Welcome, Annie Rains, to the blog! Annie is a past Pitch Wars alternate and a part of Lady Lioness’s #ThePride, and she’s here today to share her journey to success. So take it away, Annie …
It’s been a long road from start to finish! And, while today might be release day for my debut military romance WELCOME TO FOREVER, this isn’t the finish line. Far from it! I suspect there won’t be a finish line because I’ll never stop writing, never stop learning, or reaching for my next goal.
Brenda invited me to her blog today to talk about how I got to this road marker on my journey because I was an alternate in the 2013 Pitch Wars contest. I’d been writing for years before that, querying my heart out, and doing all the things that aspiring writers should do (and there’s a long list of shoulds, right?). Entering my manuscript in Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars contest was a pivotal turn for me, though. I’d been told that I had talent, but I was still getting rejections left and right. I desperately needed someone to tell me exactly what I was doing wrong. That’s what I got when Lady Lioness, one of the mentors participating in Brenda Drake’s 2013 Pitch Wars contest, selected me as an alternate—raw, uncensored honesty.
I won’t say brutal honesty because I’d developed a thick skin over my years of rejection forms and notes from agents and contest judges. Brutal was not knowing why I was getting these rejections and notes. As a mentor, Lady Lioness gave me advice on how to improve my manuscript. For the next several weeks, I worked through the night taking that advice and preparing my manuscript for open season in Pitch Wars, where submissions go on display for participating agents. I only got one request during the contest, but I latched onto that request, did one more polish, sent up a whole lot of prayers, and pushed SEND.
Then I waited.
Aspiring authors get very good at waiting. Secret: it doesn’t stop after you get an agent or your first publishing contract.
I waited on that submission for several months. It turns out my submission from Pitch Wars had somehow landed in that agent’s SPAM box (it happens!) Then I got interest from an agent I had submitted to BEFORE the Pitch Wars contest. With more finger crossing and prayers, I sent on my freshly polished manuscript, which led to me signing with my current agent, Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency!
Moral of this post: Take every opportunity and never give up! If you still have a submission out there, don’t shrug it off as a rejection. If an agent’s guidelines say to follow up, do it! You might have ended up in their SPAM box like I did. Or you might be next in line for that agent to consider.
It’s been a long road and I’m so excited to be here today, celebrating my debut release WELCOME TO FOREVER with you! I could not have gotten here without the help of so many, including Brenda and the wonderful mentors like Lady Lioness who assist with Brenda’s contests.
Here’s a little bit about my book:
In Seaside, North Carolina, there are two kinds of people: Marines, and kids of Marines. Then there’s Kat Chandler. Recently hired as the principal of Seaside Elementary, Kat makes it her mission to turn the school into a place of peace and calm. That’s not going to be easy with hard-liner parents like Micah Peterson storming in, telling her how to do her job—and then kissing her with those gorgeous lips of his and turning her brain into mush.
As a Marine Sergeant and a single dad, Micah Peterson has just two priorities: doing his job better than anyone else, and getting the absolute best for his son, Ben. But when he meets Ben’s beautiful new principal, a different yearning shifts into focus. He wants her, sure, but he’s also moved by the connection Kat forges with her students. So after learning that she refuses to date Marines, Micah sets two more objectives: convincing Kat to give him a chance . . . and then holding on to her forever.
Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors. Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA). Visit Annie’s website at www.annierains.com, and don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter to hear about upcoming news!