Not-so-Dirty Little Secret

I attended a writers' conference last year and pitched the original version of Between the Lines (which, at that time, had a dumb title I pretend not to remember now) to an agent. She asked for pages. A few weeks later, she emailed a polite rejection with some nice comments like, "I have a current client working on something extremely similar and I don't want to compete with myself," and encouraged me to try other agents.

By that time, I was knee-deep in writing the sequel. It was pouring into my head fast and furious, as though the protagonists were speaking directly to me. At some point I took a breather and reread the first (still stupidly-titled) manuscript, at which point my brain said, "This story needs Reid's POV," because I'd written the entire thing from Emma's POV. Which meant a complete overhaul to incorporate an additional POV. Yeah. Color me not thrilled.

First, I thought, Oh hell to the no, and went back to writing the second book. But the idea wouldn't let go that easily. I started waking up with Reid saying, "Come on. It'll be easy. You know me." It took a few months, but eventually I caved and rewrote the whole thing, adding his POV and deleting a lot of Emma's. I knew it was right the moment I began doing it.

This year's writing conference: I pitched the new-and-revised (and renamed) version of Between the Lines, and after submitting a few requested pages, ended up with another nice rejection -- again encouraging me to query other agents. At that point, I'd been mulling over the idea of e-publishing for a few months and had decided that barring a miracle offer of representation, I was going to do it. I want to write. I don't want to sell myself to agents, who are constantly hounded by would-be writers and bombarded by industry news on what's selling and what's not, all while trying to decipher publisher edicts of what will be hot.

The choice to become an indie author wasn't giving up. It was a choice to move forward. It's been a week since Between the Lines went live on Amazon, and though I'm anxious about the slow build, I'm pleased with everything I'm learning about self-promotion -- what I'm willing to do, and what I'm not. I'm making some good contacts and new friends, which is great for a naturally shy person like me. And best of all, I can call myself an author and mean it for the first time, with no question-marked inflection at the end.

Tammara Webber

New York Times and international bestselling author of contemporary romantic fiction