Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nothing beats the recognition from one’s peers . . . except maybe sales?

Writing is a lonely task. Long hours hunched over a keyboard debating whether I should use an ellipses . . . or maybe an em dash—

Screw it (I’ll use a parenthesis).

For newer authors like myself, this can be an agonizing process. For famous authors? Not so much. They can break whatever grammar rules they want, because . . . well, they’re famous. And besides, they have an editor.

Where am I going with this? I guess I’m trying to say it’s good to be a famous author on the bestseller list, but it’s also nice to have your efforts acknowledged by your peers.

Recently I met an author who is a member of a small prestigious writing group that meets weekly from September through May.  In existence for over sixty years, group members have won numerous awards—the Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize, James Jones First Novel Fellowship, William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and on and on.  She mentioned that the group had a couple of openings and would be accepting manuscripts for evaluation. If you’re writing had merit, they might offer you a chance to join this prestigious group—moderated weekly by a well-known author, I might add.

That was back in June. Of course I immediately jumped on it. Last week I emailed the President of the group and asked if I could submit my novel. She asked about my writing experience; I told her it consisted of writing safety programs, policies and talks, along with a wildly popular Parody Book of the OJ Simpson saga back in the nineties. She didn’t sound too optimistic. Their members all had extensive writing experience, but there was no strict rule requiring it. They wouldn’t read the entire novel, but I could submit the first twenty pages and she would forward it to the manuscript committee. I thanked her and looked forward with anticipation to my “Dear John” letter.

Well lo and behold I heard back from her a few days later and was told that they were interested in my writing. She extended an invitation to attend their group, and see it in action.

Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked. Almost to the point of popping the cork on that bottle of Absinthe. But maybe I should wait until my book sales go through the roof or I get an agent and publisher.  Then I will go the whole nine yards (shouldn’t that be ten?) and get thoroughly and appropriately soused; sitting back in my leather pub chair, looking resplendent in my new tweed jacket, holding my briar smoking pipe. 

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