Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Whole New Meaning to "Break a Leg"

It's "The Call" week here at Books, Boys and Buzz! We've had some questions asking us to share our stories, so I'm happy to follow Tina's heartwarming story of how she made her sale.

So...here's what happened to me...

First, I have to give some back story. I came verrrrrrrrry close to selling one of my romances, but, alas, the line decided to "change focus" and I got the dreaded "R." On January 13th. Friday the 13th. Yeah...a dark day. My boss was traveling, so I went into his office and cried off every stitch of makeup.

But TWELVE days later, my brilliant agent sent me an e-mail saying a publisher contacted her, looking for an author to write a sorority sister series for them and ... was I interested?


Two weeks later, I turned in a proposal for three books with three heroines from different backgrounds all going through sorority Rush at the same southern university. After five years of writing, eleven full manuscripts and two partials...I just *felt* that I had the most amazing chance this time.

We waited. But not for long. We got good feedback. It went up the chain. We were told to be patient. Then...it happened.

No, not the call. The incident.

I'm coming out of the Arlington Street MBTA train station here in Boston on the morning of March 2, 2006. Mr. B@stard Fellow Commuter is on some important phone conversation and can't wait for me to get up the steps in front of him, so he brushes past me and knocks me up the stairs. I fell forward onto my knees and oh boy brother, did it hurt! I had just had my boots polished and all I could think was, "I'm scuffing my boot!" The pain became unbearable. As I'm laying there on the steps, this woman goes, "Are you all right?" I said, "No, I don't think I am." Then I looked up ... and she was gone! So, I hobbled to the top and doubled-over again, at which point, Crazy Willie who hangs out at the T stations panhandles me! I said to him, "I'm just in a little bit of pain here."

Well, suffice it to say, I made it the block to my office, called my hubby who came and got me and took me to the hospital and yes, my poor little foot was broken. See for yourself...


When I got home, depressed and downtrodden (literally!), I e-mailed my agent and told her what had happened. She immediate shot back, "It's a sign! It's a sign that your books are going to sell!"

Eleven days later, I'm sitting at my desk at work finishing booking a flight for my boss when my cell phone rang out Ray J’s “One Wish” (my ring tone.) I immediately saw “404” area code and knew it was my agent. I started to jump up and down, but had to remember my foot was broken and calm down and listen. There was a lot of screaming and congratulating and something about a FOUR-book deal, I don't remember the specifics.

A vice president from another division walked by and asked my co-worker Kathy if I was okay and she said, "Yeah, she's getting good news." Oh, the best!

I called my husband, Mike, of course. Then I called my parents. Then I called my “vault," including Diana Peterfreund, Jessica Andersen, Charlene Glatkowski, Pam Claughton and Wendy Toliver. That night, Mike and I had champagne...and did for the three nights following for a total of four bottles, one for each book!

I couldn't believe it...I was going to be an author with Puffin Books! The same house as Judy Blume...and Pooh Bear!

So, there you have it...my story. Had I know, I would have broken my foot years ago. LOL! If anything, I'm a symbol of perserverance, tenacity and never, ever giving up, even when you think you're at your worst. Always believe in yourself.

Marley = )
Sorority Rush Begins - Spring 2008!
Puffin Books


Dona Sarkar-Mishra said...

Man, Marley that foot looked BAD! Jerks on a train! But wow, I can't even imagine how you felt while waiting for the call after so many LONG HARD YEARS.

I still remember when you were writing the Vanessa Virtue novel, when you were trying to sell the multiple POV with Jay Poynor...god, what you went through.

But you scored big, girl...those long waits always pay off into something big.

Can't wait till the sorority rush books begins!

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty scary looking foot. I hope it healed alright.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and congrats on the book deals. Kickin - four books.

Marley Gibson said...

Took the foot nine months to heal. I didn't get to wear all of my cute summer sandals, but that was okay. I'll take the book deals. LOL!!

Jessica Andersen said...

And let me tell you- when that call went out to the vault, there was much screaming and shedding of happy tears. Not to mention that we can't *wait* for the Rush to begin next year!

When I got The Call, I stupidly assumed the editor was calling to say her dog had yacked on the manuscript or something (I'd only sent it a couple of weeks earlier, unagented, so couldn't imagine she'd read the thing yet).

Thus, when she introduced herself I said, "Do you need me to send you another copy?"

There was a long pause before she said, "Um. . . no, I'd like to buy it." Another long pause while I made odd gurgling noises. "Would you like me to call you back in a few minutes once you've pulled yourself together?"

Marley Gibson said...

There was a long pause before she said, "Um. . . no, I'd like to buy it." Another long pause while I made odd gurgling noises. "Would you like me to call you back in a few minutes once you've pulled yourself together?"

OMG, Jess!! I don't think I've ever heard that version. That is hilarious! Love it. The things we crazy authors think and do.

Jess' like kazillionth Intrigue Under the Microscope is out this month!

Diana Peterfreund said...

Yep, I remember the screaming. I thought she'd tracked down the guy that tripped her at first. ;-)

Ah, good times.

Charlene said...

Well, Marley, you left out quite a bit of the DRAMA that went on leading up to the call (but it's still a great story. ;)

And yes, there was lots of screaming - I was afriad I busted your ear-drums!)

And, Jess, lol on asking the editor if she wanted a new copy. That's great!

Char, who is willing the phone to ring someday...

stephhale said...

What a great story! Not about the foot, but everything else. I was so excited when I read about your sales. I didn't know you personally, but you were so instrumental in getting Chick Lit Writers of the World together and that really helped me get serious about writing. Those pages must have been amazing! I can't wait to start reading the series! If that guy only knew he broke a future famous author's foot, I bet he'd feel like a real heel. ha, get it?

TinaFerraro said...

First off--haha, cute joke, Steph! And Jessica, LOL, about the editor offering to call yo back.

But Marley, what an incredible story of perserverence (both professional and physical)! And after writing 11 full mss., to sell not 1, but 4! :) You are an inspiration to us all that "good things come to those who wait". And especially to those who believe in themselves and keep trying...

And I'm glad the foot's healed now!



Marley Gibson said...

Thanks for all the great words and support, you guys! It has been a long road to hoe (to use a cliche), but I don't regret anything. Everything I've written has taught me something so nothing is for naught.

Can't wait to hear other people's stories! Please feel free to post yours here...we all love reading them!

Thanks and hugs!
Marley = )

Anonymous said...

does there have to be physical injury involved by the writer or a loved one in order to get a deal? ;-)


TinaFerraro said...

LOL, MarySue! These first two tales make it look that way, huh? Well, keep reading all week, we have 5 more to come, and I'm guessing at least 1 of us crossed over the line completely unscathed.


Marley Gibson said...

LOL marysue! I did have a friend at last year's New England RWA Conference as me to please break one of her bones so she'd sell. It was this running joke the whole conference, so instead, every time she'd seem me, she'd start rubbing up against me like a cat. It lasted the whole conference and you can imagine the looks we got. Funny thing is...a week after the conference, she sold! = )

Anonymous said...

You have to break bones to sell?!! Maybe I'm not so anxious for THE CALL. Okay, I am!

Great story.


Me said...

How hilarious... in retrospect. Those communters on the MBTA can be brutal!

What I think is so interesting about these stories is how every one is so different (barring the whole injury thing). You wrote 11 manuscripts. One friend of mine wrote 4. My critique partner wrote 2. And I know of at least one author who sold on the first try.

You're definitely right, you just can't ever give up. I still remember from my first RWA conference (Dallas '04) when Jenny Crusie spoke at the PRO retreat and said, "Getting published is about have a manuscript ready when lightning strikes." You just never know when it's going to happen.

Hugs on the broken foot,

Marley Gibson said...

You're so right, Tera. It's a different journey for each of us. I know someone who sold her first book, barely had to have it edited, but then, couldn't for the life of her sell a second book...until two years later. It's a crazy industry with no patterns or how to's or secret handshakes. The fact that we all hang in there, crafting and writing and creating, goes to show how much we all want it.

Like all the Buzz Girls! I can't wait to read everyone's (other than Simone...already read that FAB one) books!

= )

Anonymous said...

What a great post, Mar! Seriously, when you called me to tell you your news, I couldn't have been happier had it happened to myself. You so deserve this huge career launch and I am sooooo proud of you!

I'm so excited for these books to hit the shelves. I've had the good fortune to get sneak peeks and let me tell you all out there in blogland: it'll be well worth the wait!


Wendy Toliver, Marley's #1 Fan

Marley Gibson said...

Thanks Wendy!! It works both ways, you know, chica! Hugs! = )

Heather Davis said...


Ouch! And talk about agressive panhandling! I love your agent's belief in signs. It's so M. Knight.


Shannon McKelden said...

Okay, when I send D my YA this week, I'm going to ask her if I should go out and break my foot just for luck! LOL!!