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Writer, Editor, Designer

Posts tagged award

I’ve been fond of saying recently that until someone agrees to publish the inside of my book, I’ll have to settle for designing the outsides of other peoples’ books. I’ve been getting some great recognition for that lately.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 7.24.58 PMYesterday, I found out I won (was one of three winners, but yeah, I won) the Harvard Book Store contest to design the cover for their latest short-short story anthology, Microchondria III.

Then, today I found out that my design for Christina Stoddard‘s Brittingham Poetry Prize-winning collection HIVE is a finalist for The da Vinci Eye Award for superior book jacket design. Stoddard_Hive_hires_RGBIt’s also been entered in the AAUP Book Jacket & Journal Show, so my fingers are crossed for both of those awards.

Can I get a huzzah? Want to hire me to design your book cover? I’m this close to being an award-winning book designer. THIS CLOSE, Y’ALL.

I did not win the 2014 Missouri Review’s Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize. Nope. Lost! DID NOT WIN. But I was so excited about the results I told everyone, jumped around (figuratively), and had such a goddamn big smile on my face, that four more rejections that week did little to scuff my shine because I was a semifinalist. Which means I was in the top 25, that elite 1% of stories that made it to the final rounds. Holy hell.

Early in your writing career, the reward system of your brain gets rewired. We face so much rejection that even the tiniest wins seem monstrous achievements. We might break our legs over and over trying to ascend Everest and almost die of exposure, but you should see us dance when we actually step up a curb without falling on our asses.

We check RejectionWiki for the slightest chance that we got a higher-tier form rejection letter, something our published advisors have said is like trying to read fortunes in tea leaves. We brag to our fellow writers about that Raiders of the Lost Ark golden idol of a personal rejection—sure we lost to some pompous prick and were almost killed by Amazonians, but by golly, someone fucking noticed us.

So sure, I lost the contest and had stories rejected almost 40 times last year, but this time, this time, that Pavlovian response of dopamine is mine and I’m going to savor that son of a bitch.