And yes, it does sting… but no, not as much…

March 3, 2009 at 8:06 am (Uncategorized)

Well, little did I know how well timed today’s post would prove to be. I knew it was getting close, and the winners of the 2009 Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Awards have just been announced. I’m sorry to have to tell you that I did not win a place on the program. I am pleased for the five writers who will soon be spending ten days at beautiful Varuna with HarperCollins editors to work on their manuscripts – it’s a special place that makes everything seem possible. I hope they all eventually see their books published. 

I am a little shaky, but intact. It turns out I really meant what I said earlier, which is a nice thing to discover. I am okay. I have a lot of work to do, and I know and accept that. The endorsement would have been nice, working with an editor at this point would have been amazing, but this works too, and that’s the way life goes. Hey, I was shortlisted this year having not made the long list last year – maybe I’ll have a crack at winning in 2010. The good news is HarperCollins doesn’t now have the rights to my MS, which they would have done, without any obligation to publish, had I been one of the five chosen to participate. I’m free, and freedom is not something I take lightly as I come around the bend for the start of another long lap of the obstacle course.



  1. litlove said,

    Big hugs and good on you for taking it so well. Decisions at this level are so very subjective (and quite possibly based on editors HC had available, their lists for next year, etc, factors that have nothing to do with your work). You reached the important stage in the competition – the one that assures you that you have solid gold talent.

  2. Grad said,

    I have heard,and I do believe it is true, that what at first seems to be a disappointment is really a fork in the road that leads you in the right direction. As the late Joseph Campbell would tell you, “Follow your bliss,” and you won’t go far wrong.

  3. Lilian Nattel said,

    I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but really glad to hear you’re doing okay with it & looking at the plus side of things.

  4. doctordi said,

    Thanks, girls! I think writers must find rejection a LOT easier these days now we’ve got things like blogs and blogging friends to help ease the pain. It must have been pretty awful back in the days of scrolls and quills – you’d have been waiting weeks for a ‘buck up, buttercup’ to arrive on the stagecoach…

    Look, it totally sucks, but the decision’s been made and the road has forked. I don’t like dwelling on races that have already been run and lost. Take the lesson and move on, that’s my credo. I agree, Grad – disappointments have always taken me down better, more interesting trails, so off we go…

  5. Miriam said,

    That’s a bummer, but it doesn’t lessen the feat of having gotten so far in such a hard-fought competition, and it sounds like you’re dealing with the sting in the best possible way, so congratulations!

  6. doctordi said,

    Thanks, Miss M. I was pretty tempted to drink several bottles of wine last night to “make myself feel better,” but in the end I didn’t, and today I do at least feel better for that.

  7. davidrochester said,

    IMO, these contests are actually fraught with peril for those who place, for exactly the reason you mention — the publisher then owns the rights, and if they choose not to publish, the author is completely SOL as far as selling the manuscript elsewhere. For the sake of your book’s future prospects, it’s better not to be in that particular race.

  8. doctordi said,

    David, a Darkling circulated a story about this very thing yesterday. A writer won one of these exact awards and participated in the program, but then they shelved her MS and it still languishes in Forgotten Book Hell. She’s since written a second novel that’s been published (by another publisher), but her first is still in the grip of a publisher who evidently has no urge to see it for sale in a book store. Agony. I can only imagine that must be sheer agony for the writer.

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