At this time last year, I was finishing up revisions on my latest manuscript, a middle grade novel about a figure skater who says all the wrong things and ends up having to start over with the sport's misfits.
I was busy querying another manuscript, but I'd entered this new one -- DON'T FALL DOWN -- into the yearly contest at the SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference in September. I didn't expect to win anything, so I'm sure I looked completely confused when they actually called my name as the winner of an honorable mention.
That was exactly what I needed. I finished revising and decided to enter DFD into blog contests. Maybe a few too many contests (I really like writing contests). Somehow, I made it into the granddaddy of writing blog contests - the Baker's Dozen. (You can see my entry here.) I even got bids!! I was super afraid that the entries would go up and all I'd hear was crickets.
At around the same time, I threw the pitch for DFD up on Twitter for #PitchMas. Amazing agent Julia A. Weber requested it (and she already had a full on my other manuscript...you can see where this is heading!).
So if that's not enough, during one of these Twitter pitch parties, Kate Messner favorited my pitch for DFD. KATE MESSNER, y'all. And then she said nice things that I can't even remember because I was trying too hard not to faint and/or fangirl out.
I entered more contests -- won one at Project Middle Grade Mayhem, didn't even get selected for others -- but the support and camaraderie from these contests was enough to make me start traditionally querying DFD. And then Julia offered representation. Which I accepted, of course!
Fast forward through revisions and the submission process...in September I got THE email from Julia. The one that pretty much made me unable to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
It was an offer.
And not just any old offer. It was from an editor at Aladdin/Simon & Schuster.
OK - so you know how when you start writing, people give you the sage advice to, "Go to a bookstore and see where your book might fit in"? I did that early on. And I stumbled across these fun, light-hearted, middle grade books from Aladdin. As I stood there in Barnes & Noble, flipping pages and admiring cover art, I thought, These people would so get my writing.
So...I'm bouncing-up-and-down excited to say that DON'T FALL DOWN will be published by Aladdin/S&S in Spring 2015!!
And this is where I say THANK YOU to my critique group, my beta readers including the ever-amazing MG Beta Readers group, writing friends, non-writing friends and family, everyone in SCBWI Midsouth, all of the hard-working writing contest organizers and the awesome writers who enter those contests, the incredible writing community on Twitter, and pretty much everyone who's ever said anything nice about my writing.
A little encouragement goes a long way, folks. I only hope I can pay it forward. :)
You can follow my fabulous agent, Julia Weber, on Twitter here. And my equally fabulous editor at Aladdin, Annie Berger, here.
And here's a Firefly gif. Just because...well, it's a Firefly gif. And you read all the way to the end, so you deserve a dancing Nathan Fillion.