Novel + Sold = Best Birthday present EVER

I’ll start with the important stuff. Shades of Milk and Honey, my Jane Austen with magic novel, has sold to Liz Gorinsky at Tor in a two-book deal. My fabulous agent, Jennifer Jackson, and I have been sitting on this news for a little over a week while we worked out details. Hardest thing ever. It was like having a birthday present that I could pick up and shake but not open.

So today, I was sitting in a Thai restaurant with John Scalzi when the phone rang. Normally, I ignore it when I’m on social time, but I had it out because I was on call for the theater. Needless to say, I’m glad that I picked the phone up because Jenn told me the amazing, amazing news that we’ve sold not just one book, but two books. John immediately turned and announced it to everyone in the restaurant and they all clapped. I’m still blushing.

Last week, Jenn called with the initial news while I was frantically mixing disappearing blood for the theater. So I was squealing with excitement while measuring ingredients into a beaker. Then had to run down there without being able to tell anyone. Well… I called my parents, clearly. Here’s what I wrote on the subway after the call.

I’m writing this on the subway on my way to the theater. It’ll be a week or more before you get to read it, but I’m simply bursting. I just got off the phone with my wonderful agent, Jennifer Jackson, who let me know that Liz Gorinsky, at Tor, has made an offer for Shades of Milk and Honey.


There are all these people on the train and I’m surprised that they can’t tell that I’ve just SOLD A NOVEL because I’m glowing. Since it’s still in the offer stage, it’s a secret beyond telling a few friends and family but I want to turn to the man sitting next to me on the train and say, “Excuse me. You don’t know me, but I just found out that I’ve sold my first novel and I had to tell someone.” Heck, I want to tell EVERYBODY.

I’ve called my parents, of course, but Rob doesn’t know yet, because he’s at work. Tonight is a late night for him, he won’t get off work until three. How in the world am I going to contain myself until he gets home?

ooo… Weeping with joy on the subway would probably be a bad plan. But I’m so thrilled. So very thrilled that I don’t think my vocabulary is large enough to express it. On the other hand, it can be summed up as, “I sold my first novel!”

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183 thoughts on “Novel + Sold = Best Birthday present EVER”

  1. Congratulations! And I think that’s the cutest thing that John announced it to the restaurant!

    May I ask, is it literally a Jane Austen with magic novel (i.e. Jane’s a character, or it’s based on Austen characters?), or do you mean that it’s in the style of Austen?

      1. omg, congratulations! That’s awesome!!

        I’m totally reading this. And not just because I know you! It sounds like a totally brilliant book.

  2. Wow, sounds great! Can’t wait to read it. Congrats to you and Happy Birthday!

    If you don’t mind me asking, is it a series of books or two entirely separate novels?

  3. *smiles* Only surprised it didn’t happen sooner, because you’re damn well brilliant in novel form.

    Now the only question I have is…WHEN IS IT COMING OUT OMG. Must go camp out on Borders’ doorstep the day of!

  4. Congratulations to both you and your amazing agent! I’m glad you finally got to share the good news (now with bonus second book), and that Jenn got to call to tell you the deal was settled while you were out with Scalzi, so he could appropriately embarrass you.

    Woohooooo! This is *so* awesome!

  5. So awesomely awesome with a side order of awesome and win(!) for dessert—with awesome sauce and awesome sprinkles.

    …and it couldn’t happen to a better person as a better birthday gift.


  6. Hooray!! You talked about this novel on the morning Denvention strolls, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting this news. Double awesome with a side of hot fudge sauce!

  7. Way to go, Mary Robinette. I can’t wait to read your novel. If it’s as good as your short stories, the reading world is in for a treat. Is Tor releasing it as an adult title or a cross-over?

  8. There are all these people on the train and I’m surprised that they can’t tell that I’ve just SOLD A NOVEL because I’m glowing. Since it’s still in the offer stage, it’s a secret beyond telling a few friends and family but I want to turn to the man sitting next to me on the train and say, “Excuse me. You don’t know me, but I just found out that I’ve sold my first novel and I had to tell someone.” Heck, I want to tell EVERYBODY.

    I know the feeling. I found out about my sale at work, in the middle of a Very Serious Planning Retreat, and had to sit there ALL DAY with my Very Serious Director Face on, and say Very Serious Things about strategy and mission and blah blah blah, when all the while I wanted to turn cartwheels and gibber.

    But it’s such a great feeling, isn’t it? =) Savor the hell out of it. Congratulations!

  9. Congrats, congrats, congrats! A long time a-comin’, and I totally could not be more happy for you right now. Well, no, that’s not true. I’d be happier for you if you got a two-book deal, $300 million in gold bullion, and a lifetime supply of fried chicken. But short of that, couldn’t be happier.

    {Mmmm… fried chicken.)

  10. Mary,

    Awesome. Congrats. I’ll totally look forward to it!

    I’m actually teaching a class on Popular Fiction at Cal State right now. Last week I had them listen to Rampion. This week we’ll talk, and I’ll tell them to look for the novel (eventually)!

    Very pleased for you.


  11. And now, finally, you can exhale and spread the glorious news far and wide! But WAIT, I want more details about this TWO book deal please…

    and, any chance I can get you to sign my copies?

    love and congratulations, you clever girl

  12. Oh, what wonderful news! And I have to laugh at the similarity to my own story–I found out that Jessica Wade at Penguin was offering on my first book on October 22, 2008–my own birthday! Of course, I also said best birthday ever! Congratulations!

  13. I reserve the right to be the first to say I knew her when she was merely a talented puppeteer!!! Now she’s a soon-to-be-published novelist!!!


  14. That’s wonderful. Congratulations. I’m so happy for you. Can’t wait for the novel to be published so I can read it.

  15. Just on the basis of what I have read of your work to date this one would have been on the “to buy” list immediately. The “Jane Austen with magic” is just a bonus! Congratulations.

  16. It aims to be the novel that Jane Austen would write if she lived in a world where magic actually worked. I would read a chapter of Persuasion and then write a chapter of this.

    Sounds wonderful! Congratulations!!!

  17. I’m here via Whatever, and he’s right: best news within an unspecified period of time for me! I love Austen, and I love the magic-in-Regency concept, so I am already hopping up and down and wanting these books in my hands. Now, please. Nownownow.

    I have no idea how you sat on that news for a week without exploding. How sweet it must be to release it into the wild!

  18. And to quote Dr Who again – Brilliant!
    Very many congratulations to you. I look forward to reading it.

  19. Mary!!!! I am SO HAPPY FOR YOU!! I am getting teary just thinking about it. I just can’t help but to think of the big picture and how long you’ve been working towards this. What an honor to be picked up by Tor, I remember when you sold your first short story and how exciting THAT was! Milestones and Markers. Congratulations. Now we’ve all got to start reading your excerpts right away so we’re not the last bozos on the bus. XOXOXO So much love. Y

  20. Yay! Congratulations. I’m so thrilled for you.

    (and for me because I’ll finally get to read it)

  21. congrats! That is great news!
    That is a wonderful birthday present.
    I’ll see you next month in Philly at the PSFS meeting.

  22. Woohoo! Congratulations! *throws confetti* That is amazing, wonderful news! I’m so very impressed that you could go so long without saying anything. I’ll still say it (because I haven’t yet, but it’s obviously true) Happy Birthday!

  23. Just wrap up all the prior comments with a big ribbon and then…
    whack it with a baseball bat like a pinata so it pours out all over again. Yippee!!!!

    Way to go MRK, I’m glad you’re getting the recognition your talent deserves and we get
    to have another source for good stuff to read. I’ve got to tell you that the things you read in San Francisco(wasn’t there, heard later at John’s place) were top drawer. way to go

  24. John Scalzi sent me to add to the congratulations. May this be only the first of many, many more. I love Shades of Milk and Honey as a title, btw; it’s so evocative.

  25. What superb news! Congratulations to you, and to us, we who are going to get to read these books!

  26. oh, this rocks. came here from Scalzi’s site —
    and totally look forward to reading this! excellent, and congratulations!

  27. Fran-friggin’-tastic. Congrats. And I say shout it out to the world on the train and bus.

    And mostly, loudly, to all those who asked, “Why would you want to write?” Call them up at 3 in the morning to tell them.

  28. Caught the link at Whatever and very glad I did. Congrats on the great news and it’s a twofer at that. cue happy, happy, snoopy dance. 😉

  29. Woohoo….congratulations again, Mary! I’m glad that Jenn got to call you during your lunch with Scalzi, and that he properly embarrassed you. Oh, and hurray for the second book getting added!

  30. Yayyyy!!!!!!!!! Mary, it couldn’t happen to a nicer person. I know how long this has been a dream of yours, and it is so wonderful to see it realized. I can’t wait to read it. I hope you’ll write something nice in it when I come to the book signing.


  31. Just got the news through SFScope — many, many, many congratulations! I can’t wait to read the book.

  32. Congratulations! I look forward to buying it, reading it, lending it.

    By synchronicity, I was in between seeing my Department Chairman (Ph>d., Math) and my Division Chairman (M.D., Ph.D.) at the grad school where I’m getting a new teaching credential, and a clerk asked what was the best birthday present I’d ever gotten. “The one where I turned 100 and a magic spell made me young again,” I said, and she cracked up.

    See? You’re spreading joy through the sub-aether. Double congrats.

  33. Congratulations! What exciting news, and like many ofthe other postes, it sounds like a book I shall want to read when it comes out. Enjoy the excitement!

  34. Hearty congrats! You do deserve this, Mary. A wonderful writer and person. A great idea and totally you. And judging by all these comments you’ve sold your first 100 copies.

  35. In a weird twist of parallel birthday fate, my agent informed me yesterday (which was my birthday as well) that my novel is going on submission this week! Congratulations on your sale. I hope the publishing gods are as kind to me!

  36. Here, have one more drop in the sea of Congratulations! 😀

    So when’s the first book coming out? Tomorrow?? ;D

  37. Scalzi seems pretty proud of you. And despite the bacon fixation, he seems pretty normal. So if he approves, you must be darned good.

    I am looking forward to seeing your new book on the shelves of my local Indie Bookstore.

    Congratulations on the two book deal!

  38. It was only a matter of time!


    I’ll be at the head of the long line of folks waiting to buy it!

  39. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! One of the best feelings in the world, isn’t it, to find out that you’ve sold?!! Especially in this crazy market. I was incommunicado in Costa Rica two weeks ago when an urgent CALL ME!!! email downloaded on my phone as we drove through a fleeting wifi hotspot area. Then I was incommunicado for another 3 hours before I could find a place to email, then call her to learn the great news! Enjoy the afterglow 😉

  40. Congratulations! I can feel your glow coming through the screen…or maybe there’s something wrong with my monitor. Either way, congratulations!

  41. Well done!Well deserved.Since I first came across your work(Evil Robot Monkey)and sent my first and only fan e-mail the quality of your writing has stood out.Now comes the recognition.Onward and upward! J.S.

  42. Congratulations! I read & enjoyed yr online version, and look forward very much to getting the analog version when it hits bookstores.

  43. Congratulations for getting published! We need more NaNo novels to hit store shelves! And two books at that.

    I may very well need a bigger bookshelf!

      1. My nanos both need so much work, they actually need rewrites.
        I’m tackling at least one of them during edmo, maybe both.

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