Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Contest Road ~ Part #2

Well, I won The Noble Theme contest and also placed third. I got a lot of requests at the conference to send in my book. I also got a really simple request from Cathy Marie Hake an author I didn’t know. She asked me to send her my first three chapters. She just wanted to see how I wrote.
I also had an agent looking at my work before this conference. He hadn’t offered to represent me, but he had expressed interest. When I emailed him to tell him I’d won the contest and tell him I received about fifteen requests from agents and editors for maybe five different books, he offered me a contract, so I got an agent, which is almost as hard as getting a book sold.
Cathy Marie Hake also kept in touch. She said she thought I was ‘ready’. No editor had yet seen that light, but Cathy’s encouragement kept me hoping. Plus, by this time, I had about twelve books and I’d had so many rejections I had a hide like a rhino, so submitting work didn’t even faze me.
Okay, well maybe I crawled under my computer desk and sucked my thumb for a day or two every time I got one but other than that I was fine.
Just before the next year’s conference, Cathy Marie Hake told me she wanted to pitch my name to write a book as part of a three book series set in historical Alaska. I worked on a proposal and talked on the phone with Cathy a lot before the 2005 conference.
Every year at the conference the acquiring editor for Heartsong Presents gives a contract to an unpublished author. I was so hopeful! I knew there was a chance it could be me. The Heartsong editor said someone else’s name and there’s only one, so okay, I’ve been rejected before. I kind of expect it.
And then she said, “And this year we’re giving two contracts to first time authors. We’re offering a contract to Mary Connealy.” I get chills saying that! It was a wonderful, thrilling shocking moment. I had to go up and get the contract, in front of 350 other writers, all clapping. A great, great moment in my life.
And it happened as a direct result of contests…and ten years of hard work of course.

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