CAROL: It looked like I was sitting in a coffee shop, but in reality I was deep in the query trenches with my debut contemporary romance COLOR ME CRAZY. It was my second time around with this manuscript. The small press it had been under contract with had recently imploded—luckily before publication—and I couldn’t believe I was back to hitting refresh and checking my Submittable status every thirty seconds.
As I’m not one to suffer in silence (cough cough), my Twitter posse of authors knew I was back out on the ledge. One of them messaged me with a link to a specific #MSWL post by Jessica Snyder with Entangled Publishing. I immediately suspected Jessica of having above average intelligence.
JESSICA: Yes, my social media feed does, indeed, provide evidence of my 1,000,000 IQ score. I was an editorial assistant with Kerri-Leigh Grady in 2014. I was looking for something different, and KL was looking for books with a great sense of humor.
CAROL: If I remember correctly, you also wanted some angst, and since I had lovingly saddled my heavily tattooed hero with enough angst to sink a battle ship, I knew you were going to love him!
JESSICA: I did! Angst is my catnip, and about halfway through the book, Julian gave me all the feels I could ever ask for in a book.
CAROL: So I immediately sent a query referencing #MSWL, and I personalized it to hit Jessica’s and Kerri-Leigh’s sweet spots.
Dear Jessica Snyder and Kerri-Leigh Grady,
I recently dug through a few #MSWL tweets, and I believe I have a manuscript that might make you both happy. My sexy contemporary romance, COLOR ME CRAZY, is rife with humorous (and steamy) entanglements for Kerri-Leigh, and its sexy hero, riddled with dark, smoldering angst, is just right for Jessica.
JESSICA: The manuscript came into our submissions system and was marked ATTN: us.
CAROL: Yay! It went where it needed to go! We authors always wonder where our queries go. We send them out with the same vague sense of unease with which we put socks into the dryer…
JESSICA: The query sounded fun, and I was excited that Carol specifically called out the #MSWL tags KL and I had been using on Twitter. Carol’s couple, Julian and Cleo, definitely fit what we were looking for. Julian is not your run of the mill, super-alpha rockstar, Cleo is colorful and quirky, and Carol’s sense of humor shines throughout the book.
CAROL: I love that Jessica gets me. And that she missed the two typos in my query that jumped off the page and began twerking as soon as I hit send.
JESSICA: I give a little leeway for typos in submissions. Three would have pushed right past my limit! I was hooked as soon as I started reading the manuscript at bedtime. Around midnight that evening, I emailed KL and told her she had to read it right away. Since she was notorious for staying up late and playing on Twitter, I also tweeted her that I’d found a story I was loving just in case she was up.
CAROL: And since I have spies everywhere on Twitter, I immediately received a message from a friend telling me that Jessica was tweeting about COLOR ME CRAZY. (Midnight isn’t actually that late for grown-ups, Jessica.) Anyway, unlike my spy-friend, I wasn’t convinced it was my book Jessica was tweeting about. So I checked my submission status and sure enough, it had gone from “Received” to “In Progress.”
JESSICA: (Um, I go to bed at 9pm. Midnight is crazy late for someone who loves sleeps as much as I do.) When I finished COLOR ME CRAZY at 5am, I immediately wrote KL another email that was basically just SQUEEEEE!!!
CAROL: And Jessica tweeted that, too! It was fun to watch my manuscript go from received, to in progress, to squeeeeee all in one night!
JESSICA: And then I followed you on Twitter.
CAROL: And I acted cool about it. I tried very hard not to frighten you.
JESSICA: You’re not that frightening! 😉 (Does a winky-face emoticon prove I’m not a millennial?)
CAROL: And just a day later, an editor with a second publisher using #MSWL pulled COLOR ME CRAZY out of the slush pile and tweeted about it.
JESSICA: Because COLOR ME CRAZY is a freaking great book! I’m so glad it stayed with Entangled and I got to work with you on it.
CAROL: Yes, and I couldn’t be happier! Entangled Publishing released COLOR ME CRAZY in May of 2015 to rave reviews, and #MSWL is the matchmaker who gave us our happily ever after.
Carol Pavliska began her writing career as a family humor columnist and blogger, a pursuit she abandoned when her children grew old enough to realize they were being exploited. To save them from further embarrassment, she turned to writing fiction. Her debut novel, COLOR ME CRAZY, is a steamy contemporary romance.
The kids are still embarrassed.
Carol and her husband, both diehard Red Hot Chili Peppers fans, raise their brood of mortified offspring on a cattle ranch in south Texas.