Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On Your Mark ... Get Set ... Wait by Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon
On your mark … get set … wait.

Sometimes that’s how the writing game works—at least for me. So often, I’ve thought I was ready to take a giant leap forward, only to get slapped back into the waiting mode—waiting for the right publisher, waiting for the right editor, waiting for the right agent, waiting for someone ... ANYONE … to notice I had a great book ready to dazzle the market. ☺ To illustrate with a story …

A number of years ago I was writing inspirational category romance. My publisher decided to launch a line of single-title trade-length books, and my editor suggested I consider writing one—on spec, of course. So in between my category commitments, I tackled that challenge. It took a while (funny how little things like a day job and family responsibilities can get in the way of an ambitious writing plan), but I finally finished the manuscript. And guess what? In the interim, my publisher decided single-title books weren’t its cup of tea after all and had just decided to discontinue the line.

That trade-length contemporary romance/women’s fiction book languished for several years—until I finally found an agent to shop it.

We didn’t get one offer.

So I did what most writers do when faced with a setback. After consoling myself with chocolate, I started a new trade-length project—a romantic suspense book. (Can you tell I was determined to break into the single-title world?) That book somehow morphed into a three-book series…all written on spec—again, in yet another leap of faith.

But this time it paid off. That series not only sold, but all three books went on to become bestsellers.

Fast forward four years. After multiple best-selling suspense book, NOW there was interest in that trade-length contemporary romance/women’s fiction novel I’d written years before. Good news, right? Yes…but with a caveat. Because when I pulled it out and read it again, I cringed. I couldn’t believe how much I’d grown as a writer. So I dived in and did some very heavy editing, making the story and characters much richer and deeper.

After multiple offers, I ended up selling the book to my suspense publisher. THAT CERTAIN SUMMER came out last year—and it, too, was a bestseller. My second book in the genre, ONE PERFECT SPRING, is now hitting shelves with a front cover endorsement from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber. And I just signed a contract to write more contemporary romance/women’s fiction, along with a new suspense series (my fourth).

The moral of this story? For all of you who’ve written a book that won’t sell—don’t be discouraged and don’t give up. If you’re exhausted every avenue and no one is interested, put it aside for now and move on to a new project. Doors may open down the road…when the time is right.

And if they do, be ready with your red pen in hand—because no matter how good you think the book is now, you’ll be a much better writer then…as long as you keep putting words on the page day after day, week after week.

As for THAT CERTAIN SUMMER—I’m glad my it didn’t sell years ago. Because, hard as it was to put that novel aside and play a waiting game, God’s timing ended up being best.

Click to Tweet
Funny how a day job & family can get in the way of a writing plan.
Keep putting words on the page, day after day, week after week.
As hard as it was to play a waiting game, God’s timing ended up being best.

About the Author
One Perfect Spring
by Irene Hannon
Irene Hannon, who writes both contemporary romance and romantic suspense, is the bestselling author of more than 45 novels. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA awards (the “Oscar” of romantic fiction), a Carol award, a Daphne du Maurier award, a National Readers’ Choice award, two HOLT Medallions, a Retailers Choice award and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and Booklist named one of her novels a “Top 10 Inspirational Fiction” title for 2011. A former corporate communications executive with a Fortune 500 company, Irene now writes full time. For more information, visit www.irenehannon.com.

One Perfect Spring
Independent single mom Claire Summers is doing her best to make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed her. Workaholic Keith Watson is interested only in the bottom line—until a letter from Claire’s eleven-year-old daughter reaches his desk and changes everything. As the executive assistant to a philanthropic businessman, Keith is used to fielding requests for donations. But the girl isn’t asking for money. She wants help finding the long-lost son of a neighbor. Keith tackles the annoying project in his usual results-oriented style—yet the results are anything but usual. For who could have guessed that a child’s kindhearted request would bring love and hope to so many lives…including his own?