Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What Do You Mean I Didn't Win?

Well, it’s official. I did not final in the Historical category of the Golden Heart. I know…I know…it’s a travesty. An injustice. A horrid example of man’s inhumanity to man…oh, no wait…that’s something else. This was actually just a blip on the radar.

When I arrived home with no call waiting to breathlessly tell me I was awesome and had made the finals, I figured one wasn’t coming. I glared at the phone for a few seconds—okay, maybe more like 30—then I went and changed into my workout gear and went for a run. No sense watching a phone that didn’t seem inclined to ring.

While I’m running, I get to thinking, why am I not more disappointed? I remember being way more upset when Outlaw Bride didn’t final in 2005. Maybe because that was my first shot at the GH and I had high hopes. I mulled that over but realized no, that wasn’t it. Brimstone was a superior manuscript to Outlaw Bride. With two more years under my belt my writing had improved immensely. I should have had higher hopes for Brimstone. And in truth, I did. I expected to final (Ah, ego…). So then, why wasn’t I more crushed when the call didn’t come?

As my feet beat the pavement and the frigid temperatures bit into my skin I had an epiphany. While making the finals would have been great, my intent was to use it as a marketing tool, an extra foot in the door to snag the attention of an editor and/or agent. But I already have the attention of an editor. And if I got the attention of one editor, could I not also get the attention of another editor or agent based on the merits of the book without the “GH Finalist” tagged onto the query letter? ‘Sure, why not,’ I shrugged. (Which made me trip a little, but what can you do?).

I’m glad I entered the contest. It meant I took a shot and that’s always a good thing. I’m not a big believer of living your life like an armchair quarterback. But not making the finalists doesn’t impact my goals for the year. I still have every intention of beating down the doors of agents and editors in an effort to sell this series. I still plan on revising Outlaw Bride once Brimstone is out the door. And Book Two of the series, Saving Grace, will be at least first drafted by the end of the year. And if I can swing it, I will once again do NaNoWriMo in November with a romantic suspense that has been picking away at my story brain.

Not being a GH finalist has not changed any of that. And it hasn’t changed the belief that someday soon I will get a call of my own saying, ‘Hell yes, we’d love to publish your book.’

If nothing else, not making it to the finals drove that reminder home.

And another plus: Big congratulations to my buddy (and San Fran roomie!) Julianne MacLean who was nominated for a RITA in the Historical category. Way to go Julianne!!

13 comments:

Annie Mac said...

You have a winning attitude Kelly and that's going to bring you more success than any contest final.

Tess said...

Glad you weren't too crushed or anything. You certainly have your head on straight :) But it still would've been nice to see your name there on the list. Silly judges.

Amy Ruttan said...

Hugs! I know how you feel, totally that's why I don't bother with them anymore.

Maybe one day when I have a book that will qualify for a RITA! :D

Dixie Belle said...

Sorry you didn't make the finals! But hang in there. You've got some great stories!!

MaryF said...

This should be read by EVERY WRITER. More people sell than final, and I'm proof that the Golden Heart isn't the Golden Ticket. I'm sorry you didn't final, but you're going to PARIS!!!!

Annette said...

Good for you! That kind of positive attitude will take you far.

And as you said, you already have an editor interested in the full so your writing is already impressing the right people. :-)

Melissa Marsh said...

Great attitude, Kelly. And glad you didn't actually trip while running. No need to add injury to the equation! ;-)

michellewillingham said...

I didn't final in the GH either, when I entered. But I did sell that same book 2 years later. Here's hoping you do the same! :)

Lexi said...

Great attitude! As long as you learn and move toward your goal, that's all you can ask for. Keep pushing. You'll get there.

Rene said...

The GH is a tough contest. It is an expensive contest with very little rewards. I entered it once and my nerves were so raw, I swore I'd never enter it again (and I haven't). I remember when I got my no phone call day AND I got a rejection letter later in the day.

If your book is good, you will get the attention of an agent and/or editor. No contest is going to change that.

kacey said...

Great positive attitude. The GH is a crap shoot on who happens to get your book. Hard judges/easy scoring ones. It would be great to final, but you're right, it's just one marketing tool.

Julia Smith said...

Kelly, your goal for the year is the real deal. I agree completely about the editor interest being the most important thing. And yay Julianne! Woo! Yay!

Toni Anderson said...

Commiserations to you, but don't sweat it, and congratulations to Julianne!!!