Back in January I entered The San Clemente Bait Shop and Telephony in two literary contests. I believed the story to be solid by my own estimation and by the kind reviews submitted by readers. (Thank you!)
So why not?
To my utter amazement, I won the grand prize Lyra Award. This is an award given to independent book publishers by The Bookstore Without Borders folks. And, good golly, it came with a CASH prize that caused my heart to palpitate. I also did the one-legged happy dance around the block. The Bookstore Without Borders people do an amazing job on their website connecting readers with independently published books here. (I also love these people because they used an ancient picture of me in their announcement.)
Many thanks to the judges for reading The San Clemente Bait Shop and Telephony with such care and kindness.
I was a finalist in the Colorado Book Award in the General Fiction category. I cried when I received the news. I’ve known about the award for many years but never had the courage to enter. I was in the big leagues now.
Or was I?
The other finalists were published with really big, traditional publishers. Maybe – and you know this could be true – I was a charity nod to an independently (read that: published by me) published book.
I attended the award ceremony in beautiful Parker, Colorado with many other hopefuls. (I’m looking rather blah and overwhelmed on the very right.)
Everyone was very nice and very nervous. I sat with a gifted poet who didn’t expect to win, like me, but he came to the ceremony with a tiny seed of hope that he would get the nod this time. He didn’t.
What I didn’t expect was how small and insignificant the whole experience left me feeling. I doubted my ability to tell a worthwhile story and considered giving up the writing gig altogether.
[Insert silent scream.]
Although I arrived each day at my computer to write, the words I produced were wooden. I hated everything I put on the page. It’s been a month since the awards ceremony, and I’m nearly recovered. I’m writing with a measure of verve and having a good time at it. And I do love my little story. I probably won’t subject myself to the process again.
Have you ever regretted putting yourself up for an award or experienced unexpected consequences to an honor you’ve received?