We’re published!


The books from the contest are published! Michelle and I received ours through the postal service!

Michelle received hers first. She was so excited, she glowed! I tried to take pictures using Skype but they weren’t very clear. Besides, it’s difficult to catch a glow with a camera.

When Michelle received her books. (image via Skype)

Two days later, the mailman knocked on my door, handing me a fat, brown box. I smiled at him.

“I just got published.”
“Well, good for you!” he said.
“These are my books!”
“Congratulations. I don’t hear that every day.”

For writers just stepping into the publishing world, we don’t either. It is a big deal each time you get published. Michelle and I have both been published online before– my sexual tourism research article and an excerpt from Michelle’s memoir. For some reason, a book feels different. (Maybe because you can actually hold it in your hand? I don’t know.) You want everyone to know about it and everyone to read it. It all seems very self-involved, doesn’t it? But I feel it’s really the opposite. You’ve created something on paper and you want to share those ideas. It’s really no different from a 4-year-old who paints a picture at school and wants it on the refrigerator for everyone to see.

I waited until my husband arrived home so we could open them together. I opened the box slowly, taking the stuffed paper from the top and peering inside. The publisher had typed up a note, one of the first lines reading, “You are now a published author!”

I looked at the shiny book and thought, ‘I’m in that.’ I still feel a little numb about it all–like it isn’t real. Maybe because it was a contest and it happened so fast. Maybe because what I chose to write about was one of my most humiliating moments in life. The contest taught me to take a chance and made it much easier to continue writing the memoir.

I am pleasantly surprised at how professional they look, and the fact the publisher took the time to bookmark each book exactly where my article started. He did that for each one of us published in the book.

I have no idea what to do with them. He told us to sell them, give them away or keep them all if we wanted. Michelle said we should do a give-away contest with some of them. That sounded like fun! For now, they sit on the bottom row of my bookshelf until I figure it out. No one even knows I won the contest but the readers of this blog, and my mother.

When I pass the shelf, I steal a glance.
One day, I’m going to have my very own book. But for now, this will do just fine.

P.S. Michelle has been MIA for a while as she’s taken an editing gig and is presently being evacuated for Hurricane Irene, but she’ll return soon. :)

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About Jennifer

Navy wife. Environmentalist. Writer. Gardener. Crock-pot fanatic.
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13 Responses to We’re published!

  1. Kerry says:

    Jennifer,
    That is so wonderful. I’m going to submit something for the next contest. Where to start. I have so many stories started on scrap pieces of paper all over my house. My father passed away last week. I started a journal writing stories to him. He and I used to talk almost everyday since I joined the Air Force. I have my superhero story going too but I’m saving that for my big book series.
    Congrats again to you and your friend Michelle . . . awesome, way to go!!

    • Kerry, you MUST enter the contest. You’ll never know if you dont try! Look up America’s Got Stories on Google. They’ve already opened the contest for Vol. 2.
      I am so sorry to hear about your father. I like that you started a journal writing stories to him. I’m sure he loves it too. You can share those stories with your daughter in the future. I know she’ll be glad you wrote them.
      And I’m really looking forward to the superhero series. It sounds like so much fun.
      Thank you sweet girl for the encouragement and for reading what I write.
      I miss you so much.

  2. alisonamazed says:

    Congratulations! Bravo! Well done!

  3. I love this post, Jenn. It really was something to hold those books in my hands, see my name inside (right next to yours!) and know that our words are in there. In print.
    I’d like to just add a link to the contest, which begins again in September, for those who would like to enter: http://www.americasgotstories.com/
    Also, a thank you to the publisher, John Koehler of Koehler Books, who started this contest and gave all these authors a chance to have their crafted words in print.

    It makes me smile, just thinking of you with your books on the shelf.

    Now let’s give some away… what kind of contest would YOU (the public) like to see in order to win one of our books?

    PS – I have arrived at my hotel, west of Richmond VA, safe and sound. We’ll still see tropical storm winds, but we are no longer in the direct path. Now to hunker down and get me some editing done! (At least until we lose power!)

    Stay safe, everyone!

  4. You stay safe too, woman. Hopefully Irene will blow over sooner than expected. You guys have been through so much this week with the hurricane and the earthquake! Charge those laptop batteries!

  5. pat says:

    Congratulations to you Jenn and Michelle. It is something to be proud of. Keep up the good work. I know having your story in print and book in hand is a real boost!! I enjoy your writing…congrats again!!!

  6. Ena says:

    I’m so proud of you Jen. I can’t wait to read it. How do I get a copy or a hundred. Lol.

  7. Malinda says:

    This is soo great!! I’m so proud of you both!

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