From these pitch-contests, editors usually ask for one of three things:
1) A "partial" -- 1-5 pages of writing and a full synopsis
2) A "proposal" -- the complete first three chapters and a full synopsis
3) A "full" -- the entire manuscript.
My editor requested the middle -- a proposal
June 2012 - Sent requested chapters and synopsis
October 2012 - Received request for full manuscript from editor (read about that request here)
April 26, 2013 - Received an email from the Intrigue editor. She liked my book and wanted to pass it up the chain to the Senior Editor. She asked if I had an agent (which I didn't) or if I had ever been published before (not really, just some academic stuff). I knew my manuscript being sent to the Senior Editor was a good sign, but also knew of writers who had gotten to that stage, but still had still been rejected.
June 18, 2013 - Received "The Call" from Harlequin -- they wanted to buy and publish my book in April 2014!
Mid-July 2013 - Asked to submit the "Art Fact Sheet" for my manuscript. A list of a billion questions (about characters, locales, seasons, etc.) from which they will develop the cover of my book. So if my hero looks like Fabio, I only have myself to blame.
August 1, 2013 - After much discussion back and forth, I was notified that the title of my Harlequin Intrigue book would change from See No Evil to Primal Instinct.
September 10, 2013 - Received copy edits – Whoa! Huge shock about how many errors I’d missed; made changes and returned on September 12, 2013.
September 12, 2013 - Since I agreed with most of the suggested copy edits, I received AA (author alteration) file almost immediately. The AA file would be my last chance to make any changes and the final time I would see the manuscript before its publication. I found (with the help of a dedicated proof-reading friend) about five errors and changed a few sentences that were bugging me. It was great to read the book one last time and still find that I really liked it. The AAs were due mid-October; I submitted them September 29, 2013.
October 1, 2013 - Sent requested book dedication and "cast of characters" (something unique to Harlequin Intrigue).
October 13, 2013 - Accidentally found myself as an author and Primal Instinct on Amazon for the very first time. A surreal and thrilling experience.
November 4, 2013 - Got "The Call" for the second time. Harlequin Intrigue had bought my four-book series (releasing in early 2015)
December 12, 2013 - Received my cover art for PRIMAL INSTINCT. I absolutely loved it!
February 5, 2014 - Held my book in my hand for the first time. I moment I will never forget.
February 19, 2014 - PRIMAL INSTINCT gets it first formal review from Romantic Times. It was named a Top Pick! 4 1/2 stars.
March 22, 2014 - Primal Instinct hits the shelves. And I discover the time-sucking abyss known as Amazon Author Central where I can track my sales hourly progress.
April 3, 2014 - Local Primal Instinct release party (thrown for me by my family). Such a fun time!
April 23, 2014 - Primal Instinct is gone from the shelves. Such is the nature of category romance. A list of things I learned in the process.