The other morning I was delighted to see in my email a message from the 2007 Anne Bonney Fiction Contest Coordinator. My second book, Promises To Keep is a finalist in their annual contest. A list of the finalists will be posted on their website real soon. If you're interested, go to www.acrarwa.com and check it out.
Being a finalist is a great honor. A finalist of anything means one has worked hard and finally someone has taken notice. When my first book came out, Memories Trail, I had high hopes of some recognition, and although many proclaimed to have enjoyed my book, I didn't win any acclaim. But then I never sent it out to be judged, I waited months for my first review which was supposed to have come out before my book did. I was afraid to move on without a review. So I waited. What I didn't know, was the manuscript had been lost in the mail. So several months went by and I worked on, thinking I'd get a review soon. I asked my publisher, she said be patient. So I waited some more, worked on my next book, but didn't really pursue my first like I had planned. Why, I don't know, other than I felt I needed validation that my work was worhty of pushing onto others. So after another few months, I grew brave enough to write personally to the reviewer. She'd never received my manuscript, and asked me to send her the book instead. So after nearly a year, I received my first professional review and an interview with Midwest Book Review! It was fun, well worth waiting for and I became much thicker skinned, determined not to ever be a mouse waiting in a corner again.
Most fictional contests have a time frame worked into them, (usually one year from copyright date of the book) and Memories Trail was never entered into any contests; for that I am sorry. I feel I did my book and the great characters within it, an injustice.
I was better prepared when Promises To Keep came out. I found many contests I intended to enter. Then family illness put away trivial thoughts of contests and acclamation. Deadlines came and went and my book sat on my desk, going nowhere. And I didn't have time to think about the loss of not entering a contest.
One day last fall, I was wandering through sites writers like to frequent and stumbled upon a contest that Promises To Keep qualified for. With determination, I sent my three copies, paid my entry fee, and popped everything into the mail. Since that time, I have become much more diligent in looking for contests and giving them a try. If I hadn't, my upcoming novel, Promises My Love would never have been declared a winner either!
So 2008 is looking up! I've had the honor of winning twice and it's only March! I'm nearly giddy with excitement. People like my books! Imagine that! Folks like what I write. I could sit and write that all day long. I'm giggling as I write it. And what I want to share with you is not only my good news, but to tell you not to give up either!!!!! Keep writing, keep entering contests, keep searching for the contest where your work will be noticed, no matter the copyright date. Recently I found one that accepted older books and sent Memories Trail out. I feel much better having at least given it a chance to be a winner. Because just like the old saying, if you don't enter, your chances of winning are dismal!
As for the the Anne-Bonney Fictional Contest - winners will be announced sometime in June. In the meantime, feel free to pick up a book by DL Larson and read it!!
Til next time ~