Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chapter Two - A Competition Entered And Won

As part of the university project, in addition to the actual novella I also had to submit documentation which would have included pitching the piece to a potential market. I decided to be clever by exploring markets via the speculative fiction marketplace website, Ralan. I located a publication which took pieces of the length and genre I had written in. The theory was I would write the story, use any relevant feedback from the assignment marking process and then submit to that market afterwards. Everything went swimmingly until I actually went to submit. The market had closed between short-listing it and having the final product ready to go.

That was late 2008.

After that, finding a place for a story of 14,000 words in length was proving difficult. The occasional anthology would appear which was calling for novellas but for one reason or another mine was never suitable. Eventually it was shelved and while not forgotten, I was no longer actively looking for a market.

Come late 2011, I had a fair bit on my plate. Aside from having returned to university to do a research degree, earlier in the year an aneurysm had been discovered around my left temple. By late November I was about to enter hospital for major surgery to get the not-so-little nuisance repaired.

A couple of days before my hospitalisation, the weekly e-news from the ACT Writers Centre included an advertisement for a competition: Unpublished Author Print Ready - Novella competition. I am not terribly big on competitions as a rule but seeing as I had a novella sitting there unused, what the heck. After looking at their website, the publisher seemed genuine and not a scam outfit. And while I had previously had some short fiction included in anthologies, I was still eligible. So just before packing up to head over to the hospital, I submitted to the competition. 

Following the surgery, I was not exactly firing on all cylinders for a couple of months. Although I had a pretty cool scar across my forehead to show off. 

Time went by. Things returned to what passes as normal for me. One afternoon in July, 2012, I called into see my friends at the ACT Writers Centre. I forgot exactly what for. While I was there, I checked my email.

Here was an email offering me a publishing contract.

What the heck? Not knowing what they were talking about I decided it must be spam and consigned it to the spam bin. But a few more unread emails down the list, I found Creative Print Publishing's slightly earlier email which was advising me that I had won the unpublished novella competition from the previous November.

Feeling a little shell shocked, having forgotten all about that submission, I hastily retrieved the email with the contract from the spam bin.

"I'm getting published," I announced to the girls in the office. My knees felt week and I had to sit down.

Needless to say I soon checked out the contract, signed it and happily took up the publishing offer.

So, what next?
Click me for an autographed version

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