I went over to peruse the ABNA boards today, because it’s March 22, and that means that the next round of finalists went up this morning. (They are getting much better at doing that early in the day, even for us East Coasters)!
Amazingly enough, it was kind of nice to not be all stressed out about what I’d find. I didn’t even feel compelled to check the lists – because, since I got cut in the first round, obviously my name wasn’t going to be on it. (Ok, I’ll admit, I did check the YA list… just on the off chance that there was some kind of mistake on the first one). But I wasn’t worried about it.
Would I have loved to get the feedback that comes from making it to the second round? Of course. Can I get that feedback anyway? Well, I do have a friend who made it to “Vine Reviewer” status on amazon… she didn’t get asked to be an ABNA judge… but she’s as qualified as they are. And she’ll give me a nice review, because she thinks my book is awesome.
Moving on… I’m sure I’ll enter next year, because it’s fun. But if I never make it past round two… it doesn’t really matter. It’s not a REAL fantastic method for measuring whether or not your book will succeed. I know enough people who have read and enjoyed my books, and there are people I DON’T know who have read and enjoyed my books, and most importantly I enjoy my books… so I’ll stick with them. However, I’m beginning to see the up-side to sticking with self-publishing… mostly because my family is setting up a marketing/media company, and I’m thinking that using that company to promote/sell my books while retaining all rights to them might be what I would most enjoy doing. Besides, form rejection letters are depressing. I’m thinking about submitting my ms to DAW though, they still accept unsolicited/unagented submissions… shot in the dark, but it might be fun… just to see.
The sound of the window opening behind him made the old man’s head jerk around. He stood up, a towering figure in the small room and glared at the young man who had just dropped lightly through the window, throwing up a cloud of dust as he landed on the unswept floor. The boy looked around, his brown eyes curious and his sandy brown hair a little unkempt from the long climb and the winds near the top of the tower.
“What are you doing in my tower?” The old man’s voice filled up the room and Grayden looked up, his eyes widening in shock.
“Do you… do you live up here?”
“You have not answered my question,” the old man raised up his cane and pointed it at the boy’s chest threateningly. “Now, tell me truly, how did you get in and why are you here?”
“I’m s-sorry, sir. I didn’t know anyone lived up here. How… how do you get food?”
“ANSWER MY QUESTION!”
“Oh, right. I… uh… well, I climbed up the tower.”
The old man strode over to the window and looked down, then he looked at the boy, disbelief in his sharp blue eyes. “You could see the tower?”
Grayden frowned in confusion, “Uh… yes. The tower has been standing on the border of our village for as long as anyone can remember.”
“That’s not possible,” the old man muttered. He looked out the window again. “Is that your friend down there?”
“And he can see the tower too?”
“Sir, everyone I know can see the tower. Why?”
The old man stared about frantically, at a loss for words. Grayden gave a small shake of his head and looked around the room. Something in front of him caught his eye and he moved towards it.
“What is that?” He asked quietly, stretching out his hand towards the glowing blue orb on the table.
“DO NOT TOUCH THAT.”
Grayden snatched his hand back and stared at the old man, wide-eyed. The old man strode to the table and stared into the orb. Then he straightened and his voice was suddenly quiet and terrible.
“What have you done?”
“I… I’m not sure I know what you mean, sir.” Grayden was beginning to wish he had never climbed the tower wall.
“Look at it!” The man pointed at the orb.
Grayden approached cautiously and bent towards the table, peering at the orb. It was mostly blue, but thin lines of red swirled within the glass like tiny, hairline fractures on its surface.
“Please, sir, I don’t understand.”
“Those red lines should not be there. What have you done?”
“I didn’t do anything! I didn’t even touch it, I just climbed your tower, I’m sorry for intruding, I’ll leave now.”
“Oh no you don’t,” the old man’s voice was stern, but gentler now. “It may not be your fault, but you’re caught up in it now. I must find out what is happening,” he paused and shuddered, “out there.”
Title for this book coming soon!
I have been musing this past week or so about the blessings in my life. The one that came to mind the most often recently is the encouragement and support that I find myself surrounded by on every side. As I took part in the discussion boards for the writing contest I was struck by how many of the authors over there hadn’t told their families and friends that they had written a novel. They were scared of being made fun of, scared that their families and friends would offer harsh criticism, or worried that those closest to them wouldn’t even care or be at all supportive of their endeavor. I was, honestly, shocked and appalled by some of the stories that they shared about how their novels were received by family and friends: the unkind remarks that were made, the discouraging comments, the criticism they were subjected to by those who were supposed to be their biggest fans. One woman talked about how her husband “tolerated” her writing and referred to it to his friends as “her little hobby.”
It made me stop and thank the Lord for the people He has put in my life. I am truly blessed. I started writing because my Dad encouraged me to do so. He gave me the motivation to sit down and write an entire novel in a summer. He has been one of my biggest fans throughout my entire life, no matter what I set out to do. My Mom doesn’t normally read the genre I write (fantasy), but she reads my books, and she cheers me on by leaving me nice reviews on amazon, comments on my blog, facebook, and sending me emails to encourage me. I never feel alone with her on my side.
My brothers and sister constantly begged me to write more of the series. They refer my books to all their friends. They also leave me reviews, encourage me when I hit writer’s block or get cut from the ABNA, and are generally there for me whenever I need them.
My husband absolutely believes that one day I will be the money-maker in our home due to my books. He constantly encourages me to write new stories, and helps me when I need technical advice. He draws maps and helps me think through battle strategies when I have battle scenes in my books. He often gives me time in the evenings if I want to write.
My friends think it’s super-cool that I write. They have offered their services as proof-readers, editors, book cover designers, and self-proclaimed publicists. Some have even bought my books, most have recommended them to friends.
I only hope that someday I can encourage each and every one of the people in my life the way that they have encouraged me. I am awed to silence when I consider how incredibly blessed I am. Compared to the people God has placed in my life, and the love that I am surrounded by, a couple of rejection letters don’t even register.
Or, rather, today is a new day.
Yesterday was kind of a bummer on the writing front. I got cut from the contest at the pitch stage… which means I got cut based on a 300-word synopsis that was supposed to explain what my book is about and make people want to read more. I had gotten a lot of feedback on my pitch, and was told by a few people I don’t even know that if my pitch didn’t make it, they didn’t know what would. Which made me feel a little more on the confident side than I was last year. So getting cut was a little rough.
However, I am an eternal optimist, and staying blue just isn’t in my nature. (the fact that I sold a copy of each of my books last night/this morning doesn’t hurt, either). I didn’t let the day close before I had submitted a query to an agent. I also have found at least a dozen or so other agents that I plan to query in the next few days/weeks.
I do have to get a synopsis written. I had one, but then I re-wrote my entire novel… the synopsis is still mostly accurate, but I should probably write a new/current one.
So for now, it’s onward and upward!