Nathan held a contest on his blog to commemorate the publication of The Secret Year, a debut novel by his client Jennifer Hubbard which went on sale Thursday, January 7. The contest consisted of "writing the most compelling (fictional) teen diary entry." It could be a diary entry or an unsent letter, but it had to be in a teen's voice.
When I looked at the entries on Wednesday, the last night of the contest, I saw over 600 entries. At the last moment, I decided to submit. I didn't have time to give a lot of consideration to what I was going to write, so I took an a portion from my manuscript, reworked it and placed my hat in the ring.
When I checked Nathan's blog the next day, he had selected 9 honorable mentions and 5 finalists. Out of 672 entries, I was selected as one of the 9 honorable mentions! I was really shocked. With so much competition, and little time, I saw little chance in getting much attention. There were some angsty, deep teen writing going on. I simply submitted a piece of work that I, myself took pride in and if it didn't win, I was still happy with what I produced.
My essential message to all of you who are aspiring authors is to believe in yourself and what it is you're determined to achieve. Make sure you're happy with what you produce and you can walk away satisfied regardless of whether you win or lose or get accepted or rejected-but you may win or get that acceptance! And that's the icing on the cake.