”

When I first read those words, I was shocked. For years I’ve known I could write, wanted to write, wanted to be a published author.

How did it happen?

I originally wrote a story for a contest, small 300 word piece. I didn’t win in the contest but was encouraged to submit it to publishers. I was undecided and scared, what if they hated it and called me a no talent hack. What if no one wanted to publish it.

Then I thought, what if someone did.

With the help of a wonderful website and forum, all the friends, support and cyber love that I receive there I was encouraged and got the nerve up to submit.

And I was lucky, the first publisher I submitted it to liked it, but there was one problem.

They wanted it longer.

Your voice is the style we would like to hear on Aphrodite Unlaced.

“Lusty Aphrodite” enjoyed your story [the name has changed since I originally submitted it]! So much so that we would like to consider acquiring it if you would agree to a few suggestions.”

No problem. I expanded it and resubmitted. They loved it. But another problem.

They still wanted it longer. So I expanded it again.

And it took a little longer with the tweaking and I got a friendly little email prod from the editor that wanted it.

“Just wanted to keep in touch and I am hoping to hear from you soon about your story! We haven’t forgotten your great storyteller’s *voice*”

So I sent it to my lovely CPs (Critique Partners) and fixed and fussed with it and then resubmitted it.

And I waited. And waited, and waited to hear. Impatiently patiently eagerly waiting.

Then I heard. And another revision request, this time minor touch ups.

It’s surprising. You write and write and edit and send it to your CPs, revise some more and try to get it close to perfect and then submit it to a publisher for consideration and they you basically start the write/edit/submit process over again.

We emailed back and forth. I was asked about cover suggestions and I gave three, still waiting to see what the cover’s going to look like but I have to get the contract first, look over it and sign it and send it back before we get to that stage.

Then I got another email. Would you consider changing the title?

What?!!!

Then I calmed down, thought about it and eagerly awaited the response to my email about keeping my title as it was. It had evolved from the original one to this one and I think this one suited the story, couple and plot better. And I know my editor was probably thinking, okay she agreed to the other suggestions and edits and has a problem with changing the title.

Now I don’t know what I would have done if they had wanted to go with the alternate title they suggested. Now mind you it was only one word difference but one word can make quite a difference.

Then I got another email – the response. Apprehensively, I opened it.

And…

“No problem! It’s refreshing to see an author have such a dedicated sense of their
*voice*.”

So I got to keep my title. Huge sigh, then I read further.

“So, a bit of a direct question…Derek and Trina…are they African American, Latino?”

Trina and Derek, the heroine and hero of my story are African American. I replied, waiting, wondering. Would that make a difference?

And finally I get **THE** email…

“Hi Danielle 🙂

We’d officially like to aquire Diary of a Love.

I’m sending you this edited version before we run it by one of our line editors for the final polish”

I went over the final edited version from them and my version, line by line, noting changes and differences. Thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” or “That does work better than the word I used” or “Hmm. Interesting.” There was only one problem, a line I and the editor both had fiddled with and finally reading their version, I figured out which would work better. A combination of the two versions.

And now I wait, for the final version from the line editors and then I will be able to happily announce that my story, “Diary of a Love” with me writing as Angeleque Santiago will be published by Aphrodite Unlaced.

And this whole process has taught me three things:

1. Your story is not your baby. It’s a work of fiction, a creative work that can be changed and most likely will be changed and revised by your editor.

2. You have to have a strong will and know what to fight for and what not to fight for.

3. Writing is a process and a business. I knew it was when I started writing seriously, but going through the process before I get the contract and got the final word that the publisher wanted to acquire my story, that it really drove that point home.

And the best thing of all, is one of my dreams will become a reality. All my life, I’ve wanted to be not just a writer, because writer’s write. But I wanted to be a published author. And this is the first step in the process.

P.S.

That wonderful website and forum with all the cyber-love, support and wonderful friends… http://www.romancedivas.com