Walker BFYR Bought My Book!

OMG! Yesterday, Firebrand agent, my Firebrand agent (wow!), Ted Malawer struck a deal with Stacy Cantor of Walker BFYR for my middle-grade novel, Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning. I'm ecstatic! Athrill, cool crazy, delirious, euphoric--I looked these up in the thesaurus and they all apply. (Cool and crazy had a comma between them, but I like cool crazy better.)

I had signed up for a critique at this summer's SCBWI workshop, and I received Stacy as my reviewer. Talk about a divine appointment! She immediately connected with the novel and suggested I submit it to her at Walker. I didn't send it to her right away because I had chapters out for paid critiques, but after a month passed and the critiques hadn't come back yet, I'm like, Forget it! I've got to send it to her!

I carefully prepared my submission package, suffering secretly from signature stress syndrome and mailed it from Florida to New York by regular mail. Two days later, Stacy emailed me. She wanted more! I still hadn't received those critiques--everything was moving so fast! I sent her the manuscript and queried a few, very select, agents. Then Ted Malawer popped into Verla Kay's website and described his likes and dislikes. I thought Hey, he might like my book! And he might like my other manuscript, too. I liked that he described himself as an editorial agent and that he liked books that made him laugh, but if a submission could make him cry, even better. I queried him immediately.

Meanwhile, Stacy and I traded emails. I couldn't believe how perfect her suggestions were and how they fit with my vision for the book. Before I knew it, VIOLET RAINES was going to acquisitions and then Stacy said We're interested! and I was like I've got to get a hold of Ted! So of course my phone went on the fritz, the second line went down, my cell phone ran out of minutes and Ted didn't get my emails. I COULD NOT SLEEP FOR DAYS until Nadia Cornier called and said Ted had been very sick and was actually getting blood work done right at that moment. She was funny and nice, not scary like how I thought an agent might be.

Not much later, my cell phone rang. It was Ted! I still can't believe he rose from his sickbed to call me! We talked for a long time. It was wonderful! In that conversation and the ones that have followed, he's given me a real education on how all of this works. Such a patient guy--my questions are so newbie!

I really feel my book is in the hands of people who love it.

Here's the blurb from PM:

18 October, 2007
Childrens: Middle grade
Danette Haworth's debut VIOLET RAINES ALMOST GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, about a vivacious eleven-year-old whose life changes drastically when a new girl moves to her backwoods Florida town, to Stacy Cantor at Walker, on an exclusive submission, for publication in Fall 2008, by Ted Malawer at Firebrand Literary.

I'm happy and so grateful to Stacy and Ted for their vision and belief in VIOLET RAINES. I'm happy for my fellow writer, Courtney Summers, who recently sold her YA book. Courtney, I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to copy you and say THANK YOU in a loud voice! THANK YOU, LORD! And THANK YOU to my husband and sister for believing in my work and reading it twice, to my mom who loved it, and to my beautiful dad who, when he still walked this earth, read a little piece I wrote and said, "If I could write like this, I wouldn't do anything else."

In the words of Mary Katherine Gallagher, my feelings can best be expressed by a musical number:


courtney said...

Danette, I am SO happy for you!!!!!! You deserve it! I loved reading about the journey to this moment (I can't stop smiling for you!!!). It happened in a wonderful way--it seems like Stacy was meant to find your book (which sounds completely amazing, by the way and I can't wait to read it when it comes out!!!). But what timing for the phones etc to go down! I will say this--it might have been terribly stressful when it happened but it makes for a great story. :)
And of course I don't mind (and thank you)!!! I'm thrilled that this happened for both of us in the same week. It makes the whole experience that much cooler! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
(It was very hard to get my finger off the exclamation mark key long enough to post this comment!!!!)

Ello said...

Oh my gosh! Congratulations! That is wonderful news! I am so happy for you! and your book sounds wonderful and just the type of book for my daughter to read.

I hope you are going out to celebrate big time! You deserve it! Congratulations!

Sarah Ockler said...

Hi Danette -

*~CONGRATULATIONS~* on selling your book! I just found your blog (I'm always seeking out writer blogs), and noticed that we share an agent. Ted is amazing!!!!!

So, best of luck on this and all future books! Stop by online and say hi anytime...

-Sarah Ockler

Sarah Ockler said...

Wow, and in another coincidence... ello, I recognize your name and image from comments on my friend eudaemonia's blog. Small world!

LindaBudz said...

Aww, that story about your dad brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful memory!

Congrats again, and thanks for posting ... I love these "when I got the call" stories!

Jessica Burkhart said...

Congrats again!! I'm so, so excited for you! Yay for you and Ted!!

Stella said...

WOW!!!!!! Yippeeee! I'm thrilled for you, Danette! CONGRATULATIONS!! That's just so cool. It always warms my heart to see my fellow writers getting agented and published. I loved reading about your journey.

Do let us know when it's coming out (I'll buy a copy for my library).

Mary Witzl said...

This is such great news, Danette. I've seen you in the forums at Verla Kay's, and I know just what you've been through with your writing, rewriting and endless patience and hard work. GOOD FOR YOU and CONGRATULATIONS! Forgive the shouting; I think it's warranted.

Ted Malawer wrote me the kindest, gentlest, most helpful rejection letter ever. It was so good, I didn't file it into my 'Disappointing Letters' folder, but straight away added it to my 'Encouraging Letters' section.

I am now rewriting my manuscript and plan to resubmit to him fairly soon. Your joy is one that I can share vicariously. And it'd be great to be on the same list!

Angela said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!! I can't wait to read it! Doing the happy dance for both you & Courtney:)

Church Lady said...

Congratulations Danette!!!
That is the best news a writer can hear!
Wow, and I can say 'I knew her when!'
Please keep us updated!!!

SzélsőFa said...

Coming here from The Church Lady!

Danette Haworth said...

Thank you for all those exclamation points! It was really stressful when all my electronics went down--I think I stressed off 11 pounds in that short time!

I was very happy for you when I saw your post of VK, and your blog post on the sale was excellent!


I'm so glad you stopped by! It makes me feel good to think your daughter might like my book.

Thanks for popping in! Go Team! BTW, great photo!

It brought tears to my eyes, too, and I'm the one who wrote it! I was just blessed to have my dad for as long as I did. He always believed in me.

Thank you, Jessica! I think we're both coming out in the same year. Hooray!

I would LOVE for you to put my book in your library. Gosh, just the thought of a child pulling my book from the shelves . . . wonderful!

I feel like shouting too! Thanks for your congratulations.

You're right, Ted is very nice and easy to talk with. Even though I did research contracts and negotiations, I still didn't understand much of what I found out. Ted answered my questions and explained things to me in a way that I didn't feel stupid for asking them. I'm so glad I signed with him!

Angela, Church Lady (you know I love your blog!), szelsofa,
Thank you, THANK YOU, for taking the time to visit and to say congratulations!

Brenda said...


What wonderful news!!! Congrats!!! I have added your story's name to my "to read" list, so as soon as it comes out, I will be looking for it.

Congrats again!!! And what a wonderful title!!!

Sheri said...

A little late here but congratulations! I am so excited for you!

Virginia Lee said...

OMG, I feel so slack and shamefully lax, hon, for not coming in over the weekend and seeing this incredible news.


I'm thrilled for you! How exciting and fabulous and, just, WOW!

Danette, I cannot think of anyone (other than me, of course ;) ) about whom I'd rather hear this news.

Bravo! You can't see me, but as soon as I hit send I'll be giving you a standing ovation. I'd do a wolf whistle but I never figured out how to do one.

Yay! :D

Danette Haworth said...

Thanks, Brenda! What an honor to be on your to-read list! Thanks for your comments on the title.

Hi Sheri!
Thanks for your congratulations! I'm still getting used to the idea, and I've only just yesterday told one of my neighbors that I sold a book!

Virgina Lee,
Thanks so much for the virtual standing ovation! I really do appreciate your congrats. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Danette,
Congrats! I'm especially happy to see another Florida SCBWIer achieve success. I signed with Nadia Cornier recently. She and Ted seem great and I love their different approach to the industry.

Linda D. (sbk) said...

I've been away and only just saw this now!

OMG!!!!!!!!!!! What a fantastic story! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so happy for you.

And yeah, that comment about your dad still has my eyes a little wet. What a beautiful compliment.

Danette Haworth said...

Thanks, Adrienne, and congrats to you as well!

Thank for your congrats and for mentioning my dad. He was great!

Anonymous said...

How terrifically awesome. What a wonderful success story!!!


Mimi Schroeder said...

I read the ARC of Violet Raines as part of ABC New Voices Committee and really enjoyed it. I'm so happy for your success! Mimi
You probably don't need any additional publicity, but if you do, I have my own independent book PR company after 6years in the field with a trade publisher. It's www.maxbookpr.com.