Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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March 21, 2012

Hitting The New York Times Bestselling List

Writers In The Storm is very excited to welcome New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin. Since 1985, she has published over fifty Historical, Contemporary Romance and Suspense novels. She resides in Missoula, Montana with her husband, Larry Jay Martin who has published many Westerns and Mysteries as well as five non-fiction books. While Kat's success has been phenomenal, she admits that like everyone else in the business, she's had her share of bumps and bruises on the way to publication.

By Kat Martin

Twenty five years ago when I first started writing, my goal was to become a successful author. I wanted to be able to quit my real estate job and write full time. Fortunately, with my husband still working, I was able to make that happen fairly quickly.

Still, when I finally I sold my first book after months of trying and numerous rejections, I earned the whopping sum of four thousand dollars--not much money for a year and a half of working ten hours a day!  But I never lost faith. I thought, “I can do this--I know I can.”

I think one of the toughest things about being an author is continuing to believe in yourself. Insecurities swamp you. Is this book any good?  Is this book as good as the last one?  Will my readers like it?  Will the publisher renew my contract?

After twenty five years, those questions remain. It’s only sheer force of will that keeps a writer pounding the keyboard, sheer determination that keeps an author from quitting.

Shar asked me to tell you some of the stumbling blocks I faced as my career progressed. I’ve worked for seven publishers, had six different agents. On my first book, I was rejected by every publisher in New York, then was picked up by Pageant Books and made a lead title. Unfortunately, Pageant went out of business six months later. Again, I was rejected by every publisher in New York Finally Berkeley picked up Book number four (I didn’t stop writing just because I didn’t have a publisher) and made it a lead title.  They went back and picked up books two and book three.

The money was miniscule and my husband and I were rapidly going broke. I went to another publisher who will remain unnamed for three books, they never kept one promise they made me I went to another publisher. They gave me the worst cover I’ve ever had in the business. I left and went to another publisher. It has always been an uphill battle and if you want the truth, it still is.

So when I hit the New York Times top twenty, the printed list as opposed to the extended list, which I had been on a number of times, it was the kind of validation that keeps a writer going.

Someone must like these books, I thought Ohmygod, it’s really selling!  It was a thrill to get that phone call--a notification that usually comes late on a Wednesday night. I got one of those calls this last Wednesday.

AGAINST THE NIGHT made the list!” my agent said “You’re #13 on the New York Times!”

It’s a real moment for an author, the thrill of a lifetime. I had made the Times list before for RULES BRIDE, my last Victorian Historical, but these books are different.

My heart is in these books I feel as if I have finally found my calling--after more than fifty novels I started with AGAINST THE WIND, AGAINST THE FIRE, and AGAINST THE LAW, loving not only the brothers, Jackson, Gabe, and Devlin, but the ladies who snared these hunky men.

When I finished all three of them, I didn’t want to let go.

So I didn’t.

So far five AGAINST books have been released, AGAINST THE NIGHT being the latest It’s Johnnie Riggs’s story, a fish out of water tale about a kindergarten teacher who braves the LA underworld to find her missing sister Disgusing herself as Angel Fontaine, Amy Brewer goes undercover as a pole dancer in a strip club.

It’s a romp that starts on L.A.’s Sunset Blvdand travels all the way to the tropical jungles of Belize, a fast-paced, high-action, hot-blooded adventure I absolutely  loved writing.

After that, AGAINST THE SUN, Jake Cantrell’s story, another fast-paced, high-action tale, will be out the end of May Once more I’ll be on pins and needles waiting for that Wednesday night call and praying it comes.

I’m hoping readers will continue to enjoy the series--which will give me the chance to continue writing them. If you haven’t read AGAINST THE NIGHT, I hope you’ll look for it And I hope all of you will continue down your writers’ road to success and get your own spot on the New York Times.

Until then, happy reading and all best wishes, Kat.

Kat's Links:

Her website with a list of all her books
Against The Night Video
Against The Night excerpt

0 comments on “Hitting The New York Times Bestselling List”

  1. It's always encouraging to read of a very successful author's 'bumps and bruises.' I enjoyed your story, Kat, and I've read a number of your books. Hopefully, one day I will join you on the Best Seller's list. Best of luck with your books.

  2. Wow, Cat, you burst my bubble! Looking at it front the outside, you want to think that once you make it to the top of the mountain, the view is beautiful, the wind in your hair, birds sing . . .

    Life it perfect.

    I don't know if I'm now happy -- or sad!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kat, it is a thrill to see you here at WITS. What I hear is your dogged determination, and more, your real love of the craft. I truly believe that when readers connect there can be magic. Also, readers love series, grow to love or be curious about the characters, the supporting characters and the over-all flavor they find in each new installment. If I stumble on a series in the middle and I fall in love, I always to back to book one to find out how it all began. You rock on !!

  4. It's great to hear a story like yours and congratulations on your success! So many of us would like to see even a smidgeon of that! And your AGAINST series sounds like the kind of book I'd love to read as well. Thank you for telling us about your journey.

  5. Thank you for posting today, Kat. The self-doubt demons do run amok on occasion, but it's comforting to know every writer goes through that cycle. "Sheer force of will" is so right!

  6. great comments from you all and I hear a lot of determination out there! If any of you are going to be at the RT conference in Chicago, I hope you will say hello. in the meantime, don''t let those self-doubt demons--or those brutal publishers--get you down. kat

  7. I won't be at RT in Chicago, but I do hope to meet you at RWA in Anaheim, which will be here in our back yard. Thanks for the fantastic post! I hear that determination too, and you have my warmest congratulations. Making the NYT list is a pinnacle for me.

  8. I'm such a fan, Kat, and have most of your suspense novels on the book shelf and read Against the Fire on my Nook. Great series. I'll be here for all of them. I've been reading on various blogs lately about the importance of keeping the faith and not giving up. Yes, it's discouraging in a way to read of your journey, but it's a reminder to us to "keep on keeping on." I used that phrase as the theme for my chapter newsletter president articles last year. We're the only ones who can stop us. I'm delighted you're on such a role. That means lots of good reading ahead for me and your other fans. Great job, Char, getting Kat here.

  9. Jenny-- if youd don't see me at RWA, leave me at note at the desk. love to meet you and best of luck with your writing. for you guys who hate the bad news, blame Shar! I usually leave the depressing stuff out but she wanted me to put it in. kat ps. (sorry, Shar you are on the hook now!) k

    1. Well I think people are more encouraged to know they aren't the only ones that have to jump through hoops, that even the big names had to pay their dues. 🙂
      Shar who is replying with a plastic cup taped to eye--that's devotion! 😉

  10. Shar and Char? Are there two of you guys or am I an idiot and spelling the name wrong? Sharla Rae-- take care of that eye and thanks for dropping by! love ya, kat

    1. Sorry Kat. Shar is my writing name. But most of my writing pals know me as Char so e-mails come to you as Char (real name) and I write professionally on this sight as Shar. It gets worse. I'm also called Charlie. 🙂

  11. Kat, I own 28 books by you unless someone else used your name. After finding and reading one or your "Necklace" books I was hooked. Many of them I had to buy used after I read a couple and went looking for more. I have four of your 'Against the' books. Unfortunitely I don't have the Against the wind book, but will be looking for it anytime I can get a ride out of town. No book stores in my neck of the woods only a small WalMart and I have no car. But never fear, There are readers who love your books.

  12. hi, Sharon! I've written over 50 books--no help on them except advice from my hubby. Lots of years of hardwork. So glad you are enjoying and hope you like Against the Wind. Big Jake Cantrell is the hero in Against the Sun, which is out the end of May. warmest, kat

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