Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Helloooooo! Tawny's Call Story

Whew! Sorry for the late post. It seems my spam filter ate my invite to this blog, and I couldn't post until late this afternoon. My apologies!

Anyway, my name is Tawny Taylor, and for those who don't know, I'm published by a few epublishers (Ellora's Cave, Cerridwen, Changeling Press, Samhain and Echelon Press) as well as Pocket and Kensington.

I thought I'd tell me "Call" story today, since so few people have read it. I don't remember having done an interview about my first sale, at least not a recent one, so hopefully this will be fresh reading for some of you.

First, why I started writing.
Before I had baby number three, I had been working as an outside sales rep/applications engineer for a fastener manufacturer. I liked my job, but it wasn't a practical career for a mother of a newborn infant. A major part of my job was traveling--often with little or no advance notice. My husband worked full time. We had other children as well. There was no way I could expect to continue working in that job. And yet, we needed the income.

Bottom line: I needed to find something I could do out of the house. Ideally something that didn't involve sitting on the phone for hours (a baby crying in the background was hardly professional). There were plenty of scam opportunities for working outside of the house, but very few real ones.

Then I heard about this thing called epublishing. Books being sold on the internet. Books like the ones I enjoyed reading.

I was intrigued.

I stumbled upon Warner Books' now defunct iPublish site, where wannabe authors could submit chapters for consideration. The posted excerpts would be simultaneously read and rated by visitors and read by editors. I posted my first chapter of my first (paranormal) book, crossed my fingers that everyone who read it would give it a perfect score, the editor would snap it up and publish it, and I'd be on my way to a new and profitable career in ebooks.

My first chapter was ripped apart. The editor completely ignored it. For good reason. It sucked.

I continued trying. I continued learning. And I continued posting. I also tried writing other genres, searching for my voice. Contemporary. Historical. My scores slowly improved. My writing slowly improved. And then Warner decided to shut down iPublish. They decided epublishing simply wasn't lucrative enough (at least that's my spin on their reasoning) to be worth the money spent.

Fast forward a few months. I'd joined a critique group with a handful of people I'd met on iPublish, and one of them mentioned a couple of epublishers: Echelon Press and Ellora's Cave. I submitted a contemporary romance to Echelon on Easter. And received an immediate response, that same day. With an offer. I'd sold my first book! My "call" was an email, but it was still one of the most thrilling moments of my life. I sold my second, Tempting Fate, to Ellora's Cave a few months later. And received my first New York "call" about two years after that.

I was one of the lucky ones. I sold my first book in less than ten years. But that doesn't mean I've cruised down the fast track to bestseller-dom. I still consider myself something of a newbie, particularly in the world of NY publishing. I've learned a lot, however, and hope that I can contribute some meaningful, helpful posts to this blog over the next several months, years, however long we keep it up and going.

Well, that's it for me this week. I welcome you to post questions, comments, suggestions for future posts, and/or your own "Call" story in the comments.

Thanks for reading!




Blogger Shelli Stevens said...

Very cool, Tawny! You're doing fabulous! I remember hearing some things about ipublish. Interesting stuff.

June 12, 2007 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Virginia said...

I don't think I could ever be a writer. I just wouldn't have the patients for it. You know having to wait up to 10 years or longer before you were published. I admire any author that has made it.

June 12, 2007 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Tawny Taylor said...

Thanks for commenting, Shelli and Virginia.

Shelli, iPublish was a brilliant idea. Yes, it had its flaws. Much like Amazon, people could easily manipulate the scoring system by signing in under false names and handing out low scores. But the idea of creating a community, posting excerpts and having the members critique them was brilliant. I was very upset to hear Warner was shutting it down. I'd love to see some other publisher open a similar site. It was popular.

June 13, 2007 at 4:14 AM  
Blogger Rhonda Stapleton said...

GREAT post! I love seeing how writers get "the call"...

June 13, 2007 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger Yolanda Sfetsos said...

Hi Tawny! Thanks for sharing your story.

My 'call' was also an email. And I'll never forget it. :D

June 13, 2007 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Karen Erickson said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Tawny. My first call was an email as well. In fact tomorrow it will be one year since I got it! Whoo hoo...


June 13, 2007 at 3:20 PM  

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