OMG: It’s Not Actually a Rejection!

I got an e-mail from James Jones the other day — I mean, it wasn’t from James Jones himself, but from the committee that administers the James Jones First Novel Fellowship.  You know what I love about this e-mail?  First, my name is on it.  Second, it is not a rejection (I mean, I didn’t win the whole thing, but I was pretty high up on that list.)  Third, my name is spelled right. 

I’d like to point out that I, Lily Hamrick, write things that get rejected a LOT.   I think this happens to everyone who writes and sends things out, so I don’t feel special about the rejections I get.  I also think I am proof that if you keep at it, which is to say, if you keep working at improving your writing and keep sending it out, even when you feel so deflated by your rejections, eventually you will find that your work is getting read and appreciated.  Or maybe it never will be — after all, look at Emily Dickinson — but I think it’s true that no matter what, you just have to keep doing what you love doing. 

This applies to many, many things other than writing, of course.  And that’s what I wish for you, dear readers — that you keep working away at the things you love, and that those things bear fruition.

James Jones First Novel Fellowship 2008
This year, the James Jones Fellowship had a total of 520 submissions.
Below are the top seven novels as decided by the judges.

Winner:§     Margarite Landry, Southborough, MA, is the winner of the James Jones First Novel Fellowship with her manuscript titled Blue Moon.


§     Matthew Dillon, Port Townsend, WA, is a runner-up winner with his manuscript titled Restoration.
§     Nicholas Gerogiannis, Birmingham, AL, is a runner-up winner with his manuscript titled Sere.


§     Lily Hamrick, Berkeley, CA, for the manuscript, The Secret War
§     Elizabeth Wetmore, Chicago, IL, for the manuscript, The Earth is Flat
§     Kim Triedman, Arlington, MA, for the manuscript, The Other Room
§     Lowell Brower, Walworth, WI, for the manuscript, The Safari Guide


Thank you to everyone who participated.
Diane Reed, J. Michael Lennon, Kaylie Jones, 2008 Judges


34 thoughts on “OMG: It’s Not Actually a Rejection!

  1. Wow. That is wonderful news. Years ago, Manuel Puig came to my college to talk to students about writing. He told the story of a friend who had a beautiful novel but who couldn’t get anyone to publish it for ten years. That novel was 100 Years of Solitude. See, if you keep at it…Go Lily, go Lily, go Lily!

  2. C– Hello and welcome. Thank you.

    Exactly Mari. I love to hear about people who keep at it. I mean, what harm does it do anyone if you (a) love something and (b) keep doing it?

    Thank you Bora! I know you know what this is like, and it means a lot to know that people right in my neighborhood are keeping at it.

    Hello SW — You know, it is really heartening. For the most part, I really enjoyed writing that book, and I am loving the next book (when I get to go back to it, I mean, becaue I am still revising The Secret War), which has been rewarding too. But still…

  3. Congrats! Your hard work is starting to pay off! I’m an aspiring novelist/freelance writer myself, and am looking forward to the day when I can say I was in the top 7 of anything. Keep up the good work.


  4. In years to come your latest bookcover will say, finalists of James Jones First Novel Fellowship 2008, Booker Prize winner of 2021…or something along that line. You are not only a finalists, but an inspiration for us all. What great news.

  5. Lily yay! Yay! Titles of four finalists all feature three words with the first word being “The” — Titles of two runners-up are single words, one a noun, one a verb. Title of winning novel is two words, noun modified by adjective.

    Mindless, statistically insignificant pattern. Just saying.

    It’s so nice to see you back here with a fabulous new feather in your cap. So very happy for you!


  6. Huge, HUGE congratulations. This is fantastic!

    (p.s. Thanks, also, for the recent pep talk on my blog. Was talking about it to my husband last night and he agrees with you. Listen to her, he says! I wish I could return the favor somehow to you.)

  7. Ta Dah! roll out the band…trumpet fanfare please! i’m so pleased for you, and yes, the more credits this puppy racks up the more likely to find a publisher (what does your agent say?) Besides, you can now claim two very very nice credits on all future submissions of whatever and all.


  8. Congratulations, Lily! Being in the Top Seven is already a big achievement. Actually, this is my first time on your site. I was just passing through as I was introducing WordPress to someone. But the “rejection” word in your title attracted my attention. I myself had lots of rejections in writing and in other aspects of life and it’s always a eureka moment when I read of someone overcoming challenges and eventually achieving something, not by some special powers, but by just holding on.
    More blessings to you.

  9. Congratulations!!!! I can’t wait to read it. It’s much easier to publish a book than to win a contest, or even be a finalist in a contest… just a matter of time!

  10. Cole — Holy cow is exactly what I thought. Man. Me? Are you sure? Get me the batblog so I can tell my friends!!

    Rhiann — You’re back! I’m so glad you’re on the airwaves. It wasn’t the same without you. And thank you for that thought.

    Gentle Reader, It was pretty exciting. I mean, I know you’re not supposed to care too much about what other people think of your work, but I find that very difficult to pull off.

    Oh Ella, I feel like I’ve just received that. xoxo

    Hello and welcome I, Good luck with that book! I’d love to hear how it goes.

    Sandi — Have I mentioned before that I ADORE YOU? I do.

  11. This is brilliant! I’m looking forward to reading The Secret War when it hits the shelves.

    Heh heh, I get a lot of rejections too! I’ve got a rejection post brewing, am just waiting for the right time, but, oddly enough, it’s a really positive one. A few weeks ago I received the best rejection I’ve ever had… does that make any sense?

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