Tuesday, April 19, 2005

How I Got Here, Part 38

New BG Hope—thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment yesterday. So glad you’ve joined us.

Ah, yes. On this happy Tuesday morning, you other BGs, do not forget that I, too, read the comments. Of course, you knew that, didn’t you. Which is exactly why you are bugging me with this Paige business. “Where is Paige,” thou asketh. “Whateth is Paige doingeth?”

You want the scoop? I’ll give it to ya. She’s in serious hot water. Literally.

Good news is, I’m writing. I’m not quite through with the opening sequence, which takes about 5 chapters. Bad news is, my protagonists are never treated real terrifically in the openings to my suspense novels. In fact, they’re put in rather dire straits. I will divulge nothing at this time. I will say only that as Web of Lies changed my view of spiders, this current book has changed my view of our hot tub. I’ll never climb into it again without thinking of . . .


Okay, so. Speaking of hooks. Where were we in NES? Ah, yes. Not one, but two pub boards responding at once about Color the Sidewalk for Me. Agent Jane on the phone—about to break the news.

Are y’all BGs sitting down?

First, Sidewalk passed House A’s PB. They wanted it.

Actually, they didn’t want just Sidewalk. As with my Eyes of Elisha contract, this house wanted me to “write them another one.” A sequel “blind book.”

Wow. Head is now spinning.

Second, Sidewalk passed House B’s PB. They wanted it.

Actually, they didn’t want just Sidewalk. As with my Eyes of Elisha contract, this house wanted me to “write them another one.” A sequel “blind book.”

Whoa. Head . . . now . . . seriously . . . spinning . . .

“Um.” Somehow I managed to find my tongue. “Okay. What do we do now?”

A fiendish agent chuckle. “We let ’em fight over it.”

Really? My mind went off, somewhere far, far away. To a vast valley under threatening skies. Two PBs, eight members each, hulking on either side, snarling at each other as they don their armor. They mount their steeds. Lower their spears.


The thrum of hoof beats, the clash of metal. We shaaalll overrcoommmme! Weee waannt Bbrrannndilllyyyn Colllllinnnns!! . . .

“You there?” Jane’s voice tumbled me back into my office chair.

“Oh, yeah, yeah. I’m here.”

“Good. I’m going to see what each side wants to offer. Then I’ll call you back. But besides the money, there’s another point to consider. With House A, you’ll be in an established fiction line in a strong house. With House B, it’s a new fiction line, which gives you the unique opportunity of getting in on the bottom floor. Helping establish the line as one of their first authors. But before we discuss those pros and cons, let’s see what each house offers.”

“Sure. Whatever.” I hung up the phone, dazed. That Jane. Always sounded so matter of fact. Like this sort of thing happened every day. Well, maybe it did. To her.

I had a hard time writing that day. All I could think of was selling Sidewalk. This book that I’d worked so hard on, rewrote so many times. I just couldn’t believe it. I tended to look out the window and stare a lot. In the distance, I could just barely make out the beleaguered and battling PBs . . .

The follow-up call did not take long to come. Here’s the thing with PBs. They try to find every reason in the world not to publish your book. If they dish out all the reasons they can think of and the sum total doesn’t pile higher than the reasons to publish it—they’ll say OK. As you know by now, their decision to publish can take a loooong time. Except when they hear another PB wants the book too. “What? A rival PB? No!” Suddenly they are moving like gangbusters, trying to come up with the best offer possible—fast.

So Jane soon called back. By that point I was so discombobulated, I could hardly answer the phone. Chalk it up to too many years of rejections. I still had to get used to this “we want you” business.


House B offered X amount of money per book for the two-book contract.

Wow. That’s good. Really good.

House A offered almost three times as much per book. For the two-book contract.



My mind flitted away once again. Back to the feuding valley. One PB left standing. The other PB littering the dust . . .

“Oooo-kay,” I squeaked. Talking in terms of money was so crass. “Um. I like the thing about being in an established fiction line. Less gamble that way. I pick door number House A.”

“Great choice. Besides, you’ve had such a good experience with the editing for Eyes of Elisha, and you like the house. Wonderful to know they’re working so hard to keep you. Of course, now you’ll have to write them another book to follow Sidewalk. Any ideas?”

“Oh, yeah. Um . . . no.”

“That’s all right. You’ll think of something.”

“Uh-huh.” Oh, man, now I gotta write two blind books in a row . . .

And that’s how I ended up signing my second two-book contract with Zondervan.

Read Part 39


Donna J. Shepherd said...

VERY interesting. Thanks for allowing us to share in your journey.

Tina said...

Houses fighting over you! I can't imagine the feeling. I ordered several of your books from my local Christian bookstore and they just arrived. Time to see if you were worth all this fuss they made over you. ;) I have a feeling you are. I've never ordered 5 books at once before, nevermind from a single author.

Kelly K. said...


I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop - but it just keeps getting better and better.

Are you building up to a big stiletto to the heart?

I don't know if my suspicious mind can take all the good news.

Oh, thanks for ruining bubble baths for us! Stop picking on Paige, we feel sorry for her!

Ron Estrada said...

Wow. And I thought women fighting over me would be cool (which has never happened by the way). I just finished Elisha. I had to read that one because there are a lot of similarities with my first, which is in hybernation for now while I work on another. I have Getting Into Character beside me as we blog (is blog a verb?). I have no spiders to report today. However, there is a goose nesting next to the front door of this huge axle plant.

Stuart said...

wow. That is crazy. makes be glad I have at least the next 15 or so books I want to write put down in idea form ;) Not that I expect to be deluged with publisher adoration like you were, but it never hurts to be prepared. :D

Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

Becky said...

Hahah--Zondervan. Soon as you said "established house," I was confident of your decision.

As to Paige, of course she's in hot water (heh heh--pun intended). I mean, that's what happens in suspense, right?

My question is (and maybe you'll make us wait), since you found it difficult to sustain a first person POV for 4 books, are you back to third person with Paige? And, if so, how will you maintain the level of intimacy, especially revealing internal conflict, as you did for Annie?

Loving the NES. Feel as much joy as if the success had just happened!

Scott Thompson said...

Scott peaks out out of the shadows, makes sure it's safe to continue.
This is Brandilyn Collins' site after all, and I'm not wearing a seatbelt.
I've been lurking here for about a month and thought it high time to tell you how much I've appreciated the NES. And also the chat at Dancing Word the other night.
I've been writing fiction now for a little over two years and am in the middle of the umpteenth rewrite of my first novel and will start the editing of the third when I've completed that.
We won't talk about the second, if that's alright with you.
Of course, those pesky rejection letters keep on a-coming.
Anyway, it's helpful to read your blog and say, 'Hey! That happened to her, too. And look she's going like gangbusters.'
I'll probably retreat back to the shadows, for a while, and do what I'm supposed to be doing: writing.
But I promise to come out more often.

Scott Thompson

mrsd said...

Thanks for posting about Paige. I wondered what page you were on... ;)

Bret said...

Hi Brandilyn. I've been surrounded by you all day. On my way to-and-from work I'm listening to a seminar you gave last year. Then I get to my desk and read your latest blog. I have learned a ton already. Thank you for inspiring me. I appreciate your advice, and am grateful you are sharing the story of your writing journey.
Blessings, Bret

Emily A said...

Just joined your journey a few days ago. Tonight I logged on the computer to write, and ended up spending a couple hours catching up on blog history! Very encouraging to hear/read a pro's 'how I got here.' Also easier than writing when you don't know where you're story's going!