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Posts Tagged ‘Goodreads Choice Awards’

There are a lot of literary prizes in the world, but not that many awarded on the basis of readers’ votes. This is why one of my favorite second place finishes was when All the Ugly and Wonderful Things came in second in the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2016. Nearly 28,000 people voted for my book, and it beat out such big name authors as Jodi Picoult, Ian McEwan, and Jonathan Safran Foer. My mind was boggled that so many readers voted for my book.

This year, sadly, The Reckless Oath We Made didn’t make the first round. Then something amazing happened: readers wrote my book in. Enough readers that it moved on to the semifinals. You still have about 12 hours left to vote in the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards. You could even vote for The Reckless Oath We Made, if you wanted. It would be an even more astounding little miracle if it moved onto the next round.

Even if I don’t make it to the next round, however, I feel like I’ve experienced one of the things that writers don’t talk enough about. We talk about awards, we talk about reviews, we talk about advances, and we talk about the disappointments and frustrations of publishing as an industry. So rarely do we talk about that small piercing feeling of joy in community that comes from connecting with your readers, and hearing from them that they connected with your book.

For writers like me who are extreme introverts with mental health issues that make appreciating ourselves difficult, it’s a huge feeling to know that you’ve stitched this fragile thread between your work and its readers, to know that there are people out there who are nodding along as you tell your stories, and they’re passing those stories onto others.

So while it feels like a little miracle that my book garnered enough write-in votes to end up in the semifinals of one of the few really big reader awards out there, knowing that my people have found me is a big deal. Thank you for the part you’ve played in that.

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When I was in high school, I was in the marching band. Depending on the venue, I played either the baritone saxophone or the bass saxophone. All 5’5″ and 90 lbs. of me, so it was no easy feat. During my sophomore year, we traveled to an away game that would decide whether the football team went on to the state championships for our division.

During that game it rained, it sleeted, it snowed. The marching band performed valiantly, and the football team a little less so. We lost to a team whose quarterback would become my brother-in-law a few years later. By the time we loaded onto the bus for the long ride home, the marching band was mostly frozen into our uniforms. We were lucky they were heavy wool, because although we were all soaked and frozen, we were fairly warm sealed up inside that wet wool. I spent most of the ride home with the harness for the bass sax still attached, because my hair was frozen to it.

On the drive there, we’d done much cheering and chanting, but the ride home was more subdued. A well-meaning, but misguided cheerleader started up a familiar cheer. At the point in the cheer when the audience was supposed to respond with “We’re Number One!” I answered in my loudest, crowd-piercing voice: “We’re Number Two!” I got some glares, but the tired and frozen brass section behind me took up the chant. Honestly, we weren’t bitter. The team had made it further than anyone expected us to. There was no shame in having come in second.

atuawt-cover-w-goodreads-badgeThat’s how I feel this morning, upon being informed that All the Ugly and Wonderful Things received the second highest number of votes in the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Fiction. 27,000 people voted my book! I got more votes than Jodi Picoult (mind=boggled).

So in honor of all the second place runners up, I am celebrating!

I’m Number Two!

And thank you to everybody who voted for me! If you’d like to celebrate with me, please consider leaving me a review on your preferred online venue. Reviews really do make a huge difference.

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