June 15th is the day I know my life forever changed. This was the day I entered SPFBO, a self-publishing contest where the first 300 to enter are automatically in (as long as they adhere to the simple rules). I woke up at 4:50am, sent the email (cause it needed to be sent by 12pm GMT) and then proceeded to stay awake and continuously refresh the Phase I page till I saw my name on the list. When I saw it I was so excited.

As an indie author there aren’t many places where rejection comes my way. At least, not rejection that I truly care about. Not like writers seeking to be traditionally published, who acquire a stack of rejection letters from agents and publishing houses. Sometimes I wish I had those. They help a writer develop a thick skin, are a sign of courage, and every “no” brings them closer to an eventual “yes!” I think that is so cool! But with a contest like SPFBO (and others like it that I now have the courage to seek out and enter) I will get my very FIRST rejection and it will be such an amazing experience for me!

I know, you must be thinking I’m a nut or something. Why am I excited to NOT be chosen as one of the 10 finalists in this contest? Shouldn’t I be hoping for the best and preparing myself for the worst? Not really. I’ve seen the list and I know there are some really great authors this year. I’m not naive to think my debut novel could ever beat them out. Plus, entering SPFBO this year was not so I could win, but so I could join a group of other writers who are just like me!

I know I could just go to Twitter and search the #WritingCommunity hashtag and find hundreds if not thousands of indie authors just like me. I could also search the #IndieAuthor hashtag as well. But I feel like joinig SPFBO is like being a part of an elite club of authors who had the courage to put their work out there to be judged by bloggers and a group of our peers. I could never get something like this anywhere else!

Because of SPFBO I have increased my list of amazing authors that I have never heard of and probably never would have without something like this. I then proceeded to follow all of them on Twitter. Whether or not they follow me back isn’t what this is about either. I’m not trying to boost my follower count but I am trying to increase my reach of comraderie.

Being a writer (be it indie or traditional) is a lonely road. There is nothing like knowing there are 299 others walking down the same road as I am. And when I really think about it, this is the 5th year for this contest, and accounting for those who have entered multiple years, there are at least 1200+ walking with me down this road. Include the bloggers who are taking time out of their regular lives to read our work and this all just gets better!

There is nothing to lose to enter this contest. But there are a countless number of people and experiences to be gained when you do!

The top 10 finalists will be announced some time later this year. Till then, I’ll try to bring more updates as to my experience with my first ever entry into SPFBO.

I will say, the book I want to enter in SPFBO 6? I’m looking for that one to be a real contender!