regrettable, but not surpising

I did not make the cut in the latest round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I would have been surprised if I had; I was surprised when I made the first cut. Still, the experience has given me pause to think.

  • It was a contest I didn’t even know existed until a kind soul told me and encouraged me to submit. It was not a dream I have been chasing for years.
  • Being sad about not winning would be like submitting to only one agent and then being sad about the rejection. The odds were long. (And there is an ocean of agents out there.)
  • Winning would have meant that I needed to be in Seattle on the day when I am going to be in Rhode Island for a wedding.
  • Participating gave me a month of harmless buoyancy.
  • I can now include that The Sleep of Reason was a semi-finalist in this contest when I pitch it to agents.
  • There is plenty of other work I can focus my attention on.

(Does this much analysis suggest that I am not really as okay with the disappointment as I pretend?)

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5 Comments on “regrettable, but not surpising”

  1. sonjejones Says:

    I don’t think it means you aren’t okay with it. It was a big thing to go after, so therefore it is a big thing to lose (even though, since you never technically had it, I suppose you did lose it–but you lost the idea of it). Whenever something big happens, good or bad, we need to process it, try to understand it, and fit our new reality into our lives.

  2. Annam Says:

    Now your manuscript is available for viewing by agents, and forthcoming representation :-)


  3. Are we ever really OK with disappointments in publishing?

    Yet somehow, we carry on.

    Feel some pride in the fact that you made an early cut. That does indeed mean something!

  4. Pete Says:

    I just figured out why you didn’t win the Breakthrough Novel award: you don’t have the right look. Check out this photo of the guy who did win: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/files/2012/06/Alan_Averill_180._V147117925_.jpg

    So spike your hair, grow a pathetic little chin beard, wear black clothing and strike an edgy-but-bored pose whenever a camera is near. It may not make you a better writer, but you’ll certainly be more marketable and, by extension, prizeworthy.

  5. Paul Lamb Says:

    Pete – Part of me thinks this is a little bit true. Long, long ago I sent in a short story to a local magazine’s contest, and I knew I wouldn’t win. My story was not about a woman who was divorced and was having trouble with the divorce. And that’s exactly the type of story that won the contest. But I feel I had the last laugh. That magazine has long since gone away, and my story soon found its way into a lit mag that is still around today. So I do sometimes wonder of posing and posturing are part of this business.


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