Somehow, having one’s book honored in an awards contest is a bigger deal than you would think. I was surprised to find myself walking with a lighter step, smiling a little more, and wanting to share the news with everyone: Dare to Dream is a Finalist in the International Book Awards in the Fiction: Young Adult category!
The whole writing and publishing experience is akin to a birthing experience. Writing is not an easy process. Some days we sit and struggle with a few words, then after critique partners go through it, maybe we toss those hard-won words aside and start again.
Do we have a good enough opening to “hook” the reader? Does the story continue to flow throughout or does it lose momentum and sag in the middle? Are our characters “real” and people the reader can cheer on to achieve their goals? Is the ending satisfying?
Once you spend weeks, months, even years getting every word “just right,” then, with held breath and jittery anticipation, you send your baby out into the agent/publisher world, only to receive those “Thank you, but this is not right for us at this time” form rejections.
Rejection = dejection.
But, after you collect enough of those letters to wallpaper your office, maybe, just maybe one will be “Yes! We love your story and would like to publish your book.”
Cloud 99, here we come!
But the next step of the journey has just begun. Once you hold that “baby” in your hands–the first paper copy–then you have to get out there and “sell” it! Marketing is a whole ‘nother game, wearing a different hat. “Please buy my book. It’s great!” We creative types are not always good at putting ourselves out there and tooting our own horns. What to do? Social media, mail campaigns, Facebook events, speaking engagements, arts and crafts fairs, book signings.
All phases of this writing/publishing/marketing journey are hard work.
And so, if you receive some small recognition, like being a finalist in a contest, it is validation. And it gives that small push to keep on doing it!