Since the first Olympics, which supposedly were circa 776 BC, or perhaps before, society has rewarded the best. The proliferation of awards shows such as the Academy Awards and the Grammys, reality TV shows such as American Idol and the vast amount of publicity surrounding them, show that while being successful in your field is great, more value is placed on the finalists and the most on the winners. America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway even had an All Stars cycle to honor the best of the best.
I remember wanting to be best at something from a young age. Many might say just enjoy the journey, it’s doing your best, not being best that counts, etc. But then there’s also winners never quit, quitters never win.
Last year my medieval At His Command won Romance Writers of America’s® Golden Heart® award for best unpublished inspirational manuscript. What an amazing night. But being the best can be fleeting. My name/picture is still on the website, but now there’s a new crop of finalists. Some 2011 finalists finaled again this year. A good number of my fellow finalists have acquired an agent and/or sold, some more than one book. I’m still working on that. What can I be the best at right now?
Maybe it’s helping friends edit and finish their manuscripts. There’s no award that I know of for best critiquer, but many thank me in their books, though that’s not my goal. I truly enjoy critiquing, offering suggestions and especially finding typos.
But I wonder who’s been thanked the in the most books for contributions and/or support and encouragement? Among the authors who’ve thanked me are NYT and USA Today bestseller Simone Elkeles and NYT bestseller Tracy Anne Warren, who thanked me in The Husband Trap. Simone has thanked me in many of her books, and even dedicated Leaving Paradise to me.
Recently I critiqued a proposal for another multi-published friend Terri Reed, who thanked me in The Secret Heiress. And after commenting via track changes, I’ve been talking through things and motivating another friend to finish his first book. I’m expecting a couple of more projects to critique. It can be time consuming, but also rewarding.
Of course, some friends have helped me in return by reviewing parts of my manuscripts. I just don’t have any published novels to thank them in yet. I look forward to the day when I can.