Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Slipping Through the Back Door - Twice

I thought it would be fun to share how I stumbled through the back door of Love Inspired. Many moons ago, after over two hundred rejections, when Heartsong Presents still existed, I submitted a book to both LI and HP. Because let’s face it, if I hadn’t double submitted books, it might have taken me nineteen years to get published instead of nine and a half.

After LI rejected the book and HP didn’t respond, I went to the American Christian Fiction Conference where I had an appointment with the HP editor. She hadn’t read the proposal I’d sent her yet. After I pitched the book, intrigued with my contemporary romance set in Romance, Arkansas, she asked for the full.

Thankfully, at that conference I took a class that finally taught me how to edit my work. I revised the book and sent it to her. Seven months later, I signed a contract for a three book series set in Romance, which is a real town where couples go to mail their wedding invitations and get married.

There wasn’t a cowboy in sight in my first series. But years before, I’d been inspired to write a rodeo book set in Texas. Since my dad used to announce at our small town rodeo and I married a Texan, the story was right up my alley. I ended up signing a contract for another three book series set in the Fort Worth Stockyards with a rodeo theme. LI had rejected this series also.

Shortly after I turned in book two of my rodeo series, Barbour decided to end the Heartsong line. I wailed and flailed in the floor, certain my career was over, then went to ACFW with my heart in the pointy toes of my high heel shoes. At the conference, one of the Barbour editors told me that another publisher was in the process of buying HP and asked how soon I could have book three finished. I blubbered all over her and my critique partner, then came home and wrote the book.

Just before it was time to turn it in, I learned that Harlequin had bought the line. I’d stumbled through
the back door. Once I completed my contract, my agent asked if I had anything similar. Since I had three dangling characters at the end of the series, I asked if I could continue it. I got a new contract with HP and the rodeo series morphed into nine books plus another three book series. But history repeated itself. Just after I turned in rodeo book eight, with four books left in my contract, Harlequin decided to end the HP line.

This time, I didn’t wail or flail or blubber. I knew God had it handled. I wrote a longer length book that had been bugging to get out for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed writing what I wanted to, just for fun.


Soon, I learned from my editor that LI wanted to continue my contract. Because I write cowboys and LI readers can’t get enough of them. So HP and cowboys helped me slip through the door at LI and I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride.

25 comments:

  1. Hello, I Like your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wish you best of luck for all your best efforts. Romantic Stories | Marriage Stories

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  2. I love hearing how you got started! You know how much I love your books too!

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    1. Shelia Hall sheliarha64(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    2. Thanks for being such a great support, Shelia. I wouldn't wish my roller coaster ride on anyone. But it all worked out.

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  3. Thank you for showing that when we think things were not going our way, God has everything all worked out.
    Susanmsj at MSN dot com

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    1. It took me a while to learn that, Susan. I tell people I went to the school of hard knocks in my publication journey.

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  4. What a great story, Shannon. It just shows, God has everything under control. We just have to trust Him. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hey Mary, it's the trusting during the storm that's difficult. But I think I'm getting better at it.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your book with us, It sounds great and Thanks to all the blogs helping you to do that

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    1. Hey Linda,
      Thanks for following my tour. I get tired of talking about myself :)

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  6. Shannon, what a fun story! Although I doubt the line cancellations were fun at the time. But I'm so glad you finally ended up with Love Inspired. I feel blessed to write for them. I'm sure you feel the same.

    Hugs!

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    1. Hey Debby,
      I was beginning to wonder if it was me, there for a while :) I feel very blessed to get to do what I love for LI. And looking back on those rejections from them, I didn't know how to revise into an interesting read back then.

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  7. Great "sold" story, Shannon. I'm so glad you got to join the line and write your sweet stories of faith.

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  8. Thanks Leigh. There's actually more - the vanity publisher who published my book without bothering to tell me - the POD published, badly written, unedited book that haunts me - the agent with the bad rep who blew my first sale. But it all worked out and I learned God's got this.

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  9. Shannon, your transition from Heartsong Presents to Love Inspired closely mirrors mine! Moving HP from the Barbour umbrella to Harlequin was confusing at times, but I was glad to see the line get a second life. It was a disappointment when it was finally discontinued--but left with a 3-book contract yet to fulfill, I was delighted to be asked to write those books as LI romances!

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    1. Yay Myra, I'm glad you made it too. I do miss Heartsong and the editors. But there are so many lines that aren't any more. I know that's bad grammar. Sorry :)

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  10. What an amazing story. 200 rejections? Are you serious? I thought getting 15 of those darling letters was a lot. I'm in awe of your persistence. Clearly, God has a plan for your work. I look forward to reading you next book.

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    1. Hey Patricia,
      I stopped counting at 200. Some of those were for short stories in magazines. But mostly books - 8 of them. But the first 3 years, I didn't join any writing groups, take any classes, or go to conferences. So I didn't know a thing, just wrote books. Most of the rejections came from then. I finally decided I needed help and eventually found ACFW.

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  11. Shannon,
    Love your story. I started with HP, too. And, I have a 3 ring binder with all my rejections - organized by book! LOL.

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    1. Wow Pamela. So organized. Mine are in a very thick manila envelope. I take it with me as a prop when I speak at writers' conferences.

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    1. Hey Heather. There for a while it felt like everywhere I turned, there was a roadblock. But God kept knocking them down for me.

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  13. Shannon, I'm behind as usual but I wanted to tell you how proud i am of you and that I'm so glad you are here with us. You are a sweetheart and I love you!

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    1. I didn't see this til over a month later, but thank you so much Lenora. I loved you before I ever met you - as an author. You've been so supportive and sweet and I still get a bit star struck whenever I see you.

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