I've always been a big advocate of query contests. Its a great way to stand out from the slushpile and find agents that you may not have queried on your own. It also provides a lot of opportunities to get feedback for fellow writers and form a community online with those who are on the same path as you. There's really nothing bad about contests.
I entered in my share of contests while still in the trenches and, let me tell you, most of my partial and full requests came from said contests. In fact, my now agent, the wonderful Laura Zats, found me through #pitmad.
But now I've seen contests from the other side of the show, whether it be judging, or, in the case of this past month, organizing. And let me tell you, I was unprepared for the amount of work it can take to put together a contest. This was my first time putting together the Mystery Agent contest and it was stressful. I don't know how some people run much bigger contests on a regular basis!
So today, let's give a collective shout out to all those writers who host and help out behind the scenes with contests to give other writers a chance at landing their agent. I wouldn't be where I am today if not for those lovely people and they deserve all of the gratitude.
We are always told to give back to our community. And for many writers, this online collection of people at various stages of the writing and publishing process, is their community. So thanks to the writers who give back! We appreciate all of your hard work.