The bottom line: it's about more than writing skill and a good story. It's also about being lucky and having your manuscript land in the hands of judges who enjoy your voice and your story. Which is why I'm embracing Lady Luck today, and I am beyond thrilled. There are many phenomenal writers out there who also entered this year and didn't get that call today. I'm here to tell you it doesn't mean what you've written isn't worthy of making the finals. It means this is a subjective business and luck plays a role, whether in contests, or finding the right agent to represent you, or in finally finding that perfect editor who adores your story and voice. Of course, you have to do the work to hone your craft and develop a great premise that hooks the reader; but beyond that, it's out of your hands. It's all about timing and a healthy dose of luck. So congratulations to all the lucky finalists today! This is going to be a fun ride.
To those who entered and didn't get that call--NEVER give up! I have to remind myself daily, so here's a little motivational penguin to help.