No Guts No Glory

winning isn't everything

Today was an emotional day for me. My youngest went off to Kindergarten. In the weeks leading up to the big day I kept telling him I couldn’t believe my baby was growing up. (And leaving me though I kept that thought to myself). He kept insisting he wasn’t a baby, so I tried to explain that he will always be my baby, even when he’s forty, like me. I don’t quite think he grasped the concept. Anyway, I was a wreck the moment the bus pulled away. With tissues in hand, I drove over to the school just so I could see him get off the bus for the first time. I assure you I wore sunglasses and limited my sobbing to the safety of my car. When I told my daughter I might see her at recess (he’s in the afternoon session) she asked me not to embarrass her. She just started third grade so I was a bit unprepared to already be at that stage. Sigh. We only have half day kindergarten, which isn’t even technically a half day. Our schedule isn’t changing all that much and my son will still be home with me some mornings. But now he’s at elementary school beginning his journey of independence. And while I’m so glad he’s becoming his own person, it’s also hard to let go.

 

So I went about my day and then I saw the email in my inbox. The one I had been waiting for with the results of my Kindle campaign. I could tell from the subject line that I didn’t get it. There was no “Congratulations!” but rather a standard “thanks for your submission.” Blah, blah, blah. In case you hadn’t heard I submitted my novel for a Kindle publishing contract, which is based on reader votes. I’ll admit going into the process I felt good about my chances. But after the first week I wasn’t so sure. There are hundreds of books on the site. Not sure if that’s accurate, but there are A LOT. I used to think that writing a novel was a huge accomplishment. And I’m not trying to downplay it because I still think it is. But it seems that everyone is doing it—just look at the number of new titles added on Amazon every day. I knew the competition would be fierce, but I went for it anyway. I always like to tell my kids to try your best and that’s all you can do. I do feel like I did everything I could: posting on every Facebook group I could think of, spreading the word via email, doing blasts to my social media channels, and promoting it on my website. I don’t know how many votes I had, but I could see stats with traffic to my page. I had over 1,300 visits—far more than I expected. So that’s something. But in the end it wasn’t enough. And I’m really disappointed.

 

I love the above quote from Vince Lombardi. It talks about the importance of having the drive to win vs. focusing strictly on the end result. But then again this is the same guy who said that winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. In hindsight I wonder if I should’ve entered. I know you’ve gotta play to win, but the constant rejection is wearing on me. The countless no’s after querying the first time around and the same result with the second. No after no after no from agents. I realize I only have one published book and success doesn’t happen overnight. I’m not expecting to be the next Nicholas Sparks, but I would love to be able to make this more than a hobby so I can do something I love and be home with my kids. I don’t know the reason behind their decision. Maybe I didn’t have enough votes. But I didn’t get a no right away, which made me wonder if they were reading the book to see if they liked the content. I have no clue if that’s a deciding factor, but it’s definitely shaken my confidence.

 

I still plan to self-publish my book. But it’s hard to get excited about it and then have to do another round of promotion after this. And I didn’t realize they send the results to everyone who voted—I thought it was only if you win—so those 1,000+ people will learn of the results. Just rub some salt in my wound. Hey friends, I didn’t win this contest but the good news is that you can still buy my book that no one wanted to publish. Good times. I know there are terrible things going on in the world and in the scheme of things this is just a small blip. I still have my health, a supportive network of friends and family, an incredible husband, and two amazing kids. So I consider myself lucky. I gave it my best shot, and sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t, but at least I went down trying. Writing is a passion so I’m considering this my outlet to vent and then I’ll move on.

 

At the end of the day my son came off the bus with a huge smile on his face and he’s excited to go back tomorrow. I know some days will be rough, but I’ll encourage him to tough it out and focus on the positive. So I will try to do just that.

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