Book Deal Announcement!!

Short story: My contemporary YA about an exceptionally gifted Muay Thai fighter who struggles between being a badass female athlete and an outsider to her Indian culture sold to Flux!

Also, this is my very first Publisher’s Weekly announcement! Squee! It’s definitely a moment for me. And as you can tell, the writer in me has a split personality: Sajni Patel for adult works and SA Patel for children’s.

theknockout

Long story: Whew! Ya’ll ready to sit down for this one? It’s no secret that I’ve been playing in this publishing field for a while, and that certain individuals and situations nearly broke me. I’d just parted ways with my former agent after a very neglectful relationship and realized the hard way who real friends were. I didn’t have it in me to keep my chin up and show them all the door. I was traumatized and depressed and took things so, so personally. Things had gotten so bad that I went into ten months of depression, ten months of creative darkness where I couldn’t write a single sentence. I honestly thought the creative juices had dried out for good and I prepared to live a life depleted of writing. Even looking at books, much less picking them up and reading them, felt like stabs to the heart, horrid gashes that reminded me that my words would never, ever see print. Not with this miserable journey to publication of mine. Somewhere during this time, itty, bitty nubs of story tried to blossom. My friend even agreed to collaborate with me. It was going to be brilliant and fun and just what I needed to pull myself out of this darkness. 

Until she told me that she’d decided to collaborate with someone else instead. And down I went, down that spiraling rabbit hole of bleakness.

I didn’t talk about this depression with anyone. I didn’t want to be that person who was always bringing others down, or that person who seemed to be so negative or constantly complained. And yeah, I do have a friend, who ironically goes through depression quite often, who often told me to suck it up and stop being negative. (PSA: don’t ever say this to a depressed person, or to me ever unless you want to see me break my usual mellow barrier to rage in 1.2 seconds.) So, I kept this to myself.

Ten months slowly went by and one day, I decided to say: screw it. Screw everyone who did me wrong. It was really only three people, but man, what a devastating dent they’d made. We all make mistakes, but I would not sacrifice to them one more minute of my happiness. Remember those buds of ideas that were supposed to develop into a collaboration? Well, they came back. Like, fast and furious. I suddenly had a creative ambush and I could not write fast enough. This book would be for me. It wouldn’t bother me if it didn’t get any love from agents or editors. This was my passion book, the book that brought me back to life. And no one, no situation, would ever diminish that fact.

One month later, I had a polished book. THE KNOCKOUT. Taken from my own experiences as a teen in mixed martial arts and my many emotional struggles of feeling like the outsider of my own culture. It was the end of 2017, so I decided to hold off querying agents until the new year. Come Jan 2nd, I was ready to fire off my queries. This time, I had a very short and selective list. I’d already had a horrible experience with an agent before. This time, I did not come to play. I came to get sh!t done. Rejections would not bother me. I would not feel devastated. I had crawled back up that jagged, slippery rabbit hole of depression and dragged my creativity up with me by the motha’ flerken (yes, that is a Marvel reference and a hat tip to Fury!) neck. We were armed with a steal wall of fortification and perseverance.

Forty-eight hours after querying, I received an offer. Then another. And another. Holy freaking crap. All from great agents who had a passion for my story as much as I did and a direction for me and my career. Things were happening, and they were happening fast. In the beginning of this new year, right as I was getting ready for my brother’s big, fat, Indian wedding, I signed with Katelyn Detweiler of JGLM. After some minor revisions, we sent TKO off.

In the interim, I wrote an MG and sold a two-book women’s fiction deal to Grand Central/Forever. The WF wasn’t even something that I thought had a chance. I didn’t expect to sub it, thought it was dead. So it was a wonderful surprise. The WF sold unexpectedly fast. I’m talking about two weeks right before Thanksgiving. My head hadn’t stopped spinning from the excitement when Flux reached out to us to tell us that TKO was going to acquisitions! And a few weeks later, an offer! Right before the end of the year. Kelsy and her team saw the potential in TKO and didn’t try to lump it into “just another sports story”. It’s so much more and I’m so grateful that they see it that way, too.

And yes, you read that correctly. It is now April 2019 and I’ve been sitting on this news since Dec. 2018. That may not be a long time compared to others, but that is a long time for me to keep my mouth shut. I can finally shout it to the world!

The book of my heart…

The book that brought me back to life…

The book that incinerated depression…

The book that made me believe again…

The book that landed my amazing agent…

That book has sold!!!

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