Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Small Victory, Understated

It's when I think back to the past that I often manage, nurtured by a sense of perspective, to best grasp reality.

An example? Yesterday -- granted, it's not far back into the past -- BalticTiger walks into the kitchen and, with her classic flat tone of matter-of-factness, tells me that her not-yet-published novel was selected as a Semi-Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition.

I was flabbergasted and energized by the great news.

Honestly? I had forgotten that she even entered the competition back in late October. After congratulating her and asking some questions about it, she forwarded to me the email sent by to each of the Semi-Finalists.

Looking around Amazon a bit, I was struck by the comments of other writers--both winning and not-so-winning--and began to understand how important this competition was to so many of them.

And yet BalticTiger showed and continues to show minimal enthusiasm or excitement.

What's up with that, I began to wonder. Here's the reality/perspective part: BalticTiger didn't go crazy with excitement at the recognition because, though she's had a few successess, she's received so much more rejection in the past 25 years in the form of rejection letters. It's wearing and discouraging. She's come to realize and accept how self-defeating it can be to put much energy into the anticipation, let alone expectation, of success. Her new attitude is now closer to the old saw, "If you don't expect anything, you'll never be disappointed."

And that's kind of sad. Especially for Howard, the eternal optimist, who is continually surprised to find that others don't share his positive outlook.

But for BalticTiger, who is a bit more sensitive than galumphy Howard, it's all about self-preservation. Her growing skepticism hasn't kept her from writing more and better prose. She continues to go to Writer's Group every Thursday night, though she looks forward more to the great turkey sandwiches and hanging with friends than the opportunity to learn and improve from peer review. Perhaps it's all part of maturing as a writer. Yeah, that's it.

Here's a link to the
Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award web site.

Take a look around, read a bit, leave some comments if you see anything you like. Writers are human and live for positive feedback, same as the rest of us. Many gracious souls have already left a good handful of glowing reviews, and we thank you all!

By the way, the top three reviewers will earn some terrific prizes as well.

FWIW, BalticTiger's inclusion puts her side-by-side with 835 other Semi-Finalists from around the world culled from 5,000 submissions. On February 19th, Publishers Weekly will announce their choice of Favorite 100. After that, the next round of cuts will be announced on March 3rd when 10 Finalists are named. The winner, announced April 7th, receives a standard contract to publish and a $25,000 advance on royalties.

Final Note-to-Self: Try to emulate BalticTiger's matter-of-fact attitude and not get too excited by this exciting news. Yeah, right!


Blogger SiouxGeonz said...

Here's hoping for the final 100!!! (One thing at a time ya know)

12:23 PM, January 19, 2008  
Blogger culimerc said...

Congrats! full stop.

Art no matter the media will always be hard. Any acceptance is a huge victory. CONGRATS Baltic Tiger.

PS congrats to Howard too on something else entirely.

3:38 PM, January 22, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am optomist never has a pleasant surprise.

10:26 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Howard said...

Cool, the world-famous writer of fortune cookies visits Howard's Blog! I'm honored!

5:02 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger russtaitai said...

This is very cool...would so love to see BT end up in the top 100. Better yet, would love to see her published. Keep us informed. Duh. You're Howard, of course you'll keep us informed. Probably with a video. And music. :)

3:51 PM, February 07, 2008  

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