From WritersWeekly Short Story Contest Winner to Simon and Schuster Contract! By Angela Hoy

Last weekend, I received the email below. It was, by far, the nicest email anybody has ever sent to me. It made me cry. 🙂

I wanted to share it with you so you, too, can see that miracles can and do happen to new authors!

Hi Angela–

My name is Trey Dowell. You probably don’t remember me, but more than a decade ago, I was convinced by a former girlfriend to enter your (quarterly) 24-hour short story contest. At that point, I had a grand total of two short stories to my name, and hadn’t really given writing more than a passing consideration as a hobby. To my utter shock, the story I submitted to the contest, called “Upstairs,” ending up winning, and the announcement was published on your site on my birthday (August 27th, 2002) of all days.

That opportunity, along with your kind words in a subsequent email, made me think that I just might have a future as a writer–IF I chose to work seriously toward that goal. So I did.

I spent a few years working on more short stories, won a couple of awards, and really practiced the elements I’d need to develop a full novel…a task that seemed completely impossible back when I wrote “Upstairs” and pressed “send” with a shaky finger. By 2011, I finally had an idea big enough to fill 350 pages, and I spent the better part of a year hammering that sucker into shape.

I ended up getting an agent on only my fourth attempt and, after a round of her edits, she submitted the novel to all the Big 5 publishers in New York. To my delight (and even more shock than I had on August 27th, 2002), my first novel was purchased by Simon & Schuster, and published in October of last year.

It occurred to me then that I owed you a debt of gratitude because, if it wasn’t for, I’m not sure any of what followed…well, would have. I got busy working on other projects, though, and this email remained unsent, until now. Just wanted to let you know that you and your website made a big difference in my life, and give proof to the idea that sometimes the impossible…happens.

Thanks again.


Trey Dowell, Author



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Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.

About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises. - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."

Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors. - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!

Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.

Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)

See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.


BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!



Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE