Thursday, September 12, 2019

Dear O'Abby: Are Contests Worth My Time?

Dear O'Abby,

There seem to be so many writing contests out there and I was wondering if it's actually worth entering any of them.  No offense meant.  I know Operation Awesome runs its own contest, but that's kind of what made me ask the question.  Does anyone ever actually get an agent or a publishing contract out of these contests?  



Dear Contestable,

It's really up to you whether you want to enter contests.  They're not compulsory for any writer, but they are a lot of fun, and a really good way to meet other writers who might end up becoming beta readers or critique partners.

And yes, people do sometimes get agents or publishing contracts through these contests.  I actually got both.  In the same week.  But I ended up passing on the publishing contract in favor of working with the agent in the end.  That was one crazy week, I'm telling you!

But even if you don't get picked by the agent or editor judge, entering contests is a good way to see how your work stacks up against other peoples'.  Most contests ask the judges to leave feedback, so even if you don't win, you have notes from a professional on your query and/or first page.  And you can use those notes to help polish both up, and often the rest of your MS too.

Sometimes readers of the blog are also asked to leave feedback which means you don't just get one opinion, but many.  If something about one particular piece of feedback resonates strongly, you can reach out to that person and thank them.  You may even become friends with that person or decide to work together as critique partners or beta readers.  I met several of my very favorite writing buddies this way and we are still critiquing each other more than 10 years on.

But if you're not interested in entering contests, it's not going to be the end of your writing career.  You can still query traditionally, and your chances are probably no better or worse than if you'd entered the contest.

Good luck, which ever way you decide to go!  And if you're thinking of entering our Pass or Pages, you have about a day left to do it.

X O'Abby

1 comment:

  1. I think contests are worth entering just for the chance of feedback alone. Feedback is invaluable and I agree, its also a great way to meet writing buddies.


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