I'm excited to announce that Margaret Daley, Inspirational Romance Author for Steeple Hill will be with us today. Margaret will be sharing her thoughts and expertise on the subject of writing contests. Visit Margaret's website at www.margaretdaley.com or just click the link in the title of this blog. Writing for over twenty-five years now, Margaret is a prolific, multi-published author who also teaches children with special needs. Margaret spends a lot of time encouraging, teaching, and mentoring new authors and is a tremendous friend and asset to the writing community. She speaks at national writers conferences including Romance Writer's of America (RWA), and she is the former president of Faith, Hope, and Love (FHL)-the inspirational outreach chapter of RWA. Give a big welcome to Margaret and thanks for stopping by. I'll let Margaret have the floor now...right after I hug her for being here. GGG. Blessings! Squirrel
When I started writing, there were no contests for unpublished writers. I wish there had been. It can be a good way to get feedback, but choose the contests carefully. If you write inspirational romances, you probably should look at ones that are geared toward the inspirational market and an editor as the final judge who edits inspirational romances. The same goes for other genres.
There are some houses that don't accept unsolicited manuscripts. It can be difficult to get your manuscript read at one of those houses. You can go to a conference where an editor from the house you are targeting is taking appointments. Hopefully the editor will request you send your manuscript. Another way is to target a contest where that editor is the final round judge. Sometimes a manuscript that is a winner (and I've even seen a runner up) is requested.
Also there are contests for published writers. I have entered some, again choosing the contest carefully. I especially like the ones where the readers or booksellers are the judges. That is the audience I am targeting. It can be a way to get your name out there with people who may not have picked up your book.
I have judged many contests and have enjoyed reading the wonderful talent that is in our genre. Seeing it makes me appreciate the hard job an editor has. There are some great books to choose from. How in the world do they make their final decision? I'd want to buy too many books.
I won't tell you there aren't drawbacks to contests. There are so many now so it can be hard to decide which would be the best for you and your career. The entry fees can be expensive. And lastly, some of the feedback you get can be confusing and not always right on target. Let's face it. This business is subjective. Every reader and judge has her own preferences of what she likes and doesn't. That will affect the judging.
So when you are wading through the results, you ultimately have to decide to take the judge's advice or not. If more than one points something out, I would look at it. That still doesn't mean I would change it, but I definitely would consider the suggestion. But you know your story the best. Remember that.
So whether you enter a contest or judge one, it is an experience that can enrich your writing. And good luck with any contests you enter! ---------
Isn't Margaret fabulous?
Make sure you pop over to her website and blog and tell her so. She has a March book release too. More about that March 1, 2006. Or if you just can't wait for the info, visit her website for more information. It should be hitting shelves soon so be on the look out for her books whereever books are sold...including Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, and Sam's club, etc.
Great advice Margaret, thank you so much for doing this, it's been a joy and honor to have you on my blog.