Friday, February 10, 2012

The Road to Publication: Part Three

[This is part 3 of a summary of Spookygirl’s journey toward publication. Use the Progress tag to access all related entries.

The Seattle trip was fantastic – Thom Kephart of Amazon could not have done a better job keeping everything organized. My fellow finalists and I (along with our guests, and representatives from Amazon, CreateSpace, and Penguin) were treated to a fantastic dinner at the Purple Café and Wine Bar. And my mother and I – both total newbies to the city – had plenty of time for sightseeing and doing the whole tourist thing.

(Yes, we saw the Space Needle. No, we did not go up to the top.)

But you didn’t come to this blog for touristy stuff, right?

To be honest, my memory of the awards breakfast is somewhat of a blur. We were shuttled over to Amazon’s headquarters, where we mingled over breakfast for a little while. Well, we were supposed to mingle over breakfast. I was way too nervous even for coffee. I’m pretty sure all six of us were dying to hear the news no matter what it was.

Photo courtesy of Thom Kephart
The awards ceremony started with opening remarks from Thom. Then, one by one, each finalist was invited up to give a short speech and read an excerpt.

(Memo to future finalists: Feel free to be creative with the excerpt you read. Choose whatever bit of your manuscript you feel like sharing. I thought sticking with the beginning of my story would be safest, but once I realized most of the other finalists hadn’t done that, I wished I’d chosen differently. I would've loved to read a little of Violet's faux séance, or her interaction with the jocks and Dead Dirk.)

Then it was time for the winners to be announced. I seriously barely remember any of it; I heard my name, and I was given my award, and I shook hands with people, and I couldn’t stop smiling, and I tried my best not to pass out. Photos were taken. My contract was explained to me. I texted people and announced the news on Facebook.

I didn’t stop shaking for hours. I’m shaking again now, just from remembering.

I keep a mental list of my five best days ever. June 13, 2011 is at the top of the list now – better than sneaking onto the seaQuest set back in 1994, better than scaring Hugh Jackman with a My Little Pony. Best. Day. Ever.

Up next: So what happens after the contest?


  1. Jill, I'm in the contest this year for the third time and I think this blog is wonderful. I can't say how much I appreciate your POV. I may never make it to the finals but now I have some clarity to my daydreams of making to Seattle.

    Keep posting. And I will keep reading.

    Best of luck with the book.

    1. So glad you're enjoying it, MB. Best of luck in the contest!

      I admit I went frantically Googling for past finalists' experiences once I made it that far last year, so if any of this year's participants end up doing the same thing, maybe these entries will give them an idea of what to expect.

    2. I am so glad you are doing this. I hope other contestants are reading your blog.

      I used to blog but stopped last May. Just this week I started again. I'm going to try to link your blog to a post I am about to write about ABNA.

      One final thing. Call me Michael.

    3. I'm the same way about blogging, Michael. I start 'em and leave 'em. I've had writing blogs before, but really, there was only so much I could say about wordcounts and query letters and agent rejections (and keeping that last one general and professional meant I couldn't share any of the fun stuff anyway). I'm hoping Spookygirl will give me enough content to keep going for a while this time.