I sold my 15th book on Thursday, with my agent getting all the details done on Friday, right before she went on vacation for a week. It was my first agented sale, as after 14 sales by myself to the Harlequin American line, I was ready to let someone else run that part of my business.
The book I sold is for Harlequin's NASCAR continuity series, which will be a set of four, 75,000 word books released per month from Feb-Nov 07. I've got one of the November 2007 spots.
Selling this book was as fun as making my first sale. This book was one that I would have entered into PASIC's Book of Your Heart contest, only I'd already shipped it to my agent and my editor had already passed it on. The only thing I was waiting for was for NASCAR to say yes. I got the idea in January after Sound and Speed 2006 in Nashville, and I hoped this book would find a home somewhere, I loved it so much.
When I first sold my first book, I was married and I took half of my advance check and spent the entire thing shopping at Talbots. I did not pay bills or anything but bought an entire new wardrobe that I desperately needed; I hadn't bought any amount of new clothes since I'd had my children in 1996, and this was 1999. When I got divorced in 2001, writing provided me a way to pay my legal bills, and somehow stay afloat without going under when times were tough. I got a royalty check once triple the small amount I was expecting and I remember crying and thanking God for being so generous to me to let me write, and to be good enough to sell when there are so many out there who are probably better.
Unlike some authors, I can't live on what I make writing. I teach full time as well to put the roof over my kids' and my heads. Writing gives us some extras we might not otherwise have. (I describe writing as selling Tupperware or Mary Kay--most won't get the car right away. I may never get the car.) But writing keeps me independent. It allows me to do things I couldn't and allows me to meet people I never would have otherwise.
But the funny thing that I realized today was, if I didn't sell that book, I still made tons of new friends doing the research for it. If I never sold another book, I have made tons of writer friends over the years who would be there for me in a heart beat. Their congratulations rolled in. They allowed me to for a minute feel very special--right before my kids got into a huge row and brought life back into perspective/the daily grind.
For me, writing is like a bubble bath--for a little while you get to step outside your world and be somewhere else. I can write at Chuck E. Cheese's and often do--I can tune everything out and escape for just a little while. That's why I write, and why I keep at it.
I'm just thrilled that the ride is continuing--or in my case--accelarating up to 180 miles per hour. Vrroom.