Hi, it’s Donna Gartshore here with Laurel Blount. We’re a couple of Love Inspired Newbies and thrilled to be here! Today we’re going to talk a bit about our experiences with getting contracts and forming a lasting friendship through the From Blurb to Book Pitch.
I remember that after we had both made it to round three and had submitted our full manuscripts, we started chatting on Facebook, along with other contest participants, as a way to deal with the nerves of waiting to hear from the editors. In fact, I was online with Laurel the day she got THE CALL! Now, here’s an inside scoop – she hung up on her sister to take that call! But I’ll let Laurel chime in here and tell her side of the story …
Hi! Laurel here, and listen, ya’ll. When you’re in the final round of a writing contest for Love Inspired, and a New York editor’s number shows up on your caller I.D., your sister just has to understand! Seriously, all my family members were thrilled for me, which made my special moment even more special.
But you know who really understood the scope of what had happened? The online writing buddies I’d met during the contest—like Donna! When I typed in my news with shaking fingers, Donna instantly began celebrating with me. I think I heard her squealing all the way from Canada! Her congratulations were even more meaningful because she really “got it.” I’m delighted to say that I was celebrating her book sale to Love Inspired shortly afterwards. We discovered that selling our books wasn’t the “happily ever after” ending but instead was the start of a new, exciting…and bewildering…chapter—one we’re thankful to travel together!
Oh, there goes Laurel with the `y’alls’, but what can you expect from a good Southern girl? I’ll just have to toss out a few Canadian `ehs’ to even things out!
Laurel said she celebrated my sale with me a short time after. But my journey had an extra step. I didn’t get a contract right away but instead received an opportunity to revise and resubmit. While I was relieved that it wasn’t a rejection, I felt overwhelmed by the requested changes and worried I wouldn’t pull it off. I was so grateful to have writing friends who encouraged me, and pushed me, and believed that I could do it even when I wasn’t sure myself. The day I got THE CALL, I told my daughter first, and Laurel second.
As Laurel says, we’ve discovered that this is only the beginning of the journey. We are so glad to have each other to talk to – not just about writing, but about our college-aged daughters and work challenges too. It’s great to have LI friends that share our love of writing and our love of God. I can’t wait to make friends in person at the RWA Conference in July. Which reminds me, Laurel, tell them who’s going to be your roommate, eh?! (couldn’t resist!)
I’m so excited! I finally get to meet Donna in real life! I’m amazed at how close we’ve become via a computer connection, especially given how different we are. We don’t share a country, a climate, or even a writing style—Donna is primarily a pantser, while I am a plotter! Donna started out writing short stories, which might explain why she perpetually worries about meeting her word count, while I’m usually cutting words!
However, Donna and I are here to tell you that crossing the gaps of geography and personal styles has been well worth it! Writing can feel so competitive that sometimes it’s hard to truly connect with other authors, to make yourself transparent and vulnerable. But when you make those connections, you tap into wonderful resources that will help you weather both the successes of this journey (like being a finalist in the HOLT and the New England Reader’s Choice awards, yay!) and its challenges (like the dreaded sophomore slump…when IS that next book coming out? Boo!).
I couldn’t agree with Laurel more. We want to encourage anyone who has a dream to write for Love Inspired to learn from all the tips available and not give up. Speaking of stories – Don’t miss Laurel’s debut book A Family for the Farmer, a wonderful story full of heart, humour and hope.
And definitely watch for Donna’s fabulous, heart-catching romance Instant Family, which will be released December 2017. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now!