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Big Publishing News: Book Contract!

Signing my Contract!

I’m finally able to share publicly the big news that’s been brewing for the last few months. I have a book deal! Here’s official announcement in Publishers Marketplace:


Sarah Warburton's debut ONCE TWO SISTERS, centered around two sisters; when one goes missing and the clues point to the other, the one left behind has to prove her innocence by dredging up secrets and memories that are better left in the past, to Terri Bischoff at Crooked Lane, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2020, by Melissa Jeglinski at The Knight Agency (world).

How did this happen?

When I had Once Two Sister as polished as I could make it and I’d run it through critique groups and writing partners, I started looking for an agent. I used two different approaches. The first was “cold query” or sending email queries to agents I hadn’t met, and the other was searching for agents to whom I could make my pitch in person. I know writers who’ve found agents both ways, but I was fortunate enough to meet Melissa Jeglinski at a one-day writers conference in Charlotte, NC and we hit it off immediately. When she called to talk about my novel, I felt like I’d known her for ages, and her mix of professionalism and encouragement was perfect.

She did have some notes for revising the manuscript, and they were spot on. Not easy, not insubstantial, but spot on. The kind of critique that brought my novel closer to my initial vision for it. I spent the summer doing the work, and we were both pleased with the results.

And then she started submitting to publishers, while I kept working on my next novel. (My number one rule for being a professional writer? There’s always a next novel).

On Election Day (after I voted!) my daughter and I met up with some friends for a trip to visit a new yarn shop, some antique stores, and have lunch. Then on our way back, I’d promised a back-to-school wardrobe refresher for my daughter and some art supplies. During lunch I realized I’d left my phone in the car. When I got it back, I’d missed a call from Melissa, and I had an email from her saying, “It’s about your book.”

Readers, I lost my mind. It turns out I have a fair bit of free-floating generalized anxiety. Maybe nobody wanted my book. Maybe my agent was giving up. Maybe this had all been an elaborate hoax.

But my daughter was in the car and we had a thirty minute drive to get back to our hometown. So I sucked it up and drove. When we got to a certain Big Box arts and crafts store, I handed her a shopping basket and sent her off, and then I called Melissa.

And learned I had a two-book deal from a publisher specializing in Mystery, Crime, and Thrillers! Melissa said they loved my book, that they had great distribution, that they wanted to bring it out in HARDCOVER in the FALL OF 2020!


Since that time, Melissa negotiated and vetted the contract while I waited (and wrote).

The day that I received my contract, I was in our local library, working on my new novel. Note to all: the library is a great place to do quiet work, but not the best choice for noisy celebration. It is, however, an ideal place to run around and find other books from your NEW PUBLISHER!

The team at Crooked Lane Books has been extremely welcoming. They’re keeping my original title, Once Two Sisters and are working on the cover design, which I’ll reveal here as soon as it’s ready. And my insightful editor, Terri Bischoff, has given me encouragement, as well as some valuable notes to make the book even better. Currently the publication date is set as August 11, 2020, but I hear that’s subject to change. You can pre-order the book sans cover design on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Random House, Kobo, and IndieBound.

Stay tuned for cover reveals, giveaways, and other excitement as we get closer to the publication date.

Until then, I’ll be writing….

Daisy is exhausted!

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