By Laura Drake
Whenever the subject of contests comes up on writer’s loops, it’s guaranteed to be a very lively discussion. People feel very passionately about them -- either pro OR con. And why not? I’ve experienced both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat at the hands of judges.
Up to now, it's just been a challenge to me to final in a contest (hey, I'm a writer - I like pounding my head against a wall!) Now that I've finally won one (and finaled in three-results yet to be announced), here's what I found...
The judging is so completely subjective that not placing does not mean you don't have a good book. Unfortunately, winning doesn't ensure you have a saleable one either.
Not all contests are created equal - chose a contest based on its reputation, or, better yet, if they give feedback - that's what you get to keep at the end of the day.
Unless an agent judges your entry, a win really doesn't gain you much traction in a query letter. The one exception to this is the Golden Heart Contest.
Please don't assume from the above that I don't think contests are worthwhile - I do. But to keep your heart intact, you must go in with your eyes open, and without overblown expectations.
What I like best:
Love them or hate them – as long as you go into the competition wearing your titanium panties and with your eyes open, contests can be a great experience!
How do you feel about contests?
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