Monday, October 11, 2010


I think it's safe to say I won't be making the RWA Golden Heart deadline this year. I've got 36k words of a 65k word manuscript, and while I'd love to hurry up and register my place in the contest, there's this itty-bitty section that makes you promise the manuscript is complete. I. JUST. CAN'T. DO IT.

So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna say that I have faith in my current WIP. That after it's spanked by my critique partners, after it's trimmed by the shaking scissors of self-editing, after it's shining so brightly I can use it to find my way to the bathroom at night: I have faith it will earn me an agent. Who will then win over a publishing editor. Who will offer me enough money that I can buy myself a flashlight instead of re-breaking the same toe on the corner of the door while I shuffle my way to the 2 am meeting.

So my question to you is: Have you or anyone you know ever landed an agent/publishing contract from entering a contest? And how often do you participate in writing contests, and what are your likes and dislikes about them? (No need to name specific ones, generalizing will do).


  1. I know a few people (including the lovely Judi Fennell over at Sourcebooks) who have landed their agents/contracts based on contests. I, to date, have not.

    I think my biggest gripe is the sheer subjectivity of them. Most contests I split the opinion of my judges. Two will give me really high marks, the third will give me really low marks.

    The one exception to that is a contest which I have serious doubts more than one judge ever looked at it because I swear some of the comments on the score sheets were word for word, cut&pasted identical. I mean, I can see saying the same thing...but 3 different people saying it exactly the same way? That's also the same contest where I got mediocre scores across the board instead of a split (mid 80's).

    I won't be doing the GH this year either. I just can't justify the cost, though Blood Dreams is ready to go (including my pretty lil' synopsis that I finally put together last week).

  2. Tory, I'm sorry you won't be entering Blood Dreams. I know you pushed yourself to get it done, and even re-wrote a few chapters too. Huge bummer. And I hear ya. It's a pretty steep entry fee. But you know what? You'll find a home for Blood Dreams with or without that contest. You're a writer who takes her work seriously. It will happen for you.

  3. I'm a new follower!!! Hi *waves*!!!

    I'm sorry you won't be making the deadline this year. The good news is that you're still pushing forward with the word count and moving strong, at least you can admit when you know you won't make it! I still wish you the best of luck on finishing!!!

    As far as entering contests I just started writing/blogging this January so I haven't entered any but I bet there are several people who have won them and their pieces were published because of it! I know several people every year do the NaNoWriMo and they've published their novels after the 50K in 30 day challenge!

  4. Welcome, Jen! Yeah, I've heard of those do-gooders who write 50k in a month (makes hand gesture). Meh! :) But probably they don't bathe regularly or do laundry, which means that their butt sticks to that chair for reasons other than their self-driving spirit.

    I'm not bitter....:)