Tuesday, January 30, 2007

To Contest or Not to Contest?

IN THE NEWS: According to the Associated Press, McDonald's has finally selected a new trans fat-free oil for its famous fries. McDonald's said the new oil is a canola-based and includes a mix of corn and soy oils. It's already being used in 1,200 restaurants.
(Hey, maybe I'll end up taking my daughter there again, then.)

Well, I'm a happy pappy. My writing progress meter actually moved forward, for once instead of moving backwards!

There's something so rewarding in seeing that little blue lava on the meter stick grow like The Blob. But then again, I'm one of those women (when I'm dieting) to get on the scale everyday even though I'm told to do it once a week.

What can I say? I like to SEE results.

So speaking of "seeing" results, I'm thinking about entering another writing contest. (I hope my hubby's not reading this!) Once you do well in a contest, it's kind of addicting. You want to do better. You feel you're close. Close to what, I don't know. I'd still rather be published. But there you go. It gets in the blood. I can see where some could become "contest junkies".

By the way, if that happens to me, please do an intervention.

Anyway, as I was doing my daily blog skimming, I came across an interesting blog of a multi-finalist/winner of many RWA contests. She had requests from editors from these contests. She was even asked for revisions to these requests.

Only to be later rejected.

The same sequence of events were listed again and again. The more I read of her good news and bad news, the more I became disillusioned. It was a bit "sobering" to say the least.

So I started to think (yes, dangerous). Is there really a point to these contests beyond making myself feel good and to put in a query letter? It seems a lot of contests winners never get published, so are these contests truly worth it? What do they really mean?

As I continue to contemplate my decision, I'd like to hear your thoughts.


Elle Fredrix said...

I've read some great articles on contests. I'll see if I can find them. Some for, some against, all with some good points to think about.

Something to remember, some poeple DO sell as a direct result of a contest.

Chicki said...

I've won a few contests -- including one big one (Black Expressions Book Club) in 2004, but it didn't get me squat! I've come to realize that writers in the romance world put so much weight on RWA contests. I also found out that the majority of black female authors NEVER enter those contests because they've discovered it does nothing for sales in our community.

Contests are great for writing credits on your resume, but don't put too much stock in getting published because of them.

lainey bancroft said...

Trust Elle, she'll source out great articles for ya ;-)

I've won a few contests as well. Publisher websites where there is no entry fee. I've only entered one RWA chapter contest and found it to be a colossal waste of time. The scores were so diverse you'd have sworn 2 judges read one book, the other 2 another. FWIW, I've heard that quite often from other writers.

Contests are:
1 great for a Q-letter if you place
2 CAN lead to requests, but often don't
3 a way to get feedback in a designated time frame
4 a distraction when my wip is halted

If you're talking golden heart or Rita, it probably counts in the grand scheme, but IMO the others probably don't count for much. And lets face it, its cheaper to get a request from a solid query than dozens of contests at $25-50 a pop!

Chelle Sandell said...

Another opinion against is that sometimes the initial judges are members of the organization holding the contest, and they aren't always qualified or published themselves. I had always heard that a few benefits include using it as a reference in Q's as stated before and also the crits received by judges.