So, by March 15th, I packaged up five books for submission and sent them on their way. When they received the package, I got this email from the founder and one of the judges for the Isotope Award, James Sime:
"I just opened up the FedEx box with your mini-comic submissions in it... and we're rocking your CD on the shop's sound system as we speak.
This is really a nice looking book. Give yourself a pat on the back for the gorgeous packaging, won't you?
Best of luck!
I figured that went well and hoped for the best.
I knew that the judges would have to inform the winner if they had won or not a few weeks early in order for that person to get out to San Francisco and accept the award on April 21st. But, when it was two weeks from the ceremony and I hadn't heard a thing I figured I hadn't won and left it at that. When it was a week from the ceremony I was sure I hadn't won.
Then I got an email five days from April 21st.
"I'm please to inform you that you are one of the finalists for the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics.
I am writing to confirm that you will be present for the APE convention and the award ceremony. Please let me know as soon as possible.
And, as one of the judges, let me congratulate you on a great book that I know all of the judges really enjoyed!
With only five days to get there my mind went into overdrive as to how I was going to pull this off. I checked flights but since it was under seven days from the travel time all the flight rates had gone up. I checked into driving but, while it would be cheaper, would still put me in a car for over 36 hours. I tried to call my Dad to see what he would do, but, unbeknowst to me, he was buried in a Maine storm of snow and slush with no power and no heat. And, no phone. I asked friends and I knew I would kick myself if I missed this thing.
So, I did what I had to do and I booked a seven hundred dollar flight and hotel room package, ready for a wacky adventure out west. I shot an email back Kristen's way to see if there was anywhere I needed to be other than at the Isotope's Comics Shop for the party and award ceremony Saturday night. I just wanted to make sure I was everywhere I needed to be while still getting a chance to see a bit of San Francisco.
I got this email in return from her that night:
You have excellent timing as I was just about to write to you. The Isotope judges have just made their final decision. Even though you were near the top of every judge's list, the competition was fierce indeed and unfortunately, the judges decided on a different book.
If you do decide to come to APE, I think it's a excellent convention, you'll have a great time and make some good contacts. In fact, the judges were so impressed with your work, that we are sure to be putting it in the hands of all the important people we know. This has meant professional publication deals for some of our previous year finalists. And, of course, if you do come to town, be sure to come to APE Aftermath on Saturday and James and I would love to take you out for cocktails on Sunday as well!
Hopefully, even with this news, we will get to the chance to meet you in real life this weekend. If not, we hope to see your work as an Isotope submission in the future.
Ack! I sat down for a second and weighed my options. I could go out to San Francisco, meet a few people, and probably have a good time. But, it was still seven hundred bucks and it wasn't like I had a table or even books to give people at this convention (I only have two left of the original 22 printed run). I decided to bag the trip and got on the phone to see what my options were for canceling my flight and hotels. After a lengthy conversation with some nice woman I got my cancellation price down to twenty five bucks. Thank God I booked and canceled in the same day or I'd be out six hundred. For that, I would have gone to San Fran just to hang out and see the city.
So, I didn't end up going and went back to the drawing table to work on the second book of Oilcan Drive.
The winner if the 2007 Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini Comics is Max Riffner and you can see his winning work HERE.
Ah well, back to the drawing board for me.