For reasons I don’t quite recall, last September I ended up on the website for the Chicken Soup for the Soul books (I think I was trying to look something up about one of the editors or something like that–it’s not really relevant). While I was there and scrolling down the page, my eye alighted upon the following button:
Submit Your Story
I don’t know why it caught my attention. Given that, as previously discussed, I’m not much of a hand with nonfiction, it was hardly logical for me to think, “Oh hey, I should submit something!”–but for some reason or other, I went digging through my files and came across a funny little essay I’d written about my experiences in theatre in high school. With nothing in my mind other than, “What the hell,” I copied and pasted the text into the submission form, pressed the send button, and promptly forgot about the whole thing.
So imagine my shock when, six months later, I was contacted by the Chicken Soup editors to say that my story had made the final round of submissions and would likely be published.
I always imagined that my first real-world (as opposed to internet) submission for publication would be a big deal in my mind. I figured I would write some little short story, slave over it for days and days in order to perfect it, send it, and then start clicking the refresh button on my email every three minutes in anxious anticipation of a reply. Weirdly, though, that’s not at all what happened. My first time being published in something that is actually going to appear in lots of brick-and-mortar bookstores is a bit of nonfiction about my struggles with comedy.
Which does not mean that it is not FREAKING AWESOME.
The reason I’m thinking about all of this right now is because I just received my ten contributor copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Teenagers: 101 Stories of Inspiration and Support for Teens yesterday afternoon. I’ll post a picture as soon as I can. They’re beautiful. I know they’re not *my* book in the way that Unfamiliar Spellings is (more on this later), but they have my name and my writing in them. And on July 26th, you’ll be able to walk into Barnes and Noble and get one. HOLY FREAKING CRAP.
Also, did I mention I get paid for this? I need to find a very special way to spend that check–or maybe I won’t spend it at all. Maybe I’ll just hang it up on my wall and stare at it whenever writing or editing or querying is starting to seem like a chore.
After all, if I can get published by accident, I ought to be able to do it when I’m actually trying as well, right? *grins*