Friday, March 11, 2016

My first Precious Gems was my first published novel by Jan Scarbrough

Back in the day when personal email was in its infancy, I attended the 1996 RWA convention in Dallas and heard about a new line from Kensington called Precious Gems. Published authors, now called traditionally published authors, were greatly offended. How could a publisher offer only a $2,000 flat fee for a 50,000-word book? Who would be stupid enough to sell a manuscript for that little money, no advance and no royalties?

Well, many of us were that stupid. In 1998, I became a “published” author, and I was glad of it.

One of the two first novels I had written was an 85,000 word romantic suspense called Never Too Late. My friend in the Kentucky Romance Writers had just sold a book to Kensington Precious Gems. Send in your manuscript Maddie James told me. Kensington really needs manuscripts.

But my manuscript was 35,000 words too long. Kensington only wanted 50,000 words and the manuscript had to be complete. So I sliced off those 35,000 words and the suspense sub-plot and shipped the manuscript to New York City.

I don’t remember the exact moment of “the call.” I do remember the editing process. My love scene was very bland and editor Hilary Sares added a few descriptive words to spice it up. This led my mother to tell all her gray-haired friends “the editor wrote the love scene.”

My title was changed to Reunited. The popular model John Desalvo was on the cover. I was excited and proud. I was finally “published.”

In my next blog, I’ll tell you what happened to Reunited after Kensington returned my rights.


Jan Scarbrough is the author of the popular Bluegrass Reunion series, writing heartwarming contemporary romances about family and second chances, and if the plot allows—horses. Living in the horse country of Kentucky makes it easy for Jan to add small town, Southern charm to her books, and the excitement of a horse race or a competitive horse show. A member of Novelist, Inc., Jan has published with Kensington, Five Star, ImaJinn Books, Resplendence Publishing and Turquoise Morning Press.


  1. I loved this book! I never missed those 35K words. :-)

  2. Fun post, Jan! I remember those old KYRW days fondly. We both found a publishing home with Kensington for a while, and our careers were launched. And oh, the Walmart booksignings... :)

  3. LOL about the love scene, Jan. My grandmother used to call them "earthy" scenes. :-)

  4. Maddie, I loved your description of our Walmart booksignings. I think you blogged about it once. Liz, Glad you liked Reunited. I especially loved the cover model! Becky, LOL! Mine was far from earthy.

  5. Jan, interested to read your next post about regaining your rights...something I should have done long ago and now have no excuse for not doing. Oh, those memories of the Walmart booksignings!

  6. Jan, I can't wait to read "the rest of the story."


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