All of us wish our work would win awards. The Hugo, the Nebula, the Phillip K Dick, the World Fantasy, the Campbell, Writers of the Future…they’re all prestigious and career boosters. Just being nominated for an award is huge, so winning is exponentially better. All of us wish our books would sell millions of copies and result in nationwide tours with hordes of fans lined up around the bookstore to see us. We don’t write for fame and fortune, but we can’t help wishing for just a little of it. It’s the same kind of hope we feel when we plunk down a dollar on a lottery ticket, knowing the chances are slim but hoping just the same. Fortunately it doesn’t take an award or a lottery win to lift a writer’s spirits.
When my book first hit shelves, my husband and I were searching for inexpensive ways to market it, and just for fun, we created a book trailer, starring many of my friends from the Renaissance faire (along with a number of good-sported strangers.) We used my digital camera’s movie function, and the budget was the cost of a memory card and a ticket to the faire. It was goofy and silly, but we promised ourselves it was only our first try. Once the video was ready, we posted it on the website and I sent it to my editor. Who promptly shared it with the whole office, playing it over and over for everyone who wandered in. I floated around on that for two days – everyone in the Tor offices was watching my cheap little book trailer! In the weeks prior to the book’s release, my editor sent me every blurb she received, as other authors read my book. Some amazing names said wonderful things, but I remember one in particular. My favorite short story is “The Spiral Dance”, by R Garcia y Robertson. Imagine my excitement when a blurb came in from that very author! To this day I sometimes look at that blurb when I’m doubting myself, just as a reminder that someone I admired so much thought my work was worthy.
Receiving acknowlegement from one’s professional peers is awesome, but it’s nothing compared to hearing from the readers themselves. I receive emails from people saying how much they loved the story, and how desperately they want to read more. One fellow even confided that he was in love with Kestrel. *laughs* Yesterday while I was waiting for my teenager to get his schedule and textbooks, a former student of mine approached me to say hello. She had read my book when it first came out, and decided she wanted to write a book herself. She’s nearly finished with her book, and is so proud and excited. I saw that look in her eyes, the look that writers get when the story’s nearly done and a new one is waiting. And that small thing was as satisfying to me as any award.
You don’t have to be a published author to have those moments. I want to hear about your little things.