THE BLOG

How I Self Published, Sold 60,000 Copies, And a Literary Agent Found Me

10/05/2013 16:47 BST | Updated 10/07/2013 10:12 BST

Can't think of a better title for this post, even though it sounds as likely as 'How I Built an Igloo, Flew to the Moon and Became a Rock Star'.

The last month has been completely bonkers. There I was marvelling at the fact that Sealed with a Kiss was still number one in the Amazon romance chart, and floating in and around the top ten of the overall Amazon chart. It's been downloaded over 60,000 times since I hit the publish button on the 10 of February. That's an impossible number to imagine (believe me, I've tried).

I hadn't really had any thoughts about what would happen next - I thought I'd get on with book two (and three, because they seem to be coming at the same time, like twins). People were asking for a sequel, to find out what happens next. The thing about Sealed with a Kiss is that it's only 64,000 words. That was a deliberate choice: I wanted it to be rainy afternoon length. As it is I love that reviewers have said they've ended up staying up late into the night reading it.

And then the emails started arriving from agents. My instinctive reaction was to steer clear - I was quite liking the whole going-it-alone self-publishing thing.

But one of them caught my eye. Dear Rachael, I love your book and your writing, it said. It was from Amanda Preston at LBA, a literary agency. (It said loads of other stuff too, which didn't really go in at the time because I was too busy saying "OOOH", and remembering that they represented my blogging chum Cherry Menlove). I spoke to some writing and publishing friends and said 'what d'you think?' and they all said Do It. And I messaged Cherry and said "Is she okay?" and got a resounding "YES!!!".

So we met up whilst I was in London. We had coffee in the (very lovely) Charlotte Street Hotel and talked about books and self publishing and our favourite authors and how much we loved Mary Wesley and I thought "I like this person". But I was still a bit wary of signing away my freedom. It's the strangest thing. I'm sitting in a hotel talking books with an agent who has come looking for ME and I'm thinking well, she seems nice, but I'm really not sure. It's the literary equivalent of someone offering you a brand new Porsche and you saying 'thanks, but I'm more of an Aston Martin girl, I'll leave it'.

So I went out for tapas and wine with my sister and my friend Vic, and mused about it. By 10.30 I emailed Amanda and said okay, send me the contract so I can get Vic to read it over. (Luckily almost all my friends seem to be in the book world, one way or another.)

And that's how I found myself the next morning waiting for a bus in the rain.

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A bus to Notting Hill, like someone from a Richard Curtis film.

And then I was walking past Bloomsbury Square. Bloomsbury! Honestly, it couldn't be more like something out of a film.

We'll gloss over the fact that the reason I walked past Bloomsbury Square was that I was so enthralled with the whole I'm Actually In A Film thing that I completely missed the LBA office and had to walk back again.

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And then there I was, in the gorgeous, booky, just-how-you-imagine-it-should-be offices and I met everyone and they were all awfully nice and then Amanda and I (who were both a bit excited, actually, which is JUST why I knew she was the perfect person to be my agent, plus she likes gin, so that's A Good Thing) signed the contract.

And now the hard work starts...

(originally posted at http://rachaellucas.com)