Introducing Melanie Hooyenga, Award-Winning Author

Are you sitting down?

At the end of last summer I decided to enter a writing contest for ebooks that had been self-published within the past five years. This was important for several reasons:

  • My novels are self-published
  • My novels are in both print and ebook form
  • Flicker, the first book in the trilogy, was published a little over three years ago.

Since I first started writing seriously in 2007, I’ve learned that everything in the publishing industry is excruciatingly slow, so once I submitted Flicker, I pushed it out of my mind. The contest details said winners would be informed before December 31, 2015, so about a week before that I started checking my email more obsessively. Then, on a magical Tuesday morning two days before the new year, I received this:winner winner chicken dinner

Once I picked my jaw up off my chest, I sprinted around work showing everyone who was in the office the week between Christmas and New Years. Then I sent the above screen shot to my closest friends and family and we had a semi-private squee-fest for at least an hour. It took several hours for the true meaning of this award to sink in:

Me, a self-published author (or indie author, if you so prefer), had just received validation from one of the most respected writing magazines in the country.

There goes my jaw again.

Once this truly began to sink in, I admit I was close to tears. Several times. This may not be the biggest or most prestigious writing award out there, but for me, this says all my hard work was not for nothing.

I haven’t received the editorial feedback yet, and I’m curious to see what it says. I wrote Flicker over five years ago and, as my husband pointed out, my writing has only improved since then. (So hey, if you haven’t read books two and three, what are you waiting for?) (Also, I’m super excited about the newest book I’m working on, but I’ll talk more about that later.)

I could blubber on for ten more pages, so I’ll sign off with a thank you to everyone who’s read, critiqued, cheered, consoled, advised, laughed, cried, and high-kicked alongside me. You mean the world to me.


(If you haven’t read Flicker, check out the first chapter here.)

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. This is beyond awesome and has to be a little bit of that WRITERS DREAM coming true. I am well aware of the significance of being awarded for your writing skills and creativity through WRITERS DIGEST. And you should see it as a huge notch in your creative belt. Rock on, Hoo! Write on, Hoo!

  2. Chris Bo

    Yay Mel! Congrats on getting picked as the big winner! If that doesn’t help put you on the publishers radar, nothing will….

  3. Congratulations on winning the Writer’s Digest contest! I’m very proud of my sister SCBWI-MI writer!

    Janet Ruth Heller
    Author of the award-winning book for children about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale, 2006), and the middle-grade book for kids The Passover Surprise (Fictive Press, 2015).
    My website is

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