A Day I'll Never Forget
As Trish mentioned in her post yesterday, I had been writing for many, many years before I sold. Winning the Golden Heart in 2003 was something that gave me a lot of encouragement and kept me writing, but my targeted publishing house had already rejected my winning manuscript. So I was a little down after all the hoopla of the conference and the excitement of winning had worn off. However, I had two other completed manuscripts. One of them I had entered in some local chapter contests. A couple of months after the Golden Heart win, I received word that this manuscript had won the Dixie First Chapter Contest and the full was requested by the judging editor. I gave that baby a once over and sent it off to Steeple Hill. Then I got busy and polished that other manuscript while I was waiting to hear. In the meantime that manuscript won a contest judged by the senior editor at Steeple Hill. She requested that I send the full to the editor that had my other manuscript. Talk about everything falling into place. I sent that manuscript off after sending the editors a letter to make sure they wanted to have both manuscripts there at the same time. A few weeks later, I called the editor to find out what was happening with the first manuscript, but I always got her voice mail. When she returned the call, I was always out. She talked to my husband, but she indicated that she was sending the manuscript to the senior editor.
So here's how it all happened. Friday morning February 20, 2004, I went to get my haircut and stopped to pay our water bill. When I got back home and walked in the door, I saw the light blinking on the answering machine. I punched the button to play the message. "This is Diane Dietz from Steeple Hill. Please call me." My heart was racing, and I was thinking this has got to be THE CALL. (I missed it!!!) At least this time my husband was busy on his business phone and didn't have the chance to answer. But then I thought maybe she wasn’t calling to buy my book, but I thought surely she wouldn't call unless she's going to buy the book. (Was I a little neurotic or what?)
My husband was still on the phone, so I couldn’t even scream or talk to him. Instead, I got teary eyed and waited around until he got off the phone. I told him Diane Dietz called. I think she called to say she wants to buy my book. He said to call her. I said that I was afraid. What if she wasn’t calling to buy the book? He just shook his head. I said that I would call when I got myself together. So I took a few minutes to calm myself down. Then I punched in the number, hands shaking. She answered and asked me if I was sitting down. I was. She said, "I'd like to offer you a contract on Second Chances." At least I think that's what she said. I had to be very calm because my husband was still on his business line just up the stairs. I told her that was fabulous. I think she was a little disappointed that I was so calm. I told her I'd taken plenty of time to calm down after I listened to her message. Anyway, she went into details about money, time lines of revisions, option book, publication, etc. And she explained some of the revisions they wanted. I told her I’d call back later. I wanted to check out the offer with some other authors.
After I hang up and my husband wasn’t on the phone, I screamed, "THEY WANT TO BUY MY BOOK. I GET TO GO TO THE HARLEQUIN PARTY."
Not too long after I had hung up, our younger daughter just happened to call to talk to her dad about business stuff. I told her that I had sold my book. All kinds of excitement there. I called my mother-in-law. She was thrilled because she knows how long I had been at this. (She can't understand why they haven't bought my GH book. She did proofreading for me on that book and loved it.) Minutes later, my older daughter called to say congratulations. Younger daughter had called her and just happened to catch her at lunch. I was so excited I couldn't eat. My stomach was churning, but I decided I'd better eat something or I'd faint away. So I had lunch. My husband asked when I'm going to call back. I told him at 2 o'clock. So at 1:58 pm, I called and accepted the offer. We chatted for quite a while about all kinds of stuff.
During the rest of the afternoon, I sent e-mails to everyone I could think of to let them know I'd sold. Then I went for my walk so I could burn off some of the adrenaline. The weather finally turned nice so I could do it at the beach. I was grinning from ear to ear, but I resisted the urge to go up to complete strangers on the beach and tell them I'd sold my first book. I came home did my lower body workout. Believe me I had lots of energy. Finally I saw the flowers my girls had sent while I was out walking. I couldn't believe they got there so quickly.
That evening my husband and I went out to dinner. I had a pina colada to celebrate. We have a restaurant here at the harbor that makes the best pina coladas. I was tempted to have two but told my husband that he might have to assist me out the door if I did. I rarely drink so one is enough for me. What a day—one I’ll never forget!