My Publishing Timeline

For anyone who is interested -- particularly first-time or not-as-of-yet published authors -- here is the timeline for the writing, selling and publication of PRIMAL INSTINCT, my first book with Harlequin Intrigue in April 2014.  The links lead to posts in my blog if you're interested in further reading.

May 2012 - Sent a back cover blurb & 100-word snippet to the Harlequin Intrigue team as part of a pitch contest. Harlequin holds contests All. The. Time. to try to encourage unpublished writers to submit their work. Their biggest contest is the massive So You Think You Can Write spectacle every October/November (read about my hilarity with the 2012 contest here). But they have dozens of other, smaller but just as important, contests throughout the year. If you're not a part of the HarlequinWriter Forums, I strongly suggest you jump in there.

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)

December 2012 - Sent full manuscript to editor

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.