Maybe I'm just adding to a mess, but I felt compelled to reply as well - to a couple of the subjects brought up here. Please forgive the length.1)
The FW Books
I'll admit, I've also been one that has experienced frustration. For a long time I kept careful track of my ECs, and sat in anticipation. My first EC win was in the "Hidden in the Hymns" book so I was thrilled when that one was published. I was motivated to continue with the Challenges and excited to see more of my ECs in future books. The longer it took though, the less excited I was. I told many people that I would be in more books and... it still hasn't happened, years later. I mentioned future books on my website as an accomplishment... I finally took that off since it had been so long and there was still nothing. I understand about the delays, about Deb starting her own business, and about how much work it takes - especially for one person! Wow! But I'm human too... and while I understand and acknowledge all of that without selfishness... there's still a part of me that is disappointed. It's been so long now that the thrill is gone. It wasn't an anticipated thrill I thought up on my own - upon entering the FW Challenges a few years ago, that was one key motivator that was advertised to gain more participation. Enter, win, be published!
I'm not upset. Just disappointed in what I consider a lack of communication to the FW Challenge participants - especially EC winners who have been waiting literally years to see their entries in print. It's not so much the time that has lapsed as the lack of updates (whether there's actually any news or not) that has become a frustration.
Now I also see that some books may only be in digital format? While I'm sure that thrills a lot of people... that's just another disappointment for me. I can't give my grandmother a digital book. No one in my family has an ebook reader. I can't set a digital book on my shelf. Do I understand? Yes, I do. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I hoping that my EC entries fall into books chosen to be printed? Yes. I wish I knew if they would be or not.
Am I going to quit supporting FW because of this? No. Am I angry? No. Am I going to go around blaming FW or Deb for delays? No, of course not. Life is a whole lot bigger than waiting on FW books. I've written a whole lot more than my EC winners. To me, the FW books have become far less important - unfortunately, enough time has passed that I've moved on. Will I still be excited to see the books in print? Kind of.
I'm honestly not trying to complain here at all - I hope no one thinks I am. I'm just taking the opportunity to share how I feel as well, and I do hope that's alright and that it isn't taken the wrong way. 2)
I'm hardly here anymore. There are many reasons for that, and I'm sorry that I'm one of the members missing from the boards lately, contributing to the sparseness. I saw someone else call their interaction a "season," and that's kind of how I feel. When I first found FW, it was exactly what I needed. I needed to interact with other writers and gain encouragement. Everyone here was great and I enjoyed joining all sorts of conversations. As time went on, I became busy with other things - not just Facebook. Yes, Facebook takes up some of my online time, but that's not a large contributor to my lack of involvement here.
Some of my involvement slacked off when I was entering the Challenges less. Being a part of the Challenges gave me something to talk about and helped keep me a "part of the gang." When that lessened, so did my reason to interact. My involvement in Challenges lacked because of other writing, lack of free time, lack of inspiration etc.
As the boards changed a little bit with different people and topics, I had a harder time finding my niche. Being gone for a while then coming back, the boards held a different feel. I find it hard to describe - it wasn't bad or wrong, just different and not something to which I could as easily relate. So I backed off again. Returning once more, the place is all but empty. I tried getting back into the groove and threw myself into several topics, but when replies took several days at least (if at all), it defeated my purpose of interacting. So I quit again. Now every once in a while I come snoop, but I find little I can relate to or join. Not complaining - just a fact.
Lots of things have changed around FW. Things feel much differently than they did when I first discovered the site. This has changed how I feel about FW as a whole. Am I still supporting FW? Yes, as long as I can still afford it. I still feel the site has much to offer and I often tell people about it. But for me... I guess lately I have felt other things have been more worth my time.
Love y'all and I do still plan on lurking.
One of these days I might even be able to make it to a conference - something I've always wanted to do.