I have been meaning to submit to the Texas Book Festival ever since I attended my first one last October. But between ending a series, starting a new one, so many projects for my clients, wrestling with taxes, sleeping, and falling in love again with the delicious camp comedy that is RuPaul’s Drag Race, I just had a lot on my plate this year.
Yesterday, I suddenly realized that the deadline to submit was today. I considered giving up and trying again next year. But then I took a look at the submission requirements and realized I had most of it ready to go—two copies of my latest book The Super Collection, a press kit, etc. And since I live here in Austin, I could just drop it off instead of mailing it. I might be able to make this work, I thought.
I needed a cover letter, though. Maybe if I had started this a couple of months ago, I could write the perfect introduction to my submission, show it to everyone, revise it seventy times, throw it out, and write it again. But I had limited time and even less patience so I just wrote what I meant:
Thank you for considering me for the 2016 Texas Book Festival. I am thrilled at the possibility of presenting this year. Please find enclosed a press kit and two copies of my latest work, The Super Collection. It is a compilation of four novels from my series, Super.
You guys probably get a ton of submissions every single year so I am going to make this short—I would make a lovely addition to your 2016 line-up.
I’m a local Austin author so my travel is covered. As an experienced independent author in a world where more and more authors are also entrepreneurs, I have a wealth of business knowledge relevant to this year’s attendees. I’m also a black woman writing superhero fantasy comedy. Essentially, I am a unicorn—a unicorn that wants to come to your festival.
But best of all, I’m funny. My books are funny. And people will get their money’s worth and have a damn good time at my panel.
Sincerely, Princess Jones
P.S.—No, seriously. Pick me.
It was unabashedly, authentically me. So if they pick me, at least they know what they’re getting.
Mission Kinda Sorta Possible
This morning, I had to work onsite for a client so I threw my documents and my books into a bag. Between meetings, I hunted around the office for a box no one would miss. I finally conned someone in the mailroom into giving me a leftover box. Then, I fought traffic all the way downtown to the Texas Book Festival headquarters.
I got lost a few times—once in the car and twice while walking along Bezos Street searching for the building. I paid for parking. I got accosted by a homeless man wanting gum and cigarettes. (I had neither.) I bothered a valet trying to park cars, but I only asked him for directions, not gum or cigarettes. I almost gave my submission to an architectural firm that most definitely was not interested in my book. But they told me I was in the right building. I took the elevator up to the second floor and walked through the open door marked “Texas Book Festival.”
And then, nothing.
The entryway was empty. I couldn’t hear any talking or movement inside. “Hello?” I called out in my I’m-Swear-I’m-Not-A-Stalker voice. I took a few more steps into the office, silently calculating what the Texas jail sentence might be for misdemeanor trespassing. (Lethal injection, obviously.) And that’s when a lovely young woman came out to greet me. “Is that a submission?” I gave her a mute nod. She took the box from me and told me to have a nice day.
I took the elevator back down to the first floor, found my way back to the parking garage, fought traffic home, ripped off my sweaty bra, stuffed a pina colada flavored popsicle in my mouth, and greeted my dogs. Now it’s time for the waiting game.
But while I wait, I write.
*I might have changed this since I don’t actually need to address the festival. But “Hi there” made for a terrible title.
8/10/16 Update: Annnnndddddd I was NOT accepted for the Texas Book Festival. I’m kinda bummed about it actually. We’ll see how next year shakes out.