Made It Moment

Author Jenny Milchman is the Chair of International Thriller Writers‘ Debut Authors Program and founder of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, which was celebrated in all 50 states and four foreign countries by over 350 bookstores in 2011. Among Jenny’s many efforts to promote authors, writing and reading, Jenny hosts the Made It Moments forum on her blog, which has featured more than 150 international bestsellers, Edgar winners, and independent authors. The following is taken from her July 7, 201 post of my own Made It Moment.

Thanks, Jenny!

How did I know I’d made it? I remember quite clearly:

I have a near Made It Moment when a fellow conference attendee asks agent Elizabeth Pomada whether it was worth flying across the country to find new talent. She says yes, because she found me. I’m ecstatic.

This turns out to be just one of several near misses of my career. Years later I meet Debra Dixon (a.k.a. DD) at the 2010 SCWG conference in Melbourne, Florida. Bell Bridge Books (BBB) is considering handling a few YA titles, so DD asks to see a manuscript, even though they “have no interest in boy books.”

Obviously I hold little hope. Six months pass with no word. Then an email from DD. Someone’s finally reading my story and enjoying it–”a good sign.” I decide against reminding her they aren’t interested in boy books.

A week later, another email. DD’s on her way out of town but says when she returns she’ll mail out a contract. Everyone read my manuscript and is excited to work with me. An obvious Made It Moment, but I’ve been burned too many times to start celebrating just yet.

When I sign the contract I can’t help but focus on the clause that states BBB can back out if they find me difficult to work with. Every time I question a revision I worry the ax is about to fall. Finally How to Slay a Dragon is released. I feel . . . uncertain. Will anyone read it? It hits #1 in children’s fiction. I still have doubts.

Obviously I’m not good at defining success. How about this? My Made It Moment was when a fellow author thought I had accomplished enough that people would want to hear about my Made It Moment. My advice to authors waiting for theirs. Learn the craft, find your voice, and don’t give up until you make it. It will happen in time.

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