From Twitter pitch to two-book deal: How I became a Carina Press author

So, it’s official: I am a Carina Press author!

Contract

Now I’ve signed on the dotted line and finalised my first manuscript for publication, I want to share the story of how my manuscript was acquired by Carina Press.

My story begins on April 4th 2013. I had just returned home at half-nine in the morning after a long night shift. As I got into bed, I decided to check Twitter one last time. On my timeline, I saw folk promoting #carinapitch – an opportunity to pitch to a digital-first imprint of Harlequin via Twitter, with editors favouriting your Tweet as a request to read the manuscript. (If you’ve participated in #PitchMAS or something similar, you’ll be aware of the format).

Sounds good, I thought. An opportunity to hone my pitching skills. So I crafted my Twitter pitch and scheduled it for while I was sleeping.

When I woke up at 6pm, I discovered that Deb Nemeth, one of Carina Press’ freelance editors, had favourited my Tweet!

Which was very exciting. Until it dawned on me that I hadn’t actually read my manuscript in six months and I should probably do a “polishing” edit before submitting it that weekend.

Thankfully, the night shift was a quiet one and I spent hours editing on my netbook. It was about midnight when I had a horrified realisation: I hadn’t completed my last edit. The manuscript was halfway through a massive timeline overhaul which I had completely forgotten about while I wandered off to write something else. Frantically, I tried to patch it together as best I could before sending it to Deb.

Then there was the waiting. (It turns out there is a lot of waiting.)

Twitter is both a blessing and curse when you’re on submission. Every time an editor (or agent) talks about a manuscript, you think it’s yours. Sometimes you hope it is and other times you cringe in despair. Is my character description generic? Did I include too many adverbs? Or is mine the debut manuscript they just couldn’t put down?

It was May 23rd when Angela James, Carina’s Editorial Director e-mailed me. I read all my other e-mail first, like saving the best part of a roast dinner until the end (stuffing and Yorkshire, obviously), and then I dared to open it.

She liked my novel! Carina liked my novel! They wanted to publish it! Oh, and THEY WANTED ANOTHER!

It took a while to iron out the details but I received my signed contract today. I also finished my copyedits with Deb, but that is a story for another blog.

My mystery novel (which is undergoing retitling) will be published by Carina Press on May 5th 2014.

Now I should get back to writing that second one…

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