Monday, May 3, 2010

Writing Contests

I've judged book contests before, but never entered a writing contest until just recently. The judges are editors from various publishing houses and one was one of my target houses in the inspirational category.  I cannot be specific as the entries are anonymous. I submitted a first chapter and a synopsis will be requested from the finalists.  This one seemed like an excellent fit, and better than that the timing was perfect.  But it came about so quickly I didn't even have time to be nervous because I didn't have a chance to think about it. Once I let the fear get in I'm done. Can anyone say panic attack?

I know that many writers and published authors have great things to say about the value of writing contests. 
  • Constructive feedback from the judges.
  • Submission experience.
  • Confidence builder.
  • Name recognition.
  • Reward for finalists and winner.
  • Accolades for finalists and winner.
  • Resume builder for finalists and winner.
  • Sometimes a request for a full manuscript!
Here are a few links:
Stephanie Smith's contest chart for writers
Charlotte Dillon contest links

Do you have any experiences positive and/or negative from entering writing contests?


    1. Very positive. I've done Miss Snark's and Miss Snark's First victim many times and my only problem with it was, they were usually too short. They were trying to tell me what was wrong, but I wasn't able to really see it until last year's Amazon Breakthrough Contest. I got on the critique part of the contest community and they helped me create my novel's beginning which just landed me in a tie for first place in this year's Sandy. An agent is reading and commenting on my ms and I'll (hopefully) get to talk with her and get suggestions (maybe a request for more) while at the conference. And of course, there's the wonderful bit about being able to include my status in my signature line. ;D Contests are great things if you receive feedback and if they're relatively inexpensive or free. I've learned so much from them and am forever grateful for the opportunities.

      I'll be sure to check your links. :) Have you entered any others? Good luck!

    2. Good luck!

      Just remember it is very subjective. I've had judges be on complete opposite ends of the spectrum with the same manuscript. LOL

    3. I hope you do well:) I am excited for you!

    4. I must be wordy tonight. Jennifer, thanks for adding that. My last contest I had one judge give me one point shy of a perfect score and another judge tell me "don't be discouraged." Take a step back when reviewing comments.

    5. Sounds very helpful! Thanks, Carla!
      Faith's Firm Foundation

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    7. I've had both kind of experiences - from the same contest. One judge all but told me that my MS stunk and I should dump it all and start over. Then another judge in the same contest said it was wonderful. The third was in the middle. But I did take most of their advise and learned a lot. I do like contests and have made finals in several. I am currently waiting announcements on a couple more. I can be fun or discouraging - you have to stay positive.

    8. Having read your entry, I believe it will do well!

      As a sometime contest judge, yes, they are subjective to a certain extent--but the top entries stood out head and shoulders over the rest. The subjectivity comes in the rating (IMO). I almost never give something 5 (or 1) out of 5. Even when rating myself on an employee evaluation. So I might give manuscripts a 4 where someone else would say "5" but we both like it just as well. (I reserves my 5s for the William Shakespeares of this world, lol)

      I can feel the rotten tomatoes coming. Splat.

    9. I appreciate all the input here ~ looks like you've had quite a variety of experiences.

      Thanks for all the good wishes. And Darlene - splat!

    10. I'm sure you will do great and I can't wait to hear about your experience with it.

      I entered 2 contests this year, but did it for the feedback. It's my first ain't gonna be pretty...well, maybe all that red will make it colorful! lol


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