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Last August, I won a Gold Medal for my debut Young Adult novel, The Anchor Clankers. Since then, I’ve been writing a sequel, spending most days alone at my computer.

However, this year I understand that when the manuscript is finished, the hardest part begins: telling people about it.

My isolation disappears as I ask folks to read and edit my words, ask literary agents if they might represent me, ask readers for blurbs, post on Facebook (again and again), and eventually ask people to show up at some bookstore on a Wednesday night to listen to me read an excerpt from my work.

This author life is not for the timid.

I’m grateful to the people who read my book. And sometimes a friend from high school will surprise me by showing up to a reading or posting a review online. Sometimes a stranger will email me out of the blue and say they loved it, and in those moments, it feels like I’ve accomplished something impossible. Maybe not the Nobel Prize for Literature, but it feels better than I ever thought it could.

(Fortunately, the average age of Literature Laureates is 65 – I’ve still got time.)