A dream come true

This is the first time I’ve put together a post in a hurry, so forgive me if it’s choppy or rambling or anything else. I’m still in a state of shock. I could not have done this without all of you. I mean that both in a sappy Hallmark-card “without your encouragement, I couldn’t have done it!” way, and in a very literal way. Without your votes, I wouldn’t be in this spot.

You have all been blowing up my phone and my Facebook with congratulations, and with likes, and comments, and questions. I am so thankful for that love and support. Since there have been so many questions, I’ll try my best to answer them all here.

Are you actually being published?

I don’t want to say yes, but, well- yes! I’m still in a state of shock and I’m waiting for the bubble to burst. This is a lifelong dream come true, so if I say “yes, I’m being published” I’m very scared that something somewhere will go wrong and I won’t be. But aside from some disaster or magnificent cock-up… Yes. I’m being published.

How? Where? When? Why?

Whoosh, that’s a lot of questions at once. Because of you guys. Not sure. Not sure. Because of you guys, and because of I don’t even know how many prayers. I’m going to throw my British reserve aside for a minute and stress the prayers part. I asked; He answered.

As you’re all aware by now, I entered The Thread That Binds into the World’s Best Story competition. It got voted through round one into the top 100. From there, it got voted through to the top ten. I saw that I was in the top ten this morning and cried, thinking I could really do this; I could really get in the top three and be published. Then I remembered reading somewhere that all of the top ten are ‘winners’, so I took another look at the rules to see what I’ve won. It’s publication.

What happens now?

My complete manuscript is sent to the judges for reading. They will judge it based on things like character development, plot, writing skill, and so on, and give it a score. Meanwhile, voting is still open. The public – that’s you, if you’re so inclined – casts their vote for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place novel (unlike before, where you can vote on every story, you can now only vote for three). The judges’ score and the votes together make up the final score. The final scores are then ranked, as follows:

First place gets an author contract, a $2000 shopping spree, social media promotion, and a BOOK TOUR.
Second place gets published with bells and whistles, a $500 shopping spree, and social media promotion.
Third place gets published with slightly fewer bells and whistles, a $500 shopping spree, and PR in the US and Canada.
Fourth through tenth places get a self-publishing package.

What this means is that The Thread That Binds is going to be published. It doesn’t matter where I place in the final rankings. Whether I end up in 1st place or 10th, it gets published in some form.

Excuse me just a second while I HIGH-FIVE A MILLION ANGELS.

If the contest isn’t over, does that mean I can still vote? Do you need me to vote?

Sure! Go ahead! I’m in a state of shock! Vote all you want! Or don’t vote! Up to you! Did I mention my state of shock? I’ve got what I’ve always wanted. I’d be lying to say I’m not tempted by a book tour but if this is as far as I go, it’s still a dream come true.

When is all this happening?

The final results are announced on November 15. On November 15, I’ll know more. The top ten will be awarded publication, with or without extras, depending on their final score. So right now I have no idea, because it all depends on where I place. Logic tells me if I’m not in the top three I’ll be able to publish on my own timeline, whereas if I end up in the top three I’ll be on someone else’s schedule. So je ne sais pas. Ich weiss nicht. Ek weet nie. Non lo so.

How’s it feel?

Every time I get a notification on Facebook, my brain does something like this: “ooh I wonder who- WAIT I’M BEING PUBLISHED”. Every time the office phone rings, I say “David Crowe’s office” and my brain goes “this is Alice Hayes, SOON-TO-BE-PUBLISHED AUTHOR, speaking”.

To be serious for just a minute, this is a dream come true, and I’m still in a state of shock (have I said that enough?), and I can’t put it into words. It really hit me when I wrote to HIlary Freeman this morning. Many years ago, when Loving Danny had such a big hold on my heart, and when she wrote to me, I told myself that if ever I got published, writing to her would be the first thing I would do. That day was today. A letter I planned to send eight years ago. I can’t tell you how that feels. I can’t even find a gif that sums it all up (and you all know how much I love gifs), but this one comes pretty close:

The question we all want to know: are you drinking a celebratory Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino?

You bet your ass I am.

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