Girls Write Out
Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A good agent is like a good spouse: always looking out for your best interests, there to balance out your weaknesses, one who cheers you on when you're down but who knows how to put her size five boots in your backside when necessary. I have an agent like that: Karen Solem. She's not for everyone because she doesn't pull her punches. But she is TIRELESS in her pursuit to work hard for me.

I had that brought home to me this week. The project she took me on for was a historical. Or as Robin Miller would say, a HYSTERICAL. LOL It had some suspense, some romance, some women's fiction things, and some true historical facts in it. It is set during the Revolutionary War, never a great period to sell in CBA, on a Maine lighthouse. But boy, did Karen try hard to place that! Back in 2000, she sent it everywhere. And everyone turned it down. So it's been sitting on her self for EIGHT, count 'em, EIGHT, years! She has a contact with a publisher who sells mass market books through CVS drugstores. Just on a whim, she sent Freedom's LIght to the editor. Who LOVED it and wanted to bring it out. We had to get permission from my publisher and I'll be using a pen name for it (because it's a bit out of my brand, being a historical,) but oh the vindication of finally selling that book! And vindication for Karen who always believed in that story. And a fresh reminder that my fabulous agent is my friend, my advocate, my butt kicker. LOL

I reread the book for corrections and was amazed to discover I still love the story after all these years. But it brought home to me that if you're a writer you can NEVER quit. Be like Churchill and determine to NEVER give in to doubt and fear. Never, never, never. It took me seven years to get my first offer on a book. I'll never forget the day I found out Barbour wanted to publish Where Leads the Heart. I screamed so loudly the cat hid under the bed and wouldn't come out for hours. For days, he flattened his ears if I came near. LOL Those seven years of holding fast to the dream were worth it. And this wait was worth it. It might not be a lot of money and few people will know it's my book, but I know. And Karen knows.

Give me a tough, tenacious woman like Karen every time. If you're looking for an agent, don't settle for just anyone who offers to represent you. Find the right agent for YOU. She/he is out there. Don't give in until you find the partner who will go to the mat for you. If you're not a writer, find a friend like that. One who is there through rain and shine, mud and snow.

Thanks, Karen. Oh that your tribe might increase!

How about you? Do you have a dream that you've been afraid to voice? Or even to think about too long? Find someone to come alongside you and encourage you. I would never have made it without my husband and kids. They're still my wonderful cheerleaders. Follow that dream. Hold it tight. See what doors God will kick open for you. But you have to take that first step.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:09 PM  
  Comments (18)
Delicious Delicious
At 3:08 AM, Blogger Melanie said...

Congrats, Colleen, on the sale and on snagging a great agent.

I posted this question to the loop, too, but I have to know: Do you kill anybody in this one?

Melanie J.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

Sooooo.... if it's a PEN NAME how do we get our hands on it when searching for "Colleen Coble Historical Novel" doesn't bring it up? ;)

OH!! OH!! BTW!! I finally got Anethema into my Dad's hands. Too Funny. Apparently, he's not doing anything around the house but reading it! LOL Loves it. So, you have another convert from the male genre.

Thanks for the inspiration this morning. Did u know I needed that?!

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Jaime, you mean Abomination? Or did you get an early copy of Anathema? It's shipping in a couple of weeks. Whoohoo!

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Melanie, of course there's a death! More than one, in fact. LOL

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Jaime, I went to your site, and we totally have to have an espresso slamming contest and see who is less jittery! Can you do it before bed, huh? Huh?

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Valerie said...


That sounds like my kind of book! Any hints as to your pen name so we can be on the look out? Initials at least?

Your advice on agents is so true of any person who we hold in high regard. It's always a good idea to have someone fighting for you and to be accountable to - in work and in life. :D

At 11:54 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

You girls have no patience! LOL The pen name is Colleen Rhoads. The book will be available in CVS stores sometime in the summer. I'll keep you posted!

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Gracie said...

Can't wait to read this one and find out who dies in it! LOL. And the pen name Colleen Rhodes: very classy. Sounds like a historical author.

My dream is... becoming a writer! God willing, it'll happen someday. For now I'm pressing forward...

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Don't give up, Gracie! Keep working at it. Read books in your genre, read books on writing and network with other writers. Stay strong!

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Gracie said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Colleen. The reading and learning isn't as hard as the actual writing, but with God's grace I'll make it. : )

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

Wow! I love love love the Revolutionary War period. Why is that a hard period for CBA? Personally, I can't stand reading anything about the Civil War. I just want to toss it across the room for some reason. Anyway, I will be looking in CVS for it!

At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dream is also to become a writer. I think if that happened I would be the happiest person alive.

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

Oh yeah. Duh. Abomination. :) That's what I meant (you can see what I'm truly anticipating - Anethema!) :)

At 11:16 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

Kristin, LOL, I used to slam espressos "before bed" and then my bedtime would turn into 3 AM and I suddenly became caffiene-induced ADHD!! Haven't tried it lately because all my espresso buddies deserted me! :) Let me know the time and place and we can go for it! LOL

At 12:34 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

You're on Jaime. We can have a slumber party and bring our PJs and give manicures!! Why does that still sound so fun?

One time my BFF went with me to a fancy spa where I won a weekend in college. It was at a winery and they provided a bottle of wine and she and I drank some with a bag of Doritos because we couldn't afford anything from Room Service. ROFLOL

Okay, I know this was serious about good agenting. Sorry. Lost myself.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Rachel Hauck said...

Yeah, Colleen! How great!!


At 9:32 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Congratulations, Colleen!

I'm a little curious about your pen name. The first name I get, but the last name is a mystery. Care to share?


At 2:16 PM, Blogger haircone said...

Hooray Colleen! I love to hear about tenacity and success. Sounds like you do have the right agent in your corner. My dream is getting our childrens story published. My husband and I wrote it together. What a blast.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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