How a contest changed my life!
I know that sounds a little weird, how can a contest change my life? It’s simple. I spent three years looking for an agent. Most publishing houses require an author to have an agent. I wrote Spellbound in 2013. I loved it! I know you’re thinking ”It’s her book of course she loved it!” That is true, but it is more than that. I believed in my writing, in my story. I believed Spellbound was the next best seller! But after spending three years looking for an agent, and repeatedly being rejected, I was ready to give up. Finally, one agent asked to read the full manuscript for Spellbound. Anxiously, I waited for her to reply. I’m still waiting. She never reached out again. I did some research and found this was her normal behavior. I wish I had researched her before hand. Maybe then I wouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.
I was beginning to doubt how good my story was. Doubting myself was painful. What if I was wrong about how good I believed Spellbound was? What if the people I’d let read it were just saying it was good because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings? I found a company that would let me self publish for $500. I didn’t want to go that route but after all the rejections, I did it. I don’t know exactly what I thought would happen, but it didn’t. The only difference after I self published was a few of my friends bought a copy. No huge order to the big box chain bookstores. I was disappointed.
I should have been working on my second book in the series, but I was once more procrastinating, I saw a sponsored ad about a Christmas writing contest by Words Matter Publishing on Facebook. I had never heard of the company. I took a screenshot of the info to go back and look at another time. I forgot about it. A few days later there was the sponsored ad again. This time I read over the info. Even though I had no agent, and had self published, I was still eligible to enter. Once again I began to procrastinate. I remembered on the last day to enter. I bit the bullet so to speak and sent Spellbound in. Then I forgot all about it.
In January I remembered and went to check to see who had won. I found they were down to twenty-one and I was one. A few days later they cut a few more until they were down to their top sixteen. Over the next few days they went down to twelve, then eight. I stared at Spellbound‘s title listed on each page. I was afraid to get my hopes up. Then it was the top six, then the top three. I can’t tell you how shocked I was to see Spellbound listed there. I was speechless. The entire time I’m watching the countdown to the winner, I never mention it to my family. I didn’t want to jinx it. I know that sounds silly all things considered. The day I got the email that I was the winner I was speechless! It took me reading it a few times before I finally told my family about it. You know that feeling of wanting to keep something secret just for a while to make it feel more special? That’s how I felt seeing that email. It came with the publisher’s review.
There is something surreal about seeing your name as author on a book. All the hard work and time spent searching for an agent and the rejection letters were worth it for that moment. No matter how hard your fight is, don’t give up! If being a published author is your dream, fight for it! You never know when a simple contest may change your life!