I wrote my romance novel Return to Me years ago and after being in a writing group and getting it polished, I put it in my bottom drawer. While I told myself that I didn't want to be a romance writer, the real reason I didn't submit is because I was scared.
This was the first novel that I had ever written and it took 3 years of hard work and a lot of sweat and tears to complete it. I was too scared to actually go through with submission and see what would happen. I started working on other things and forgot it about it.
A few years later when I saw the changing publishing landscape with digital imprints springing up and self published authors succeeding I revisited my first novel. I printed it off, read it all again, and decided that it wasn't good enough. Back it went into that bottom drawer.
Then I was participating in Nano, ideas started flowing about things I might want to write, and I saw that publishers were seeking Nano participants to submit straight after they completed their manuscripts. Now I knew my novel was pretty polished so I did an impulsive thing and submitted.
Suddenly it was real. I had actually submitted my novel. There might be a possibility of it being accepted, and there might be the possibility of it being rejected. So I contacted my agent and told her what I did and we went from there. She submitted it to a few publishers and pretty soon we had a publisher expressing interest in making an offer, but they requested some revisions first.
I started revising my novel and we got the green light and a real life actual offer. I did it. I was actually going to have this first novel published. Then I got a few rejections, and then another offer. I was now in the position of being able to choose who I would publish with.
I chose PanMacMillan's Momentum. So now I'm waiting on the contract and all the fine print. In the meantime I've started my second romance novel that I'm really excited about writing. It's an idea I've had for years and years and it's wonderful to finally see it come to life.