[This is part 1 of a summary of Spookygirl’s journey toward publication. Use the Progress tag to access all related entries.]
So! As I’ve said before, I’m a pretty awful blogger. I’m a quiet person; I don’t like searching for things to say just for the sake of saying something. However, with the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest underway, now’s as good as time as any to talk about my experience with the 2011 contest and what's happened since.
Best of luck to those participating this year! And thank you to Cara Bertrand for nudging me to get going with this. ;)
So anyway, that contest-thingie last year . . . I admit it – I entered on a whim. I had a little experience with the contest; in 2009 I entered another manuscript and made it through the pitch round. I don’t even remember how I found out the 2011 contest was accepting entries; I just know I had a surgery scheduled a few days before the end of the entry period, so I tossed together my entry quickly and didn’t think too much of it. Spookygirl itself was ready to go; I wrote it in 2007, revised it in 2008, and shopped it around (unsuccessfully, obviously) to literary agents after that. My pitch was a revised version of my query letter; my excerpt was my first chapter. I tossed up my entry, fussed with it a little, and didn’t think too much of it for a while.
When I made it past the pitch round, I didn’t even bother telling anyone. I'd gotten that far before, after all. I decided to wait and see what happened.
Making it through to the quarter-finals was a little more exciting. I was playing hooky from work the day the announcement was made; I had lunch with a friend, and then she and I browsed the closing sale at our local Borders. (I picked up the first four Dexter novels.) Before I left the parking lot, I checked my email on my phone and started squealing when I found out I’d made the cut. My reaction when I made it through to the semi-finals was more of the same – crazypants squealing. Reading the positive reviews along the way from Amazon Vine reviewers and Publishers Weekly prompted even more squeals.
(Yeah, I squeal a lot. And squeak. And squee.)
Then came the day the finalists would be announced. I didn’t think for a second I’d actually make it that far . . . but I kept my phone by my side all morning, just in case.
I don’t like phones. I rarely talk on them. I never answer them. But that day I answered. I was a finalist, and I’d be traveling to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters for the announcement of the winners.
There was more squealing. It was loud enough to send my cat racing to the closet, where she hid for the rest of the day.
Up next: The final round