In the spring of 2016 I decided I was going to write and publish my first novel, Shady Place. It was an idea that was over a decade kicking around in my head until it spilled onto the page as a screenplay and then finally toward the end of the year the words “The End” appeared on the screen.
Along the way I had the brilliant idea of submitting to one of the many writing contests that pop up in my email. “Submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript for the chance to be published or optioned into a movie!” Sure, sounds good. Then I procrastinated. I procrastinated hard. I procrastinated goooood (or is it bad? I think it’s probably bad…ok, yeah, definitely bad). With the deadline to submit less than 48 hours away, I powered through re-writing the first 48 pages of Shady Place and with only a few minutes to spare submitted that bad boy.
Here’s where the story gets good, he wins the competition, they publish his book, the movie rights get sold! Right? Eh, not so much. I made it to the top 50. It was nice, I felt good about myself. It was my “You like me! You really like me!” moment. Then it was over. I didn’t make the top 25.
Hey, top 50 out of 2,000 entries isn’t bad…
But there was another wrinkle to this little competition. A contest to become one of the top 3 in pre-sold copies of your manuscript from those in the competition. A scenario that could have been invigorating and lift one up to new heights or when no one buys your book send you crashing to new lows.
I did more self-aggrandizing than I ever have in my life. I made postcards, flyers, contacted strangers, even made a really embarrassing video and posted it on Facebook.
It went fairly well, I was hovering around the top, within striking distance of the top 3 when they decided to extend the competition…by six weeks. I was already leery of the extended timeframes involved with the publishing aspect of the competition (it would be a year or so to get the book to market), so the change made me apprehensive.
The feeling grew and grew.
I looked at my pre-sales and the back and forth seesaw in the rankings and took a long hard look at what I really wanted out of the project. A lot of people lined up for pre-order of a book I hadn’t even finished yet. A lot more told me they were going to buy it. When could they read it? Can’t wait to get a signed copy! This is the part where my head could have started to balloon up, but what I felt was a gratitude and excitement.
I decided to withdraw from the competition. It wasn’t what I wanted for a project I’d held so close to my heart for so long.
With the book completed, my first novel, beginning to end, over 300 pages of pure me (don’t worry, I wiped it down first), I’m ready to release it to the world. It will be published. Whether it sells 10 copies (I’m looking at you mom and dad) or 10 billion (I’m already eyeballing a golden toilet) doesn’t matter.
I did it.
Shady Place will be available for purchase at the end of March 2017 at Amazon and other retailers.