As you read this entry and look at the titles of my previous posts (please do!), you may ask, Where is Contests I?
Contests I is cleverly disguised as And How Did You Become an Author?, the story of how my losing contest entry, Lady of the Stars, got e-published.
I’ve entered other contests, and I haven't won. Close sometimes, but close is like the Olympic athlete who comes in fourth—not good enough, even if the spread is only a few points. I’ve received some very high scores, but not high enough.
Sure, I'd like to win a contest. Winning would feel very good. Having an agent or publisher read my partial would be even better.
What’s going on? Is my stuff junk, or does it not fit the scoring?
I've heard various comments about contests. Here’s author Elizabeth Boyle’s take on contests on Romantic Inks. Hint: She isn’t too crazy about them.
Some say winning means you can write what a contest wants. A contest looks at the story elements. You may have a great story, but it may not be saleable, or saleable to
Others swear by contests, and yes, some contest winners do get published. Most of the Golden Heart winners do. But then, the Golden Heart is a well-known and respected contest. There are tons of other contests out there, and how do you tell?
Try seeing who the final judges will be. If there's one who you want to see your work, try.
Contests are also good for getting a critique. Again, you have to be careful. I've received some great critiques. And I've received at least one terrible one that was essentially fill-in-the-numbers on the score sheet. A waste of money, that contest was.
But I wouldn't go overboard. I know one writer who boasted she'd just finaled on a particular manuscript for the eighth time. Eighth time? At about $25 a pop, contests aren't cheap. If I had finaled even once, I would have sent the manuscript out to an agent or editor.
Because, after all, writing is not about winning contests, it's about getting published. Winning a contest can feel very good, but it's not a book contract.
Thank you all,