Welcome to Fortifying Friday—the day we focus on encouraging writers in their journeys to publication and feature guest authors who share their own success stories. If you’re discouraged by hearing that the genre you want to write just won’t sell, you’ll be particularly interested in Laurie Alice Eakes’ personal story.
Enjoy! ~ Dawn
We Can’t Sell That
by Laurie Alice Eakes
That is a brief paraphrase of my first rejection from a Christian publishing house. Discouragement followed, not because I am a wimp who can’t take rejection, but because I so wanted to write historical romantic suspense set in the English Regency era and this looked like a negative referendum on my dream.
Crazy dream? In 2004, absolutely. The Christian market wanted books set in the United States and preferably the Mid West or true West states. Without a track record, a dishearteningly few authors were selling outside those locations. So I was probably silly to waste my time writing such a book, let alone wasting my agent’s time with it.
Yet I’d attracted my agent with my interest in the time and place. I guess she likes my writing, too, and we held a common interest in the Regency era.
Mind you, I’m not talking Jane Austen. I’m talking Georgette Heyer, Patricia Veryan, Clare Darcy, and other twentieth century greats of the subgenre of historical romance. They were my literary favorites since I was a teen, the authors whose works inspired me to write. So this sales committee hadn’t dissed only my efforts; they had dissed my favorite writers, too.
In response, keeping my courage up, I wrote a contemporary romance with suspense elements. It was what was selling.
The less said about that rejection the better. I’d obviously misunderstood my calling to be an author.
Then my agent suggested I write a Regency for Avalon, secular, but clean. So I did—and sold it. It won the National Readers Choice Award, and I managed to sell a few Americana titles to Barbour’s Heartsong Presents line and another book to Avalon.
Heart pounding, I took another chance and proposed a historical romantic suspense story with an English hero, a man who might have been a Regency hero in another setting other than Virginia in 1809 (Yes, I know that technically the Regency is 1811-1820, and publishing stretches out that era). It sold in a mere handful of weeks, and the publisher wanted more from me.
They wanted a Regency series from me. I wrote up a proposal, submitted it, and sold The Daughters of Bainbridge House series to Baker/Revell. A Necessary Deception has just been released, my first inspirational Regency.
Now that dream to sell historical romantic suspense has come true many-fold times—two set in Virginia, the high seas, England, Guernsey, and France, and a three-book Regency series. I’ve sold Barbour a couple of novellas in my other favorite era—the colonial period.
The lesson here is so simple it’s cliché and trite: Don’t give up on writing what you want to write. You may need to compromise a tiny bit to pay your dues in the publishing business and earn a track record, and my experience is not unique. It’s the tale of perseverance and believing that, if you are called to reach an audience in a specific way, then God will make it happen. We get told this again and again and not believing it is discouraging; however, many of us are living proof of dreams coming true.
Award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes wanted to be a writer since knowing what one was. Her first book won the National Readers Choice Award in 2007, and her third book was a Carol Award finalist in 2010. Between December of 2008 and January of 2010, she sold thirteen books to Barbour Publishing, Avalon Books, and Baker/Revell, making her total sales fifteen. Recently, she added two novella sales to that collection, as well as having her first book with Baker/Revell, Lady in the Mist, picked up by Crossings Book Club, and six of her books chosen for large print editions by Thorndike Press. She has been a public speaker for as long as she can remember; thus, only suffers enough stage fright to keep her sharp. In 2002, while in graduate school for writing fiction, she began to teach fiction in person and online. She lives in Texas with her husband, two dogs, and probably too many cats.
To learn more about Laurie and her books,
please visit http://www.lauriealiceeakes.com