Tonight I got home from work and there was a mysterious envelope addressed to me...in my own handwriting. I stared at it for a few seconds and then began hopping up and down in excitement. It had come!
Rewind about three months: I had learned from Theresa Martin Golding (a middle grade and picture book author, and a total sweetheart) that one of the best conferences in my area was Rutgers University's One-on-One Plus Conference. Sponsored by the university's Council on Children's Literature, the conference "brings together the largest number of professionals of any conference of its kind. The unique one-on-one format gives writers and illustrators a rare opportunity to share their work with an assigned mentor." Basically, it's an application process, and they choose a total of 70-80 writers and illustrators (beginning and established), and each person is assigned specifically to an agent or editor who specializes in their genre.
Of course, I applied, submitting the first three pages of my Young Adult novel, Multiple Choice, and wrote a one-page statement about what my goals are as a writer and how I've been networking and working towards publication.
I didn't expect an answer until the end of August, but lo and behold, there was the SASE in my handwriting waiting for me on the endtable. When I read the letter, I couldn't believe that I'd actually been accepted. Not joking, a couple tears escaped. (I'm such a happy crier, it's ridiculous.) After hopping up and down some more, I felt sort of silly, but I couldn't help it! I felt validated, that these strangers had judged me based on merit and I'd passed! They think I have what it takes to be published. And as much as the FNC ladies keep me sane and strengthen me, it's nice to hear from semi-Powers That Be.
Anyway, I'm ecstatic, thrilled, and also intimidated, because I have a lot of editors and agents to research to see who I want to approach at the conference, and a pitch to create and master (it's changed SO much since the last time I needed one)... but thankfully the conference isn't until mid-October.
And for some perspective --- if I'm this excited about being accepted to a conference, I seriously can't imagine how it feels to be Maggie Stiefvater right now!