Book Awards, Book Clubs, BS, and Birthdays

You don’t know how excited I was when I read the paper this morning and found that Walter Dean Myers was nominated for a National Book Award. I’ll be honest – I haven’t even read Autobiography of My Dead Brother, the novel that is nominated (I’ve really got to catch up on my reading), but I really, really hope he wins.

I’m a little biased. I grew up on Walter Dean Myers (and Virginia Hamilton). They spoke to me when few other authors did. Like most kids, I was a Judy Blume fanatic, but when I wanted to read something with a main character that looked like me, I turned to Mr. Myers and Ms. Hamilton. If they gave National Book Awards for a body of work, he should win, hands down.

In other news, the revisions to the manuscript are going pretty well. I should be finished by sometime next week. After that comes the hard part. Do I spend the money on a professional critique? Do I start sending the manuscript to agents–

Yeah, that’s correct. Recently, my agent and I parted ways. I can’t go into details, but I will say that my agent is a wonderful person and she will make a great agent for a certain type of author. However, I’m not that type of author.

Anyway, as I was saying…what do I do with this manuscript? I think I’m gonna send it out for a professional critique. I THINK Mrs. V is on board. She realizes that the novel I’m working on is pretty special, and I think I’ve convinced her that it’s worth the money and time to get it done right.

Finally, Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine has given Red Polka Dot a Four Star Review. I picked up the magazine in Borders tonight, and after reading the review, I proceed with my “happy dance”. The review almost made up for all the other BS going on right now… (One day, I promise, I will spill the beans on everything).

There’ll be more about the review next week. I’m off to Dallas (again) for a friend’s wedding. Oh, and before I forget…


4 Responses to “Book Awards, Book Clubs, BS, and Birthdays”

  1. Nicole Henry

    Varian, I started out at CBconnect this morning where your picture is posted under Employee Spotlight. My next step was reading an excerpt of your book Red Polka Dot in a World of Plaid- I’m Sold. I love the first chapter and am starving for more even though I just finished breakfast. LOL. I’d like to know how I could get a signed copy when its released-I’ll send it to you as soon as I get it. LOL I work in the Fort Lauderdale office so I wont be able to attend your appearances. I’ll be in Borders looking for it. Congratulations on your many continued successes.

  2. Don Tate II

    Hey Varian,

    Question. This is a question and not a comment, ’cause I sure don’t know the answer and may even consider something like this when I finally get something written. If you pay a professional critic to review your manuscript, might they be biased to give the feedback you want to hear? Did you do the same with Plaid? I’m wondering if you might be better served to have an agent(a hungry one) review and give feedback? Again, I don’t know the answer, I’m just throwing this out.

  3. Varian Johnson

    I’ve been flip-flopping on the professional critique / agent issue for a few weeks now, and I still don’t know what I’m gonna do. Two years ago, you couldn’t have convinced me that it was worth the money to pay someone else to critique my work. However, a lot has happened over the past two years to change my opinion on such things.

    I’d be curious if anyone else has thoughts on the matter.

  4. Anonymous


    don’t pay someone for the critic. send your writings to friends who don’t mind giving you feedbacks. after all, normal ppl like your friends are the ones who buy the book, not those who wanna earn a living by reading your book.