Jude Hardin

Author, Drummer, Turtle Whisperer

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Call

Your name is Jude Hardin. You graduated from the University of Louisville in 1983 with an English degree, and you’ve been writing in one form or another for a long, long time.

Six-and-a-half years ago, you decided it was time to try the big one--the novel.

It would be easy, you thought. Your idea was a surefire hit, and publishers would line up with their fat wallets open.

You didn’t know what the hell you were doing, but you kept at it. The pages you wrote in longhand started accumulating, and eventually you decided to type them up on an old Olivetti portable you found at a thrift store.

Now this thing, this monster you had painstakingly brought to life, had page numbers and chapter headings and description and dialogue and action and humor and irony and pathos and NO FUCKING PROTAGONIST.

You had written two hundred pages of what essentially amounted to rubbish, and you thought about chucking the whole shebang.

But you didn’t.

You ran across an article in Writer’s Digest by this guy, who had recently signed a six-figure deal for a mystery series.

If he could do it, so could you.

You bought a computer. You started reading more mysteries and thrillers. You took your two hundred pages of rubbish and used them for offstage backstory. You created a protagonist.

A few months later, you were over halfway through and moving right along. Time to start querying agents and publishers!

You didn’t know it at the time, but you were lucky to get form rejections. You were lucky to get any response at all.

You finished the book, and allowed a few friends and family members to read it. They said it was great, and you believed them.

In 2006, you attended a conference where the first chapter of another novel you were working on was chosen to be in a workshop headed by them.

You pitched the first book to an agent at the same conference. She requested a partial, and you thought you were on your way. You sent her the first fifty pages, only to receive a detailed letter in return outlining the reasons the novel was not right for her.

Soon after that, you struck up a conversation with her. She agreed to look at your first fifty pages, and echoed many of the same concerns as the agent. You thought about addressing those concerns and starting a major rewrite, but…

There was that other novel you were working on. The one that had been selected for the workshop.

The hero was a private investigator named Nicholas Colt, and people seemed to respond to him. They liked him. They liked the “voice.”

Eventually you finished the book and landed an agent, only to be disappointed time and again by rejections from major New York publishers. They liked it, but it just wasn’t “big” enough.

You did a rewrite.

And another.

Then came the recession, and for a while it seemed as though publishing was at a standstill. You became frustrated, and decided to part ways with the literary agent you’d worked so hard to get.

Now you were on your own again.

You thought about giving up, but this guy had recently signed with a small-but-well-respected press and you liked the way he spoke of them. You went to their website, found the submission guidelines, and submitted a short synopsis and the first thirty pages of your thriller Pocket-47.

A month or so later you got an email requesting two copies of the full manuscript. You were excited, but you didn’t tell anyone about it because you know rejection is the norm in this business. The publisher promised to get back to you with its level of interest within 90 days.

You wait. And wait. And wait. A month passes, then two. At the end of the third month, you’ve just about given up hope.

It’s Thursday, just past five, and you’re thinking about playing tennis when the phone rings.

Your name is Jude Hardin, and you’re going to be a published author.

34 Comments:

Blogger Joe Konrath said...

Congrats, man!

8:15 PM  
Anonymous tess gerritsen said...

May I add my congrats, too! Good for you!

8:24 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks Joe. It's such a thrill to get that call, as every writer who has ever gotten it knows. Thanks for all your help and encouragement over the past few years.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks Tess. You've always been so generous with your time and advice, and I appreciate it very much.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Eric Christopherson said...

Hey Jude! Glad to hear the news. I've read enough of your stuff over the last couple of years to know I'll be buying a copy. All the best.

8:49 PM  
Blogger lainey bancroft said...

JUDE!!!!

(You could consider that a fan-girl-type squee...except you know I'm not the fan-girl type.)

I am, however, a fan of a damn great story with awesome ptq. I'm lucky enough to know that this is what you have here and that the publisher made a terrific call picking it up!

Raising a glass to you, my friend! May this be the first of many!

(um, many BOOKS for you, of course, because many GLASSES raised by me on a Tuesday night would be bad, right?) :0

8:51 PM  
Blogger Alan Orloff said...

Jude, I was in that 2006 conference workshop with you, and I knew then that you had the goods to get published. I'm glad (so glad) you stuck with it and proved me prescient. Way to go, dude!

8:59 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks Eric. I truly appreciate the useful feedback you've given me the past couple of years, and I hope we can continue to trade critiques in the future.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Hi Lainey. Thanks so much.

Your worries about "that damn tape" were spot-on, btw, and I appreciate your keen eye for detail. You've been a great friend and a great help. Thank you.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Alan:

I knew you had the goods as well. Of all the workshop entries, I thought yours was the best. Congrats on your deal with Midnight Ink, and I'm hoping we can get together at another conference soon.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I already gave you congrats when yesterday when I confirmed a rumor I heard from talking to my publisher, but I'll say it again, congrats, man!

9:24 PM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

Oh wonderful, Jude! I know how long you've been working for this. Congratulations!

(And I still think a seven-figure advance is coming your way!)

9:28 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks Mark. I think Oceanview is great, and I heard about them from you first. Glad we're part of the same publishing team!

9:29 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks Natasha. I have to say you're one of the strongest, and most unique, writers I've ever met. Thanks so much for your friendship and honest feedback!

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Robert Carraher said...

saw mark Terry' comment on FaceBook so I thought I'd stop by and see what all the fuss was about. Congratulations! As a guy who at 55 is finally going to write, and publish a book, I'll come back and read this every time I run into a wall along the way and want to quit.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks Robert. If you really want to do it, then go for it. Absolutely. Typing 'The End' after months of hard work is better than...just about anything.

Just realize that it's never really done till your editor says it's done. I'm currently doing fairly extensive revisions on a novel I thought was finished when I submitted it. A good editor, I have come to learn, will help you dig deep and make your book better than you ever imagined.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was soooo glad to hear that you finally got THE CALL! Your passion and persistence has finally paid off. -Pam

11:01 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks Pam. You know, the stairs just haven't been the same since you left. ;)

11:18 PM  
Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

We all knew this day was coming. Now you can put the screen test pattern behind you. Congratulations, my friend.

Hardcover? I'm getting a boner.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks Steve. Yes, hardcover!

And thanks for letting me borrow the lucky test pattern.

5:54 AM  
Blogger Joe Moore said...

Congratulations, Jude. There's a word for someone who doesn't give up: published. Enjoy the moment. Now the real work begins.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

You got that right, Joe. Thanks!

8:35 AM  
Blogger LurkerMonkey said...

Congratulations, Jude! And Pocket-47 is a great title...

9:45 AM  
Blogger PJ Parrish said...

Kelly and I knew the first time we read your stuff you would make it. Not just because of the writing, but because of the will.

You did it the right way. You didn't try to take any shortcuts. The joy you're feeling now is all the more sweeter.

May your ride be long and happy!

PJ Parrish

10:05 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks Jon. The title came to me in a crazy way. I'll blog about it sometime.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Kris. I was excited and honored to be part of your workshop that year!

10:57 AM  
OpenID fakefrenchie said...

CONGRATULATIONS!
I came to your blog space to leave a message and then I read that you got the call. Suddenly, my message doesn't seem very important.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks ff. Now I'm curious about the message, LOL.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Kathy L said...

This is wonderful news! I knew it was just a matter of time! Oh---I've already shared the news with my 3rd graders:) I like to mention you when I talk about the writing process:)

9:12 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks Kathy. :)

Love ya.

10:52 PM  
OpenID fakefrenchie said...

I sent you an email about the message to your yahoo.com address from my yahoo.com address. Maybe it went into your SPAM filter.
Cheers, FF

1:02 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Got it, ff. Thanks!

6:28 AM  
Blogger Richard Levangie said...

Congratulations, Jude. I admire the perseverance!

(We don't really know each other, but we sometimes hang out on the same blogs. I saw your good news on Erica's).

3:00 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks, Richard! Please stop by again!

4:39 PM  

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