Thursday, December 21, 2006

How I Survived Demon Island

People often ask how an author makes a sale.

Mine was…interesting, to say the least.

Back in the summer of 2005, I had recently signed with the fabulous Deidre Knight. She had shopped a proposal for me, but I was working on another. This one, a paranormal action adventure idea I had about this actress who finds herself on a reality show that isn’t quite what she thinks it is. Deidre really liked the concept when I told her about it, so I set to work on the proposal.

Well, I hated it. And frankly, I was ready to toss it in the garbage. Something about it just didn’t click with me. So when I met with Deidre at RWA that July, I told her that I thought my proposal for Surviving Demon Island was ‘crap’. Yes, I referred to my proposal as ‘crap’ (I know Deidre remembers this conversation. Me, wide eyed and panicked at the thought of handing over this proposal and having my agent think I was a no-talent loser.)

Deidre, in her calm, smiling, patient manner, patted me on the head and said, “Hand it over and let me see it.” I shook my head vehemently, gave her a deer-in-the-headlights look, and said, “I can’t. It’s crap.” She rolled her eyes and promised to tell me if she hated it. So I relented, and upon returning home after RWA, I finished up the proposal, let some of my professional friends read it, who assured me it wasn’t crap (they’re my friends –of course they’d say that, right?), and I sent it off to Deidre.

She loved the proposal. I mean she really loved it. She called it fresh and exciting and high concept. And then she promptly pitched it to…everyone.

Ack. Ack. Ack. The ‘crap’ proposal was out there. Deidre was obviously suffering convention exhaustion. How could she send that thing out to New York?

But then something amazing happened. We got an offer. And then another house was interested in bidding on the book. And then another. Surviving Demon Island was going to auction.

Um…hello. Were all these editors suffering convention exhaustion too? Maybe it was the flu…or some mind-altering virus.

Four days after Deidre shopped the proposal, we accepted an offer from Bantam Dell. Surviving Demon Island had a home, thus proving that I know absolutely nothing about this business, and my agent is brilliant.

My book was not crap. I had clearly been delusional. And now I had to write the book. So began a journey that would last sixteen months, from proposal to writing to editing to the release of this book, which will occur December 26th. And somewhere along this journey I fell madly in love with this story. I poured my heart and soul into this book and now it’s release time. The day after Christmas I’ll be haunting the bookstores, taking pictures of it sitting there on the shelves. Then I’ll finally relax. Okay, maybe I’ll relax.

It’s a fun Christmas present for me, and one I’m truly celebrating.

And I owe a huge thank you to Deidre, who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I don’t know what I’d do without her, but I wouldn’t be here right now if not for her faith in me.

Oh, and the book isn’t crap. It’s damn good. Surviving Demon Island is fun, adventurous, exciting, sexy, and I’m so proud of it. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. It’s really amazing how our minds can trick us at times, and how writers are their own worst enemies. Why is it that we have the hardest time believing in ourselves when we need to the most?

Surviving Demon Island will be on sale everywhere, and you can check out the blurb and excerpt HERE at my website, order it online or pick it up while you’re returning Christmas gifts you don’t want. hehehe

And my advice? Believe in yourself and in your work. It’ll save you lots of antacids in the long run *g*

Happy Holidays everyone!



Blogger Angela James said...

It was NEVER crap, doofus. And you're right, it's a fabulous book now. You have every reason to be proud.

But look, we did get our infamous catchphrase "it's not crap" out of all of it ;)

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 9:38:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Jaci Burton said...

See how my friends love and support me? *g*

And yes, we do use that phrase to describe good work-in-progress now. heh.

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 9:41:00 AM EST  
Blogger Shannon McKelden said...

Mine's on order! Yay! I can't wait to read this book, Jaci! And, you're right, Deidre is the BEST at knowing when something isn't crap. :-)

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 9:49:00 AM EST  
Blogger Rhonda Stapleton said...

Holy cow, this post came at a really good time for me. I was sitting here chewing away on my stomach with all the self-doubt about my current manuscript when I clicked on your post. Thanks so much - it really helped! :D

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 10:04:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Jaci Burton said...

Thank you Shannon! And yes, Deidre has some amazing insight, doesn't she? :-D

Rhonda - It took me a long time to come to the realization that I think everything I write is crap. Until it's finished and polished and the story is a 'whole', it's pure junk to me. Nora Roberts wrote a beautiful article in the RWA magazine about this very thing a few months back, and she feels the same way about her work at first. I figure if Nora thinks her drafts are a POS, then I'm in damn good company ;-). Hang in there!

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 11:07:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...


Great post. I think so many of us often feel the same way *while* we're writing. It's crap, crap, crap!! Glad it worked out so well for you.


Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 1:30:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Kay Lockner said...

Jaci - I heard you were over here today and came by to send happy release vibes your way. I love this post. I can't imagine you writing anything remotely resembling crap, but I'm delighted it's turned out to be your favorite book yet. Looking forward to the holiday read!

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 5:54:00 PM EST  
Blogger Marley Gibson said...

I think we've all been there with the "this sucks" factor, but your book is certainly not that. Can't wait to get my hands on it. Huge CONGRATS to you and Deidre!

= )

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 8:31:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Jaci Burton said...

Thank you Cindy. Always good to know I'm not alone in that boat ;-)

Kay - So nice of you to stop by! Great to hear from you!

Mahhhhhley - thank you darlin. Soon enough it'll be your turn and I'll be cheering for you! :-)

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 9:48:00 PM EST  
Blogger Bernita said...

"Good tidings to all" and a blessed Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006 at 8:16:00 AM EST  
Blogger Charlene Teglia said...

Good advice, and yet I keep the antacids handy. *g* Congratulations, Jaci! I've read excerpts, I know it isn't crap. I cannot wait to read Surviving Demon Island!

Saturday, December 23, 2006 at 8:11:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if, since I like mine, agents are sure to hate it. Of course my wife likes it; she has delusions that it will somehow lead to riding in the queen's carriage into Buckingham Palace, but the agents that blog seem to be on the lookout for non-traditional writing these days. Oh well. Maybe I'll write something I don't like next time and see if it takes off.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 10:01:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Jaci Burton said...


lol. I don't think it works that way. If you love it, that's a great thing. I've also loved some things I wrote that have done very well, so don't think you have to hate your work for it to be noticed or accepted. I like the Buckingham Palace idea...your wife has much faith in you. Isn't that wonderful? :-)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 8:20:00 AM EST  

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