Friday, July 20, 2012

Writing firsts – the big moments

This week the Luckies are talking about writing firsts. But the thing about being a debut author is every step of this process is a "first". So here are my big moments - so far . . .

First offer from an agent for representation – I got a heads-up when the subject line of the email read: “A chat?” Holy moly – all I ever heard was if an agent wants to talk to you on the phone - they will probably offer representation. We planned a time to chat, at my suggestion, later that afternoon. I needed time to calm down and not sound like a blubbering idiot prepare for the call. Since I had three kids at home and it sounded like I was in the middle of an amusement park, I got a sitter, drove to a convenience store and bought a Coke Icee and banana Laffy Taffy and waited for the call. Yes, I took the call in the parking lot of a gas station while eating junk food. (This call was from Sarah Davies and yes, she offered! And yes, she’s my agent!!)

First book deal – When I got the call from Sarah that Disney Hyperion made me an offer – I was sitting in the parking lot at my kid’s school waiting for the bell to ring. It was pouring outside and the block the school sits in (and just that block!) is notorious for being the black hole of cell phone reception. All I could think was - Please don’t let this call drop! As soon as I got the word, I sprinted to the front doors of the school, grabbed the kids and told them on the way to the car. We jumped around – all of us so ridiculously excited – and got completely soaked. No telling what we looked like to everyone else huddled under their umbrellas!

First publishing contract – Yes, I made sure my hair and make-up was okay and posed while my oldest son took a picture of me signing it. I want to frame this and put it beside my bed, right next to the pictures of my kids and husband but I'm trying to resist the temptation.

I look calm but inside I was break-dancing.

First editorial letter – I begged for this. Probably drove Sarah crazy asking when I would get it. So many Luckies were discussing this and the little green monster inside of me was dying to do the same. And then I got it. It was 6 pages – single spaced. 26 big-picture issues needed fixin’. My biggest concern was where to start. You can read about the most convoluted way I handled my revisions here.
There was a method behind the madness. I think.

Other firsts I'm looking forward to: cover reveal (this one is killing me - can't wait to see my cover!), ARCs (Okay, I really want this one, too!), book signings (this one I'm equal parts excited/terrified), . . . the list goes on and on.

Will I be as excited (or act as ridiculous) if I’m fortunate enough to sell another book to a publisher? Or when I get my editorial letter for book two? Well, of course I will but I’ll know what to expect since I'll be an old pro by then.

Ashley Elston is the author of THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING which will be published by Disney Hyperion on May 14, 2013 and the sequel will be published in 2014. She lives in North Louisiana with her husband and three sons. She can be found lurking here:
And sometimes on her blog:


  1. This made me relive all those wonderful moments. Nothing quite like it!

    1. They are wonderful. And crazy. And you're right - nothing quite like it!

  2. Ha! I love your First Book Deal story! That would've been a fun one to watch. :)

    1. It was fun. And cold since since it was November!