Why hello there! I’m pretty new to the whole blogging thing, so please bear with me while I get the hang of it. Since my debut book, Grave Intentions, is set to release on January 1, 2013, I’ll start off with a little background on my journey toward publication.
Strange as it sounds, it all started with my addiction to the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. (Thanks a million, Shirley & Pam! Take a bow, because you’re ground zero for all of this.) Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s the evidence:
After I devoured the last book of the series at that time (To the Nines), I was desperate for a Plum fix. My desperation led me to the wonderful world of fan fiction. Unfortunately, there wasn’t nearly as much Morelli fan fiction as there was for Ranger, which is what spurred my first foray into fiction writing.
Short stories gradually became longer and longer, and eventually I challenged myself to create something totally original. So I did. And it was awful. (Hubby still swears it’s really good. Isn’t he sweet?) But the more I wrote, the better I became. That year I joined the Romance Writers of American and the Central Florida Romance Writers. The second novel was better, but still not ready for prime time.
Then I got the idea for Grave Intentions. Actually, I got the idea for the ending first, and had to work my way backwards. Who were these people? And why were they doing what they were doing? It drove me nuts until I figured the whole thing out. Then I wrote like a woman possessed until I had the basic story outline. Since the plot didn’t involve vampires or shapeshifters, I had no idea if it would be commercially viable. To test the waters, I entered the first chapter in a contest, and much to my surprise and delight it finalled! It was the boost my confidence needed to move forward to the next stage: querying agents and editors.
Now let me tell you, condensing a 90,000 word story into a 300 word query letter is not a task for the faint of heart. It took days to hammer that sucker out, and even longer to smooth the rough edges. The fine folks at Agent Query Connect (www.agentqueryconnect.com) provided invaluable feedback throughout the painstaking process. I highly recommend the site to any aspiring writer.
Query letter ready, I began the fun-filled task of submitting my manuscript to agents and editors. I received some requests for partials (usually the first three chapters and a synopsis) and fulls, but no offers. Mostly, I got rejections. Lots, and lots, and LOTS of rejections. This is a tough business, where you must find the right agent/editor, looking for the right story, at the right time. Miss one of those elements, and you’re out of luck. It forces you to develop a thick skin; otherwise, you’ll get discouraged and quit in no time.
By the beginning of 2012, I had submitted to 57 agents and editors. And to be honest, I was a little burned out from the process. At the time, three publishing houses were reviewing the full, along with a couple agents. That’s when the offer came from Kensington. Woo hoo! Yes! You like me, you really, really, like me!
So here we are. Grave Intentions is scheduled for release on January 1, 2013. I’ll post the pre-order link as soon as it’s available, as well as any other juicy tidbits. It’s going to be a very special new year in casa Sjoberg! Thanks for coming along for the ride!