One of the very first things that happens when you get a book published is people emailing, Facebook messaging and asking, “How did you do it?” If you’re a writer, you understand why this is. Finally getting that “yes!” from your dream publisher can be pretty tricky!
Now, I’ll preface this by saying that my agent was instrumental in making this deal happen. But I actually connected with my editor through a writing contest. I have entered a handful of writing contests, as you can see on my “News” page, and, even if they hadn’t hooked me up with my amazing editor, they made me realize that I was on the right track and allowed me to get great feedback from professionals in the industry. Of course, people’s opinions are just that, but a few finals and a win here and there are great for building self confidence.
Stephie Smith has this incredible writing contest chart where I have found the contests that I have entered. If you write fiction or romance in particular this chart is an invaluable resource. I’m not a romance writer, but many romance contests have mainstream fiction or fiction with strong romantic element categories. Poets and Writers and Writer’s Digest also have great listings of writing contests in the back each month for both published and unpublished writers. They are two magazines that are totally worth the subscription price!
I always look for contests that have the potential to put my work in front of someone that wouldn’t see it otherwise. A good many contests’ final judges are either agents or editors. It gives those people a chance to look at your work in a different light, outside of their slush pile. I will always have a special place in my heart for the Tampa Area Romance Authors for making my publishing dreams come true!
And I’m pretty excited because I just found out that my novel won First Place in The Sandy, hosted by the fantastic Crested Butte Writers. And all three of my manuscripts placed in the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch contest. Those contests are good resume builders and, on those days that are full of rejection, can be a little bright light!
Have you ever entered a writing contest?
P.S. I’m announcing the title of my novel right here next Wednesday! I’m so excited!