My first instinct is that I am not, in fact, really “here,” by which I mean that I am only fooling myself that what I’ve written is anything even close to a completed manuscript, that actually I’ve been delusional all along as I’ve published–with a publisher and by myself–these 250-300 page books and told myself they are really books, that is, Books. I know what I think when I wander sneeringly down the aisles of the few remaining bookstores (the ones that actually have books, not the new Amazon Book Stores for People Who Don’t Read Books) and compare the Thin (200-300 page) books with the Real (400+ page) books. I taught English for over thirty years and I can tell the difference between Kurt Vonnegut and Dickens.
Then there are the Contests.
I have just spent over two hours looking at novel contests. I have not, mind you, read any of the details for any of these contests. I have merely scrolled through several of those All Purpose Lists of Contests, weeded out the ones that are clearly not for me (Young Adult Vampires in Space, for example), typed the names of some likely prospects in ALL CAPS, and bookmarked them. Two hours and counting. It’s almost my bedtime. I have just observed another birthday and note that for every year I add to my age, I seem to subtract an hour from my bedtime. It won’t be long before I hit the sack right after lunch.
I have sent the manuscript off to my cousin who will proofread and ask questions when she can get to it. She is several years younger than I am, but still she and her husband now keep their two year old granddaughter five days a week. That would be All Day Five Days a Week.
Next week, if a couple of health problems clear up, I am scheduled to meet with my friend, editor, and co-author, Alison Daniels, to begin the process of reading my novel out loud.
After that, I will be forced to look at a few of those contests in earnest. I’ve never had much luck with contests of any sort, although I can’t say I’ve ever entered a literary contest.
In seventy-two years, I have never won one single stuffed item at the Fair.
It’s obvious that what you do, having reached this point, is write a blog post.