When Publishers land and offer you a book contract…

Lindy Cameron with her newest author, Cheryse Durrant (that's me!)Breaking news! My gutsy Shahkara and her page-turning adventures have finally found a publishing home – within the talented ranks of Clan Destine Press (CDP). Shahkara, the first book in my newly-dubbed Heart Hunter series, will be released in print and e-book formats by May next year.

Okay, it’s not really breaking news since it’s almost a week ago that I was offered my shiny, three-book contract, but I was without internet for nearly a week while I was wining and dining with My Publisher and some awesome authors at the Gold Coast and attending RWA Conference workshops and parties. So, I haven’t been able to e-spruik my news until now (Cheryse dusts a couple of extra days beneath the speckled, loungeroom rug).

So I’m now a Contracted Author and I have to admit that I am bubbling with delight. I did not think that a publishing contract would be this magical. I thought that after so many long years of writing and buried manuscripts, of waits and rejections, that being published would be an anti-climax. It wasn’t. It is my dream come true – a dream that dates back to the tender age of seven. Okay, I still have a whole TARDIS-full of other characters and stories that keep bouncing off my grey matter, but at least this one story I can now share with the world.

How did the Cheryse Durrant with suspense author Sandy Curtis at the 2012 RWA Conference on the Gold Coastcontract happen, you ask? Well, I’d been so sick with the flu that I didn’t even know if I’d make the conference or not, and then I only found out a couple of days before that my prospective publisher Lindy Cameron (aka CDP) would be visiting the Gold Coast. So when Lindy, my friend Jacque and I sat down for coffee, I was a little gob-smacked when she very matter-of-factly announced that she loved my manuscript and was offering me a three-book contract.

Yes, I had been waiting for a publishing reply from Lindy. I had submitted my Shahkara MS to her 10 weeks earlier following a successful pitch at Bundaberg WriteFest – but since that same solicited manuscript had been languishing at another large publishing house for 19 months, I’d begun to wonder if Shahkara would forever remain locked in digital despair.

So there I was, trying to swallow down my post-flu coughs, and Lindy suggests we all head to the nearest bookstore to discuss Shahkara cover options. I do recall her jumping when I released a  belated squee (which she may have thought was a fire alarm) but then we scampered off to QBD to run our fingers over dozens of glossy and embossed covers. “It’ll be a wrap-around,” Lindy says. “All CDP covers are wrap-arounds. What do you think of this one?” After 20 minutes at QBD, we were sparking on all eight cylinders and I had a very visual idea of what my Shahkara cover might look like, come next year.

That’s when we spotted the NBN TV cameraman, zooming in on the book-lined shelves. As a journalist, I felt it was pretty much a no-brainer that if a Gold Coast cameraman is filming footage in a bookstore at the same time there’s a national writing conference about to start in the same city, then they’re most likely on converging paths. “Are you here for the RWA Conference?” I piped up. He nodded his head and was soon wanting to know our connection. What else could I say but: “Yes, we’re attending, and this is My Publisher and she’s just offered me a book contract!” A TV interview ensued…

Once we left QBD, there were all sorts of Very Important Publishing stuff to do – like shoe shopping and an exotic lunch. I don’t understand why all Publishers don’t go shoe shopping with their Authors. It’s a lot of fun – especially if you take photographic evidence 🙂 We returned to the resort and there might have been more coffee and discussions of books and publishing. Oh, and maybe a photo shoot.

Authors Helen Stubbs, Cheryse Durrant and Rowena Cory Daniells with CDP Publisher Lindy CameronLindy didn’t stay for the conference. She’d only flown to the Gold Coast to deliver Rowena Cory Daniells‘ hot-off-the-press The Price of Fame novels to her (and offer me a contract). The rest of us author types toddled back to the RWA conference (where I unexpectedly was asked to stand on stage and be applauded for securing my first book sale *uncomfortable twinge*) while Lindy flew on to BrisVegas for more Very Important Publisher stuff.

The moral to the story? Even if you’re sick, make sure you attend all writing conferences scrawled in red on your calendar. You never know when you’ll have a successful pitch or when a Publisher might fly in and offer you a contract. In fact, maybe the Gold Coast marketing gurus could fashion this concept into a tourist attraction: Stay at XYZ resort and meet with your favourite Publisher… it could catch on!

So, my friends, I have so much more to share with you re my forthcoming book series and CDP, but suffice to say that today I am just thrilled that my Shahkara series has a home – and that it’s with a very fine stable indeed!

2013 Postscript:  Shahkara will be published with the fabulous new title, The Blood She Betrayed, in 2013.