Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Awards (for me) and the One I REALLY Want

If you're a writer, you know the importance of maintaining some healthy delusions. Odds say publishing a book is about as likely as winning the lottery? Pshaw. That doesn't apply to me! First book never sells? Stephenie Meyer's did! Why not mine? Most published writers can't support themselves (much less their families) on their writing? Well, some of them do! Why not me?

If we believed the odds, we'd never try.

I don't buy lottery tickets because the odds of winning are so minuscule that it's not worth my money--but I've spent thousands of hours creating my own, custom, lottery-ticket novel (no, it's not about lottery tickets). And I believe in it. I do. I think it's a winner.

This is my first full-length novel (though I wrote the first 5 chapters of a few others--do they count?), but I'm still going to query it. In a few more months, when I get it perfect. And I'm going to cross my fingers, send up a prayer, hit send... and then start refreshing my email inbox. Because, you never know, my dream agents might be so enchanted by it, they'll immediately want the full. And I wouldn't want them to wait more than five minutes before they get it, would I? Of course not.

I want to sell it for a lot of money. Because, see, I have this dream life in my head. Free of debt. Living in a house without threadbare carpet. On a ranch, where my husband can raise cows and my sons can ride horses. With an office just for me, where I can continue to write books people will love. Occasionally leaving to attend conferences and to go on tour. To England. To meet my father's family. Perhaps with a baby daughter (or two) in tow. Doesn't that sound good? Would you give that up just because the odds say it'll never happen?

So I say it's okay to dream. Hard cold reality doesn't have any place in my world. Even if this book doesn't sell, the next one will. Or the one after that. Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gol-darn it, people like me!

Don't believe me? I present Exhibits 1, 2, and 3:

From Anita

From Deirdra

From Jenny

I received these three awesome blog awards within the last week. See? I told you people like me! :) Anita and Deirdra custom-made theirs, which make them doubly awesome, but I have to like Anita's best because she only awarded hers to five people--and guess who was #1? ME! :D Are you jealous? 

Of course you are!

You know who I'm jealous of? I've mentioned her before (once or twice): Brodi Ashton. Brodi I-had-to-choose-between-five-awesome-agents Ashton. Brodi I-waited-24-hours-before-I-got-a-preemptive-three-novel-deal-on-my-debut Ashton. Brodi, who is awesome for reasons I can't even tell you about because I promised not to!!! (Yes, you want to be me. No, I can't tell you why.)

Brodi, who, this time last year, won the LDStorymakers First Chapter Contest.

I was in that contest, yo. I sat through the awards ceremony, watched some dude win first and third in my category, and then watched them announce Brodi's name as the Grand Prize winner. And she wasn't even there! Valynne had to go up and accept her laptop for her. I texted her, though. Yeah. Me. 'Cause I'd had dinner with her the night before, and had her cell number. (You want to touch me now, don't you?)

Anyway, I wasn't at all upset, because I'd already read the first page of Brodi's book and she totally deserved it, but it didn't stop me from rejoicing in the fact that she'd likely sell her book before the next contest and would therefore be ineligible for the 2011 contest. (Really, I'm just too good at this predicting stuff.)

So Wednesday, I'm driving down to Utah. Wednesday night, I'm pushing shiny buttons for another Farland's Authors' Advisory Conference Call--this time with Laura Ann Gilman, who's giving VERY timely advice on professionalism, including how to talk to editors (like at conferences and stuff), so you should totally call in with all your questions. Then, on Thursday, I'm picking up Susan Jensen at the airport and attending the Bootcamp at LDStorymakers, where the first fifteen pages of my book will be torn to bloody shreds (if all goes well).  Friday and Saturday are for the conference, where I will network, hob-nob, hand out business cards, meet cool writers, learn some stuff, and hunt down a few future guests for Authors' Advisory. Lunchtime Saturday, they announce the First Chapter Contest Winners. Not that I'm paying any attention to things like that.

So who's gonna be there? If you're going to be there, I'll tell you a secret: I get a text every time someone @'s me on Twitter. Just sayin'. My Twitter ID is @Robin_Weeks. Don't forget the space. I'd love to get together with you. Meet in person. You know, for meals. Really cool classes. (I sit at the front. Always. That's what elbows are FOR.) Or just for pal-ing around in the hall. I'm the one with the obnoxious rolling briefcase. If you trip over something, it's probably me.

Oh, and only the Blog on Fire Award requires me to pass it on. Since I love so many of your blogs, please let me know if you want it--I'll give it to the first five takers whose blogs are over in my blogroll on the left. :)

See you in a few days?


  1. Goodluck with the conference! I'm here in Utah, but sadly I'm not going since I'm not ready for it. Wish I was going, if only to meet other writers. Maybe next year.
    Have fun and I hope all goes well with you (snag an agent, right? Or win that first chapter contest *wink)

  2. Dang--we'll miss you! For future reference, there's not a lot to be "ready" for, unless you want to go to Bootcamp (recommended), and then you only need 15 pages. Conferences aren't just for pitching your completed work--they're for getting motivated, learning the craft, and networking. You can always use networking. :)

  3. I wish, wish, wish I was going! Never been, heard it is awesome. Good luck and have a great time!

    BTW, I think you may be a dream snatcher because yours sound very similar to mine.

  4. *Hi to Cherie*

    And WOW that Brodi is some kind of talented! Stories like that make me drop my jaw in pure hero worship stasis. Here I've been out on sub for MONTHS and nada, and within 24 hours, she has a pre-empt???

    Sigh. Not sure if I feel inspired or inadequate. LOL

    So glad you love your bloggy award! Congrats on all of them, and have fun at the conference, yo! Heeheee.

    May you bring back something new and shiny ... an award, or preferably an AGENT. ;-)

  5. Ruth, our dreams don't need to be mutually exclusive! Your ranch can be right next to mine! We'll write together! We'll have so much fun!!

  6. Anita--alas, I'm not quite ready to query (plus all the agent pitch sessions were full by the time I had the cash to register). :( Still, you never know.... :D

    I love my bloggy award! Yours is my favorite!

  7. I'm with Anita in the do-I-feel-inspired-or-inadequate camp. I think I should go check out Brodi. So many awards going around this week and so many new blogs to check out!
    - Sophia.

  8. Sophia--the worst thing about Brodi is that she's impossible to hate, as much as you might want to. She's too NICE! Also hilarious. And humble. And her family is awesome.

    Brodi's blog is a must-read. If you're not already following her, repent!

  9. Congrats on your 3 awards! I get to share Anita's award with you, so I HAD to pop over. So fun! I'm going to look for you on twitter now. :)

  10. Mary--you're ahead of me: I spent last night writing this blog post instead of what I wanted to do (follow all the other cool blog links on Anita's blog). Tonight I'm packing, but I might be able to squeeze in some time....

  11. Congrats on the awards! I hope I'll see you there this weekend! I'll be there Friday and Saturday. Alas, the hubby couldn't take off work to watch the kids three days in a row. Maybe next year! ;)

  12. Chantele--Thanks! Aren't they awesome? I loves them. Next year, find a daytime babysitter. :) Hubby can play single-working-daddy for a few days. Still, so excited to meet you there! Look me up!

  13. A dream is something you seldom attain, partly because it's unreachable. When you break the dream down into attainable goals, then your dream can become a reality. You've already done that Robin.

    I'm gearing up my "humility and inner strength" as Ken called it so I can face bootcamp and get ripped to shreds. Again. =D

    See you this week.

  14. Yay! Thanks, Donna!

    And hear, hear on the "humility and inner strength"--my bootcamp group will be ripping apart the very chapter I submitted to the contest!! (Trying not to be too invested in its award-worthy perfection....)

  15. Good luck at the conference. While you're elbowing on the front row, I'll be in the back, preparing for a quick exit when they read my first three pages at the "simulating the slush pile" panel..

  16. Aw, Jamie--you have stay when they do YOURS! If you leave, everyone will know they're talking about you. I'd love to be critiqued. After 4 years in college getting turned down for plays, 18 months on the mission getting doors slammed in my face, and going on 7 years now in a rather vilified profession, I like to think I'm good at rejection. :) (Plus, it might be good... and you'll never know!)

  17. Enjoy the conference and keep that dream alive! New carpet, new kitchen, new anything you want.

  18. Good luck at the conference! I hope you take home the Grand Prize. Then you can text me and tell me all about it. :)

    And for Anita and Sophia and others, Robin should also tell you the other parts of my story. The ones where my first book was on submission for months before it finally crashed and burned, and then my first agent didn't like my second book, and then I had to find a new agent.

    There was some seriously suckage involved. :)

    Thanks, as always, for the shout out, Robin. You are a good friend! :)

  19. Jenny--New Houses for Everybody! :)

    Brodi--Yay! You came! Have you figured out yet that I only talk about you here to lure you into commenting? Then I can say things like "look, everyone! I know Brodi Ashton!"

    Sorry to misrepresent your suckage. I really shouldn't forget that part, since it serves as even more proof of your cool triumph-over-adversity self. Noted for future I-love-Brodi-Ashton posts. Particularly the ones I'm planning for January 2012. :)

    You're not coming to Storymakers? :(

  20. If I had the ability to design awards I would give you one as well. This blog is fantastic and I love reading about your own hero's journey toward stardom as an author.

    I think we all have a story within us, it just takes determination and stubborness to pry it from the depths of our minds. Mine is kept in a small closet in at the end of a very long labyrinth. I find pieces of the story left behind on the path so I keep marching along.

    I didn't know anything about this LDSStorymakers conference, how did I miss that? Oh well, hope you have fun, it helps your story and career as an author. Good luck.

  21. Aw, thanks, Josh! Even if you are just saying that because your locker was next to mine in middle school. :)

    I didn't know about LDStorymakers, either, until my college roomie, Susan, suggested we go last year. It's fantastic--you should definitely schedule it for 2012.

  22. Hi Robin! I wandered over here from Anita's site, and I'm diggin' your blog already! I especially appreciate your optimism about your first book. I'm in the process of querying my first one as well, and I haven't even allowed myself to speculate over how amazing it would be if someone actually LIKED it enough to sell it for me. Perhaps I will take your advice and give myself some credit. Thanks for posting this! :)

  23. I might stop by during a lunch hour or something. But I was too late to register. :)

  24. So sad! You really should be on a panel or presenting or at least leading a boot camp table this year (Elana Johnson led Susan's boot camp table last year).

    Lunch on Saturday should be interesting....

  25. Thanks, LisaAnn! (Now why did I get the email about Brodi's comment before I got the email about yours? Weird.) (You know what else is weird? The spelling of weird. What happened to i before e?)

    Anyway, I highly recommend a healthy delusion or two--so long as your delusions encompass an entire career, and aren't focused on a single book. Also, let's keep in mind that I've had no reality checks to date. We'll see how my tune changes when I send out my queries... and nothing happens.... :-?

    Thanks for stopping by!

  26. Do you think if I can get Brodi to touch me that maybe -- just MAYBE -- some of her luck will transfer over to me?

    Because I need it. Badly. ;-)

    Gosh, some people really do have all the luck. *crosses arm and humphs* Just kidding! (But seriously.)

    I'm happy for her regardless! Also, I'm suddenly jealous of all this time you're spending picking up writers at the airport and, well, of all the time you get to spend with writers IN REAL LIFE period. I mean, way down here where I live, this isn't possible. Or maybe it is. Maybe I just haven't met a writer in real life yet.

    (I need to go to a writers conference already. Can you tell?)

  27. Aw, girl. I live waayy off the beaten path. Writers don't live near me. They rarely visit my city (Aprilynne Pike's visit on May 10th notwithstanding). To meet writers, you have to travel yourself. Like to conferences. Definitely conferences. Then you commence Operation Make Yourself Obnoxious (in a nice, unassuming way, of course). You volunteer for stuff. You ask if you can take them out for a meal. Or help with their tour. Just watch--opportunities present themselves.

  28. Yeah. Lemme sell an arm and a leg, and then just maybe I'll have enough cash to fund the conferences I *really* wanna go to. ;-) I'll keep your advice in mind.

  29. I hear you on the money issues! This trip is my present for Mother's Day, my birthday, and our anniversary! Ah, to have the $$$ to go to unlimited conferences....

  30. Please come back and report to us everything you learned! At least for the moment I can live vicariously through all my writer friends! There are a few good ones that went down this year. I think what I need to do now is save up and plan to go to those next year! I need to check out these author calls you do. =)

  31. You should absolutely check out Authors' Advisory--especially if you can't make it to conferences yourself. A great way to get advice from established authors without leaving home. We just did one tonight--Laura Ann Gilman told us about how to act around editors. www.authorsadvisory.blogspot.com