Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting Published: Expect the Unexpected

I enjoy hearing about other author’s publishing journey because everyone has such a different experience and/or path to getting published, especially now, with the industry changing so much. I have friends who have successfully made it down the agent and publishing house route, some with small press, and others self-published, and now the ever growing cadre of hybrid authors of which I now count myself a part of.

I had a very amazing occurrence in my publishing journey, which I thought it would be interesting to share because you just never know what to expect.

When I completed the manuscript for the Necromancer’s Seduction, after pitching and querying, I decided to submit to some small presses. With my non-writing day career and family to consider, the small press route seemed the best fit for the time being. One of my choices was Imajinn Books, a press that specialized in urban fantasy/paranormal romance and was publishing a series I was enjoying immensely. I submitted and to make a long story short, they offered me a contract for my necromancer trilogy. While I was elated, I was also kind of stressed at the prospect of deadlines! Fortunately, the founder of Imajinn, Linda Kichline, was a wonderful person to work with. Linda wrote for both Silhouette Books and Harlequin, started Imajinn to publish the type of paranormal books not being picked up by many of the larger publishers at the time, around 1999.

To our dismay, Linda passed away last September, leaving the Imajinn authors saddened and wondering what would happen to Imajinn. Linda was friends with Debra Dixon, founder of Belle Books, Belle Bridge Books. Debra announced, to my relief and excitement, Imajinn would become an imprint of Belle Books. While expanding the line, Imajinn would also preserve Linda's legacy. But, if that wasn’t enough great news, a few months later she announced that she'd hired Brenda Chin, previously of Harlequin, as the new Editorial Director of Imajinn.

To give perspective on this turn of events, I have to flip back a couple of years to the Desert Dreams Conference organized by my local RWA chapter, Desert Rose in 2012. I was just starting out on my journey. It’s where I went through the agony of pitching, that I mentioned earlier. My friend and I were hanging out at the hospitality suite and Brenda Chin walked in. I wasn’t pitching to her because my manuscript didn’t fit with the Harlequin Blaze line, but we decided to ask her about pitching. We gathered our nerves and approached her, and she sat down with us and chatted and it was fantastic. My first experience with an editor and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I remember thinking how I wished I had something to pitch to Brenda.

Flash forward. Me jumping up and down and squeeing after reading the announcement that Brenda Chin is my new editorial director. Who could have guessed!! And what a bizarre, tragic turn of events that led me to Belle Books. I could have blown off talking to Brenda. I’m so glad I didn’t. I learned first hand how this crazy author whirlwind is amazing, full of twists and turns and to expect the unexpected and keep yourself open to all the possibilities and chance encounters. You never know where the next opportunity will arise, or if the person you talk to in the hospitality suite will be your next editor!

Mimi Sebastian

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