So, what started as a little more than a whim is over. I have been axed from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I can't say I am surprised. I was so thrilled to make it past the pitch stage that I figured anything more was just a bonus. But to be honest, once I did make it through, I started getting a bit greedy.
For those people who have read the book, they almost all agreed that the beginning was the best part. That part (the first just under 5,000 words) is what the reviewers based their decision on for this cut. So I feel disappointed that they didn't think my excerpt was as good as I had hoped. I started to daydream about making this cut because it would have meant that the excerpt would have been online so anyone who wanted to read it could download it and see how the story starts.
It sucks, it's disappointing, it's a little embarrassing, but I'm happy to say it doesn't feel like the end of the world. It feels like a one day bummer. I have already revised the book another time since I submitted it in January. The reviews were moderately helpful (one seemed to like it, one was rude, and not helpful at all). I'll take what I can from the reviews and make it better, I guess.
I plan to start sending query letters to agents and if they doesn't work I'll come up with another plan. Why am I telling you all of this? Probably a bit of catharsis, but also because sometimes shit just doesn't go our way and I think it's weird (albeit understandable) that we avoid talking about when we fall down. So I tried and I wanted to keep going in the competition but I didn't. My writing wasn't quite good enough. It wasn't something the reviewers liked.
I knew a story about lesbians could be a tough one to sell to a mainstream publisher, particularly on the strength (or weakness) of a short excerpt. But this is how it works. You have to find someone who likes and believes in your work, some of it is luck (finding the right match for your story) and some of it is skill (being able to string words together and weave a story).
I've got work to do. So, I'll be bummed for a little bit and then get back to work. Thank you all for the support and encouragement, it means the world.