Award-winning author Ruth Kaufman is an Amazon bestselling Chicago author of the Wars of the Roses Brides trilogy. She’s also an on-camera and voiceover talent, freelance editor and speaker with a J.D. and a Master’s in Radio/TV. My Once & Future Love is the first book in her Unsung Knights of the Round Table series. Learn more about Ruth and her books at her website.
Failure to Get “The Call!”
In 1994, I sent out my first requested submission for my first medieval romance. Literally hundreds of requested submissions later for a dozen completed manuscripts and a nonfiction proposal, I still haven’t gotten “the call” that an editor wanted to buy one of my books.
An epic fail, despite having two agents and even after winning Romance Writers of America®’s national Golden Heart® Award. And my third manuscript was runner-up after five rounds of online voting in American Title II, another national contest by then Dorchester Publishing and RT Book Reviews magazine. The winner got a publishing contract. The runner up: nada.
During these years, many colleagues and friends were, of course, receiving the call. Some, multiple times. Some went on to become bestsellers, when I still hadn’t sold one manuscript.
What was I doing wrong? What could I improve? My writing was consistently praised, so was something lacking in the stories or storytelling? I took workshops, had friends critique some projects, but couldn’t find a solution that worked. One editor, who rejected MS #4 in person at a conference, told me it was fine, but she just didn’t love it enough. That was the hardest rejection to give, she said, because she didn’t know how to tell me what to fix or change.
Many authors claim their success began with getting the right project on the right desk at the right time. I think one manuscript was the victim of bad timing…a bit late to ride the chick lit train. Harlequin considered it for Red Dress Ink, then lowered the heroines’ maximum age to twenty-five. Mine was older. They also considered it for Next, but that line closed.
I’ve received more than a dozen revision letters on assorted manuscripts. This meant an editor was very interested, but not willing to buy unless I made changes to her satisfaction. Of course I did my best to make the changes. No call. My GH winner received not one, but two revision letters from Harlequin over the course of two years. They still said no.
I learned I had to take control. So I decided to self-publish...and have released four books so far with a novella coming in September. Should I give up my dream of having an actual publisher’s name on the spine, something not in my control? Am I being persistent or beating my head against a brick wall? Thanks to Twitter pitches, a romantic comedy is with a dream agent I’ve been submitting to since 1999, who “loves the voice,” and a humorous paranormal is with an editor at a small publisher. Will either of these submissions lead to “the call?” Stay tuned….
My Once & Future Love
When a lady on the run aids an immortal knight in peril, can love flourish?
Annora of Amberton flees her castle to seek proof that she’s not a lunatic as her uncle declared when claiming wardship over her and her lands.
Morgan ap Myrddin must rescue his father, Merlin, from imprisonment. But enemies have wounded him, draining his powers.
He stumbles upon her cottage and enlists her aid. As he helps her in return, undeniable desire sparks. But he won’t succumb to the lure of a mortal woman as his father did. She’s wary of caring for a man who refuses to discuss his past. When he finally tells her he’s a Knight of the Round Table, she fears he’s the lunatic as danger, secrets and destiny thwart the power of love.