Monday, March 8, 2010

My Journey to the Call...Part 1

My Journey to “the call”… PART ONE

For those of you who haven't heard my latest BIG news (and I don't know how you've missed it--since I've been shouting it from the rooftops!)...I recently received "the call" from Dorchester Publishing NY who will be publishing my paranormal romantic suspense book entitled Courting Demons in early/mid 2011. To read more about this news, check out my personal author blog at

I want to celebrate my wonderful news by sharing my story with you. I'm also giving away tons of writer related prizes as a bonus for those of you who take the journey with me!

So, here's my story.

In 1990, I wrote my very first novel entitled Summer Sisters. It was a young adult romance about a character (based on myself since I was a young adult at the time) and my best friend taking a trip to Boston and falling in love with rock stars! Twenty years later, I’m still writing novels about falling in love but I hope that I’ve improved drastically since that first book (that manuscript printed on dot matrix printer paper is currently residing in box in my freezing cold garage).

Around 5 years later, I’d written my first “real” novel entitled Naked Eye. It is a legal thriller featuring a young southern woman who works in a law firm and witnesses a murder. While I never witnessed a murder (thank goodness), I had begun my 15 year career working as a Paralegal in law firms. Do you sense a theme here?

I thought this book was going to make me rich and famous. I liked to dream of being the female version John Grisham and that my book was not only going to be published but made into a hit movie (ie: The Firm). Oh, boy! Not only was I terribly misguided in my dreams but when I recently attempted to read this book to see if it was submission worthy with some fine tuning…I made myself sick. It stinks! I can’t even believe I ever thought it was good (sigh).

Nonetheless, I started out by researching how to get published by buying books on the topic. I tried to figure out this query letter thing and I started submitting them to agents in the Writer’s Market book. I soon began to receive rejection letter after rejection letter. Yes, folks, back then it was ALL done via real paper letters and good old snail mail. If you think it is a slow process now—you should have endured those weeks and months. No one was really taking electronic submissions back then. Needless to say, it was a long and gruesome process and yielded me many sad and frustrating moments.

As any newbie writer might do…I quickly lost faith in my work. What I didn’t know then was that I wasn’t really submitting a proper query to the right people and that I desperately needed work on my sales pitch!

Of course, I also needed major work on my book (I know this now) but at the time, I couldn’t even get an agent or editor to look at the work in the first place!

So, today I’m offering up the first prize in my “Journey to the Call” prize pack. In order to be eligible to win the prize pack, you must follow my 3 part blog post journey (every Monday for the next 3 weeks) here at the Book Boost Blog. You’ll gain entry to the prize pack drawing only if you post a comment or question each week during the week of the post.

The entire prize pack bundle is designed to help “pre-published” authors who are still seeking that elusive “call”. The first set of prizes to be added to the bundle are as follows:

  • A book entitled: How to Write Attention Grabbing Query & Cover Letters;
  • (1) free critique of your query letter; and
  • (1) free copy of my first published book entitled Miss Taken

Next week, I’ll continue sharing my journey and announce the second set of prizes to be added to the prize pack bundle.

In the meantime, share with me questions about query letters or tell us how your journey began! I look forward to hearing from you!


Denise said...

Great intro. I'm really interested since I just started to submit (after writing many years) and from my first rejection I can tell I have alot to learn. Thanks for any advice you can give a newbie. Denise

kerribookwriter said...

Hey Denise!

Thanks for stopping by! Hey, I personally own many properties in a town I like to call "Rejectionville". In fact, I could probably be you future landlord there.

Rejections are a brutal but necessary part of the process. They never ever get easier but sometimes they can lead you in a different direction that you might never have headed on your own.

I'll talk more about the change I made because of my rejections.

Boone Brux said...

Kerri, I'm so thrilled for you. The fact that Dorchester called about Courting Demons, doesn't surprise me a bit. You know I think it sound hilarious. I can't wait to purchase a copy. The journey to the call is always interesting. Each writer has such a different experience. Thanks for sharing your trip, and again, congrats!

kerribookwriter said...

Hey Boone!

You totally predicted it, didn't you? Are you sure you're not psychic? :-)

I still can't believe that it finally happened after all these years but I'm looking forward to enjoying it fully.

Now, I just need to find time to write more!

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Nice! Looking forward to the entire series of posts!!

Rejections are tough, but they sure spurred me on, that's for sure.

Thanks for the post. See you on the next one.

Tami Winbush said...

I'm still writing and haven't gotten to the query letter stage and I really think I need to make sure that I can get to that stage. Thanks for helping all us newbies out!

kerribookwriter said...

Hey Lynn,

Thanks for dropping by.

Rejections stink but I don't know any authors who haven't received them at some point.

It only takes one "YES" though!

kerribookwriter said...


It is my pleasure to help in any way that I can. I've had many other authors do it for me and if I can give even something small back to the writer is my honor to do so!

Hope you'll come back next week.

Unknown said...

Everyone has a different journey; I hope I get to tell mine one day! So far it's just revision after revision and query after query, a few glimmers of hope and lots of crossed appendages. Then more revisions.

I actually do a mix of snail-mailed queries and e-mailed queries--while e-mail can be faster, I seem to find myself pacing for weeks on end. It's all I can do to convince myself to move on to a side project or two just to keep from wearing a hole in the rug, until I'm calm enough to hit the revisions again.

Looking forward to hearing your tale of success! :)

Kathleen Bittner Roth said...

This was the book you had in the Dorchester Contest right? I remember you were about due with the baby and wrote that you hadn't made it to first place. You were so bummed and everyone (me included) wanted you to hang in there. You made it anyway! I am dying to hear how that part transpired...but that's probably part III, right? ;-)

Linda Andrews said...

Congratulations on the sale. I look forward to hearing about your journey to the call and laughed about the book in the freezing garage. Mine is hidden in the darkest part of the closet.

mpeters5 said...

Congratulations on your sale. I can't wait to learn about your journey.


kerribookwriter said...

Hey Sarah,

We've all been there. The waiting to do more waiting and then there's the waiting! LOL

The best advice I can give on that is to keep busy with new projects. There's only so much polishing and revision you can do on one project. Sometimes it works better to put it down and work on something new. Then you can come back and take a fresh look at it later.

Best of luck to you in your quest for success. You'll get there!

Thanks for stopping by!

kerribookwriter said...

Hey Kathleen!

How's my wonderful historical writer pal? I'm teaching my pitch class again this month (to the STAR chapter) and I have fond memories of our class. When I read students saying how they can't possibly condense 90K down to 3 sentences!

Thanks for coming out to support me! You are exactly correct...this is the same book that I had in the contest. More details on that in Part III but Part II is up today!


kerribookwriter said...

Hey Linda,

Some things are better left hidden away!

Glad I could give you a chuckle. Hope you'll check out Part II that is posted today.

My best,

kerribookwriter said...

Hey Monica,

Thanks for the congrats and well wishes. Glad you stopped by the blog.


Diane said...

Hi Kerri!!
I am very excited to hear about your journey, especially since I'm a citizen of "rejectionville."

I finished my manuscript in December and have been querying it while working on book 2 (sequel). Nothing is really flowing though because the rejections are making me question everything.

Hearing from you is helping me see the light.

Thank you!!

Ciara said...

Congrats on your first sale! I've completed my manuscript, garnered contest success, and am now on the painful journey of the Great Agent Hunt. It is always inspiring to read the success stories of authors who've been there.

Mellanie Szereto said...


Congratulations on the call! I started querying about six months ago and know what rejection looks like. I've made changes in my manuscript, my query, and my attitude. The most important thing is continue to write while you're waiting. I currently have a partial out to an agent. I'm hoping for a request for a full or representation. But in the meantime, I'm working on several other manuscripts and get lots of helpful feedback from my critique group.

Sarah Hoss said...

Congratulations on your success! I had always wanted to write children's books, but could never come up with a story. Then one day while I was in the car, the idea for my book popped in my head and I went with it. I have sent out some query letters and gotten rejected, so I understand how you feel! Thanks for posting!

Lexi said...

The most important thing is you learned from those newbie errors! Congrats again on "The Call"!

kerribookwriter said...


Glad to meet a neighbor of mine from Rejectionville. Don't worry we are always available to sell your property to someone else right when you get that first acceptance.

You are doing exactly the right thing by working on another book while submitting the first one. Don't just sit around and wait. Staying busy and productive is key to success.

Thanks for your comments!

kerribookwriter said...


It was wonderful to hear from you. Good luck on that agent search. Please keep us posted on how that goes for you.

Hope you'll become a regular here at the blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

kerribookwriter said...


Sounds like you are definitely on the right track with all the steps you are taking.

Critique groups can be great. If you can get just one really good critique partner...they can make all the difference. Tell them not to be afraid be tough on you. This is the time to hear constructive criticism to make your work better.

Best of luck in your journey,

kerribookwriter said...

Sarah H.~

Great to hear about your inspiration and goals. Hope you reach all the wonderful heights of success with your book.

Drop by and let us know what happens.

Thanks for your comments!

kerribookwriter said...


There's one of my Celtic sisters! Thanks for stopping by and giving me a shout out.

Biggest hugs,