Angi Morgan: Week One: The Journey to SOLD!

Hello everyone and thank you for having me as a guest. A special thank you to Lateia for the warm welcome. Feel free to ask me questions, especially if I use an abbreviation that you may not know.

Although I’ve been writing a long time (with a few breaks), the journey to SOLD this year was rather fast. Or it seems fast. A couple of things changed in my writing life to help me.

FIRST: my kids have left home. I was a volunteer for 21 years all the way through graduation. I still help with the local girls fastpitch organization (believe it or not I’m an umpire). And I have the support of my husband to write as much as possible.

SECOND: See Jane Run won a contest in late 2008 and received an editor request for the full. At that time, the full manuscript had already been rejected by Harlequin. So why submit it again. Right?

THIRD: I attended a chapter retreat last November and RITA nominee author Candace Havens yelled at me. Okay, she didn’t raise her voice, but she picked on me all weekend. She finally got me alone and said, “I’ve read your work. Just write the damn book.”

FOURTH: I accepted the position of president of my writing chapter NTRWA ( And with that responsibility I had to write a column for the newsletter. Ugh. I wanted to be original but not ramble. I came up with the idea to document my journey to publication: What had I done that month to keep my writing on track.

I have to admit that See Jane Run is one of my favorite stories. I hated to see it die a quick death in 2004. A week before I received notification that I was an RWA Golden Heart finalist, I had received the second (and final) rejection.

So in January I set my goal to concentrate on revising See Jane Run. (Remember that request?) I analyzed the story with friends and made some major changes. (That’s another blog.) But most importantly, I visualized the sale. (Hokey, right?) Well, not so much. You see, that’s the FIFTH thing I changed about me. I refused to stop until an editor told me “no.” Every time that little devil voice shouted in my ear that I was going to fail, I told it to scram. I began telling people that 2009 was my year. I would sell. (I knew that selling was out of my hands. It’s a business. But my mantra was: “I will sell.”)

And in order to sell, you have to submit to editors (and agents). I made a decision to enter contests targeting final round editors where See Jane Run might fit. One contest had both the agent AND editor who were at the top of my favorites list.

There was one tiny problem. The best contest for my story: The Daphne du Maurier (sponsored by the RWA Kiss of Death chapter) also happened to be the one contest that had eluded me for nine years. No matter what I entered, I couldn’t final. But remember, 2009 was my year.

I entered in March. Fretted--I mean chanted my mantra--in April. Finaled in May. Chanted more in June. Won in July. Revised in August. Submitted in September. Signed with an agent in October. Sold in November. Mailed the final version of the book in December. Whew...

And here we are.

Some upcoming topics of discussion:
---An On-Going Behind the Scene Look at Getting Ready for Publication
(revisions, promotion, copy-edits, AA’s, character sheets, log-lines, bios, etc.)
---Contests & Critiques: The Good & Bad comments
---How I Chose My “Dream” Agent & Editor
---Targeting Your Book & Choosing Your Market

Til next time,

In Which A Very Important Character is Introduced

Carrie and I have been pouring over the annual SCWW survey. For my part, I read every suggestion on how to improve the blog and saw a common theme. Many of you said you'd like more voices and different perspectives on publishing.

Boy, do I have a treat for you!

Allow me to introduce Angi Morgan.

Like many members of SCWW, she's been trying to get published for a long time. On November 12, her dream came true. She sold SEE JANE RUN, a romantic suspense novel, to Harlequin Intrigue. Yea, Angi! The book will be on shelves in September 2010.

Over the next year, Angi will be stopping by to blog on her publishing journey. She's promised to cover all sorts of things:  how she snagged an agent, what it's like after the CALL, how she revised, reworked and edited her way into the published column. Her first installment will be posted Thursday, December 17.

She will be hanging out after her posts to chat, answer questions and respond to your comments. There are a few ground rules. Please don't ask Angi any of the following questions:
1. Who is your agent?
2. How much money did Harlequin pay you?
3. Will you read and critique my manuscript?
4. Will you recommend me to your publisher/agent/editor?
If you ask any of these, your question will be deleted. Angi is here to help us learn and better our craft, not as an envoy.

Here's her bio:
According to her mother, Angi Morgan began creating stories and characters when she was two years old. Drawing blobs of colors on a page, she proceeded to tell anyone within earshot about monsters or fairies or whatever a two-year-old could think up.

Her dream of being a paid author will come true in September 2010 when Harlequin® publishes her first Intrigue®. The sale is so recent, the editors haven’t assigned a new title yet. Known to the contest circuit as SEE JANE RUN, this award-winning manuscript sold on November 12th as a direct result of getting onto the right editor’s desk at the right time.

Angi is the winner of several contests and a multi-contest finalist, including the RWA® Golden Heart®. Her last unpublished contest win was the Kiss of Death’s Daphne du Maurier which placed her in front of her first choice agent and editor.

Angi is a former national Romance Writers of America® officer and has served on both her local chapter boards (Dallas Area Romance Writers and North Texas RWA). She is finishing her last weeks as the President of North Texas RWA but will continue as their 2010 contest chair of the Great Expectations Contest as she plots and writes her next Intrigue®.

Visit her website at or become a fan: Facebook: AngiMorgan

Stop by her Facebook page and say hello. Please join me in welcoming her to the SCWW family. Be sure to stop by on Thursday for her first post!

Tickets, Please! Life of Riley of Heartbreak Hotel?

Publishing is like a maze. It's hard to tell, from the starting block, where you might end up down the road. It's important that you take the time to get the lay of the land before you jump in with both feet and end up at a dead end.

Most of us write with the goal of being published by a large traditional publisher that has good distribution. While this is an admirable goal, it's important to realize it usually takes several steps to land a big publisher. The vast majority of large publishers DO NOT accept unagented, unsolicited manuscripts. While you can still choose to send one, it will likely be thrown out with the lunch wrappers and empty coffee cups. The big houses simply don't have time to read these manuscripts. Sure, you hear stories from time to time about how a bestseller came from the slushpile at a big house. You hear these stories for one reason:  They're a RARITY. It's like winning the lottery. Are you more likely to achieve financial security by taking advantage of business opportunities, learning to save and invest wisely, and sticking to a budget or by playing the lottery?

You'll often hear authors say landing an agent was as tough or tougher than landing a publisher. While this may be true, it's still important, if you want to write for the big boys, to get an agent. Not only so that the agent can get your manuscripts into the right hands, but also so that you have someone on your team when it comes to other business matters like selling foreign rights or audio rights.

Here's the plain truth: If you cannot, after targeted querying, get an agent, don't take that to mean you need to skip the step entirely and begin submitting to large publishers.

Instead, consider WHY you're having trouble landing an agent. Be honest with yourself about your writing and packaging. Try to figure out if your manuscript is marketable. Listen and catalog any advice you get from the querying process and THEN consider your next move.

It's possible that your book is right for a big house, but without the help of an agent, it might never make it to the right editor's desk. If you've written the NEXT BEST THING, it will land you an agent and it will land you a deal. But you still have to do things correctly and professionally.

DISCLAIMER:  Not all books require agents. If you're submitting to a small house, you may not need one. But if you're thinking Random House or HarperCollins, you need to get an agent.