On Saturday eventing, August 6, 2016 during the 2016 FAPA President’s Book Awards ceremony in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Mark Wayne Adams received the 2016 Florida Authors & Publishers Association Founders Award. This achievement award recognizes a longstanding FAPA member for contributions to FAPA, the publishing community, the reading community, and professionally published books.
Mark’s FAPA Founders Award Message:
Thank you Terri Gerrell for allowing me enough time to prepare an acceptance speech. I actually prepared two—a short and long version. Unfortunately, I lost the short version.
Receiving the 2016 FAPA Founders Award is a tremendous honor. When Terri told me I had been selected, I asked myself, why me? I know many deserving individuals, most of which are here tonight.
I began publishing in 2004—33 years old. Craig Winstead, employer and friend, inspired me with these words: “I’ll print your book for free, if you learn to publish it.” Within a month I had purchased a block of ISBNs; registered an LCCN; bought a barcode; and printed 5,000 copies of my first book, Miss Mary’s Missing Book Bag.
Printing books isn’t publishing. Selling books is publishing. The first publishing lesson I learned was, if you don’t sell books they get heavier. My family, those books, and I moved four times between 2004 and 2006. I became a stronger and wiser publisher in no time.
In 2009, Nicholas, That’s Ridiculous! A Story About Being a Boy released. It was not only Christa Carpenter’s first book, but also the first book I published for anyone besides myself. Nicholas won an IPPY, an Eric Hoffer, a Moonbeam, and a FPA President’s Book Award! Elated by my four-medal publishing success, I joined not only FPA, but also the board. I learned book awards lead to unexpected opportunities and a surge of confidence.
From 2009 to 2016, I served in various FPA and FAPA leadership roles—president being one. I thought, what can I do differently from my predecessors? I proposed ridiculous ideas, that if they failed, would make me famous: Mark Wayne Adams leader of FAPA’s demise!
With many of the current FAPA board members’ support, we doubled the book awards submissions; added national librarian judges; attended Book Expo America; and hosted the largest conference and book awards since FPA’s inception. This was a great honor for our board’s commitment. During this time we learned the real definitions of: donating time, working board members, and delegation.
In mid June 2016, I was invited to speak at my first American Library Association Conference. Dr. Anna Faktorovich, a Ph.D in English Literature and Criticism, email queried ALA speakers for blog interviews. When she discovered I wasn’t her traditional academic guest, my interview was declined.
One week later I tossed drawings on the ALA convention floor. A young woman, carrying an armload of books, marched down the drawing path. She quickly apologized for stepping on my art.
“No worries, it’s only paper!” I said.
She glanced up at the booth banner; down at the drawings; then shouted, “You’re Mark Wayne Adams!”
After visiting over a million elementary school students, hearing my name shouted isn’t strange. The six degrees of Mark Wayne Adams story that follows is strange.
“I’m Anna!” she shouted. “I rejected your interview last week, remember!”
Anna shouting my rejection publicly wouldn’t sell books. However, my ability to “draw her into my world” filled Anna with a barrage of publishing questions.
I finally said “Anna, I’m working. Send me your interview questions, if you want answers.” She agreed and asked for a review copy of my latest book. I handed her my first novel. Countless hours went into researching and revising the manuscript for this moment—a review by a Ph.D. in English Literature and Criticism.
In my twelve-year publishing career I’ve learned that rejection, criticism, and affirmation are all the same—feedback. How I choose to use feedback defines my professional success. Feedback from my publishing peers, beta readers, editor, and a group of national librarians, made today a founding moment. I can now say OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters is my first award-winning novel.
At last year’s awards I shared: we all have one person responsible for inspiring our publishing career. As Diane Harper accepted her first of several book awards, she whispered, “Mark, you’re my one!” She was the first of many that night to repeat those words.
I met Fast Freddy long before I met his creator at the FAPA and Readers’ Favorite book awards. One year ago, author Lee Ann Mancini reluctantly confessed she hadn’t sold any of her award-winning books. She recently posted on Twitter, “450 off to LifeWay book stores!” What a Bragger! Lee Ann Mancini.
Having your first stalker sound likes Misery, but Patti Brassard-Jefferson went from stalking me for StuPendous publishing tips to being featured in Publishers Weekly for her indie bookstore, PBJ Boox. Indie authors and publishers are now her stalkers—I’m her biggest fan!
Like I said there are many people more deserving of this award. Before I close, I’d like to thank my family: my beautiful wife, Angela; my overly talented daughter, Isabella; and my handsome giant son, Carter; you all keep my ego in check. Thank you to my author family: Christa Carpenter Blaney, Linda Smigaj, Eddie Price, Irina Dolinskiy, John Hope, Kay Whitehouse, and many other talented authors who ignite my imagination. Thank you also to my FAPA family, who work equally as hard to support others as they do me. You’ve shown me the Founders Award is not about being first but placing others first and contributing to their success.