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,


Susan said...

Your journey to published was very interesting! I love that your "mantra" wasn't just led you to deeds. To win a contest you have to enter. To publish you have to submit.

Simple, but oh, so important!

Carla Capshaw said...

Great story, Angi. I'm so happy for you and your first sale. Huge congrats!

Paula said...

Angi, your journey is so much like mine it's freaky. I'd been writing for almost 13 years before I sold. I had already had the book I finally sold rejected, and like you, it was my 2004 Golden Heart finalist book. My book was requested through a contest win (not the Daphne, however), and it was a book that a writing friend (author Kristen Robinette) prodded me to dust off and rework. And, like you, I sold my first book to Harlequin Intrigue.

I'm thrilled for another 2004 GH finalist to sell (it was a great crop of writers that year, if you ask me), and I'm doubly thrilled that you've sold to Intrigue. Congratulations for the hard work and success.

I think it's a real testament to sheer, cussed perseverence, which is a lot more important to a writer than some of us like to think.

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Hi Angi - saw this on Pasic and had to stop by with a show of support. Way to go --- on keeping your spirits up and your Muse singing.

Writing is a strange business, for sure. Highs and lows all over the place. But I also have found that persistence is the key. I mean, we all hear that phrase, but it's hard to hang in at times.

Now look. You're a published writer, and things are rolling toward bliss. HA! So - keep up the good news. And inspire others.

Happy Holidays -

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Jen FitzGerald said...

Hey, Angi!

Way to go, girl.

You know I'm thrilled for you.


Carol Ericson said...

Angi, congrats on your sale. We're thrilled to have you join us at Harlequin Intrigue. I also made my first sale through a contest win!

Tracy A. Ward said...

Awesome story Angi. It's all about perseverance (and chanting)! Thanks for inspiring me. I have one I can't seem to give up on either :-).

Lori Wilde said...

Congratulations on your success, Angi, well deserved.


marymccall said...

Congrats and kudos on your first book sale, Angi! It's well deserved, and I look forward to reading your work sometime soon.

Winnie Griggs said...

Great post Angi and congrats again on that sale!

Nicole North said...

Very inspiring, informative post, Angi!! Congratulations on your success! You deserve it!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I am so glad you shared your journey, Angi, because it is definitely encouraging and shows that one should never give up on their dreams. Proud of you and all that you've accomplished. Best of luck with all kinds of sales.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Congrats on your first sale and for keeping such a positive outlook! :) Now I'm off to chant and visualize a sale...

Eliza Knight said...

I love your story Angi! Thanks for sharing and CONGRATS!!

I think I'll adopt your mantra. 2010 is my year. I will sell to an NY pub in 2010. I WILL!!! I think its working I feel better already :)

Can't wait to read your book, when does it release??

Angela said...

Thanks for all the congrats everyone.

Angela said...

Susan --
Absolutely. Learning your craft/business is the easy part. Learning how to be positive after rejections (wow isn't it hard?) and learning how to pull yourself up and continue... You just have to force yourself some days to put yourself out there again.

Angela said...

Paula --
That really is freaky how paralleled our sales have been. I have to admit that the timing in 2004 wasn't right for me. But 2009 was...and is my time.
Can't wait to get more of the Cooper series from Intrigue by one of my favorite GoldFours!

Angela said...

"Now look. You're a published writer, and things are rolling toward bliss. HA! So - keep up the good news. And inspire others."

I hope to inspire the people who have given me so much support over the last (gulp) ten years. Thank you for supporting me today !!

Angela said...

Roni & Eliza --
Keep Chanting !!
And when you hear that voice pulling you back to unpublished reality...chant some more and find more friends to shout it louder.
Positive Attitudes !!

My Intrigue will be released in September 2010. I had a January 15th due date, but have already mailed the book to New York. YAY ! One less thing to "chant" about. LOL


Kate Champagne said...

Excellent advice. I will be submitting my first manuscripts in the next year. 1 YA, and three series category...

Lisa said...

Great story Angi! You're an inspiration.

Cynthia said...

Congratulations on your sale, Angi! I have a question. How did you find your agent? You commented that he/she was a final round judge for a contest, and one of your favorites. How did you decide he/she was the agent you wanted to target?

Amy Atwell said...

Great story, Angi--I know you've been on the road to this destination for a long time. This might be a future blog, but do you have any tips on how to deal with that "you're really close" feeling? Contest wins, requests, but no sales--after a year or two that can become disheartening. How did you know to keep working on THIS book and keep submitting it?

Kym said...

Congratulations Angi-

How many times did you rewrite See Jane Run and how mnay critique partners did you use?

Kym Roberts

Angela said...

Hey Cindy --
How did I find my agent? Fortunately for me, I had an agent early in my career. A lot of rejections later and several life-stalling events for me, had us mutally parting ways. But having that agent taught me to listen to my friends. "My agent...this." "My agent...that."

As a result, I heard lots of good things about my current agent. I met her at a workshop at RWA's national conference. I ran into her a couple of times more. And I liked her. More importantly, I liked what a couple of her clients were saying about the agency.

One thing I know about myself...I'm a paranoid writer. Petrified that I'm not good enough and I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for someone to comment --good or bad-- I don't care. I just need confirmation. ~~I didn't get that from my first agent. I needed someone more hands on. Ready to tell me if I was going in the right direction.

THAT's what I heard about my current agency and why it was at the top of my list.


Tawny said...

YAY Angi :-) I'm so excited to read your journey and to celebrate your first sale!!! Congratulations.

Angela said...

Hi Amy !!
"Contest wins, requests, but no sales--after a year or two that can become disheartening."

This is an unfair question from my critique partner because she knows the truth. LOL

You dig in and find out who your friends are. THEY keep you going. As much as I want to say that you won't get down in the dumps...let's face it, I've been seriously writing for ten years. There were several times when I was rejected (two years in a row on the same day--I hate July 2nd) that I really wondered if I was cut out for this business.

But then I had to remember that it IS a business. All I could do was write. And write. And write. And sometimes I didn't write (my friends know how often they had to kick my butt into the chair).

But I have to also add that the "focus on me" this past year made a difference for ME. For the first time in several years I was a bit selfish with my time. I didn't volunteer as much. I made myself WORK. I knew this was the right time and KNEW I had to move forward.

And you're right, Amy. I want to write more about this in a separate blog. There are so many of my friends sitting on the edge of selling. I hope EVERYONE gets there soon.


Angela said...

"How many times did you rewrite See Jane Run and how mnay critique partners did you use?"

Let's see... Thanks have to go to: Devona, Linda, Tammy, Jill, Kassia, Cheryl, Sarah, Mary, Amy, and YOU ! (And I can't forget my daughters and hubby.)

I originally wrote SEE JANE RUN in 2003. Inspired by a writing exercise I was working on, saving our spot at a fireworks show while my husband and daughter went for drinks. It sounds like an entire team helped me write it. Honestly, I like opinions. (HERE'S ANOTHER BLOG.) I'll discuss how the different opinions of my CPs and contest judges influenced me over the years.

I wrote SJR in 2003.
*It was rejected by Harlequin.
*Revised in 2004 for single title.
*Never quite right for that market.
*Kept on the shelf.
*Entered in an occasional contest.
*And this year, totally rewrote the character motivation in the entire book. Fairly substantial rewrite.

Remember to check back for that blog on Opinions vs. Going With Your Gut.


Beth said...

Loved reading about your journey to your first sale! Congrats!!

C.L. Wilson said...

Congratulations Angi!!! I'm so happy for you, and I love your story about 2009 being your winning year. Attitude and faith in yourself is soooo important!!!

Diana Cosby said...

Congratulations on your sale! I SO believe in visualization of achieving your dream. It seems our belief in self is tested when we're the closest to the door of achievement. Way to go for persevering, for setting goals and fighting for your dream. May your 2010 be your best yet!
Diana Cosby
Romance Edged With Danger

Angela said...

Thanks everyone for making my first-ever blog day a great experience!

I'll be hanging around, so if there are any additional questions you'll here back from me.


Kara Lennox said...

Angi, so inspired by your story. I like how you tried different strategies, and if something didn't work, you tried something else but you didn't give up.

Major congratulations on your success!

Kara Lennox

Darah Lace said...

I'm so proud of you, Ang! Congratulations on your sale and here's to many more!


Pat McDermott said...

Angi, thanks for sharing your inspiring tale and for the reminder that one of the keys to getting publishes is perseverence. Congrats on the sale, and good luck with your writing!

Anna Sugden said...

Congratulations, Angi! I'm so pleased and proud! You're an inspiration to us all.

Nancy said...

Angi, I'm borrowing your mantra for 2010 and your terrific attitude :-)


Janice Lynn said...

Congrats, Angi! Here's hoping for many, many more moments to celebrate!!

Janice Lynn

Nikki Duncan said...

Sorry I'm late, Angi, but great post. :)

Mary Marvella said...

I was on the run yesterday but I'm so excited for you! I missed working with you at RWA National as I missed coming to the Texas conferences this year. You rock!

Angela said...

I'm still here... waving from cyberspace !

Thanks once more to all my friends stopping by. Big hugs and best of luck to all of you in 2010!

I'm hanging around to answer anything else that might pop up.


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