She sat in the back corner of the classroom, eyes focused toward the front of the room, ready to listen to what I was about to read.
I stood at the front. Excited to share my recently-finished novel. Nervous that she would be among that group of students who would be the first to experience it.
Amy knew good literature. Her mother, who had a master’s in literature education, read with the family frequently. She had been exposed to some of the greats. And I was an unknown author reading my first novel to a group of third and fourth graders.
As I looked up, my eyes naturally went to Amy’s corner of the room. I was reassured seeing her facial expressions match the emotion of the book–and even more reassured when I overheard her whisper to a classmate, “It’s sooo good!”
Then there was Wyndham. I don’t remember what his face looked like as I was reading. I wasn’t sure how much the boys would appreciate a book where two girls were the main characters. But what I do remember was that every time he saw me thereafter, he would stop me and, eyes wide with excitement, ask if I had published my book yet. My answer was no, but he never gave up. For years, he continued asking me the same question.
Sometimes I wonder if he believed in me more than I believed in myself.
It’s been nearly a decade now. I’ve had stops and starts. Periods of encouragement, and periods of discouragement. Book agents who expressed interest in my novel then politely declined to represent me. Years where I’ve put the books aside, and years where I dusted it off to try again.
And all this time, it has been these children’s reactions to my book that have kept bringing me back to my dream of getting it published.
“Is it just me?” I wonder when I see my e-book go for months without a sale. “Am I the only one who thinks this book is any good?”
And then I think about Amy and Wyndham and that classroom of students. That was who the book was written for. They thought it was good. Kids will love my book. I know it. I just need to find adults who can help me get the book into their hands.