Thoughts On BYU’s Publishing Fair

Today I went to BYU to watch a friend of mine from the geology program where I did my undergrad defend her thesis (she did a fantastic job), and to attend the university’s quaint publishing fair. I made one or two new contacts and reconnected with old ones. I also ended up subbing at a booth informing students and visitors about YPublish Club: an organized student writing critique group that meets weekly. There were two unexpectedly pleasant surprises in my encounter today. One, a small publisher I hadn’t connected with before asked me to send my half self-published novella their way for consideration (though it might be a bit dark for their tastes). They were very enthusiastic and really really nice. I was also invited to inquire about writing guest blog posts for their website. Second, another publisher where I previously sent a novel manuscript (and got rejected) also asked me how things were going with that manuscript. They encouraged me to revise it because they really did like the premise (and I assume they really would like to see it again after I make revisions).

I feel a bit of longing after watching my friend wrap up her Master’s degree. I could be there too, I think. Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t make it into grad school after applying three years in a row, researching programs carefully, applying broadly, doing two mentored research projects, etc. But then I realize that if I’d made it into a graduate program at this point in time, I wouldn’t have written a book–something I’ve always wanted to do–and I certainly wouldn’t be trying to launch a writing career. While I feel a bit lost sometimes on where I’m “supposed” to be going in my life right now, it’s nice to consider that I’ve had this opportunity after all to develop another skill I’m just as passionate about as science. Hopefully someday, what I’m writing will make a difference and all this wandering and toiling and waiting will have been worth it.

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Sarah E. Seeley is a fantasy and horror author, and an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association.
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