Saturday, 3 March 2012

Competitive Streak

Apologies for the silence of late. The truth is, I've been busy - busy getting my write on for some amazing query contests!

As I've mentioned in other posts, I'm currently doing the query rounds with my novel, Hellfire. (By the by, I've made some progress on that front - another few partial requests and 2 full requests since I last updated. Even the rejections I'm getting are becoming more personalised and detailed, which I'm taking as a positive and using as an opportunity to ease the way for future queries with those agents. Yes - bwahaha. ) What I've also been doing - and this is what has been keeping me so busy - is entering online query competitions.

So far I have found a few sites that run these contests - usually where a pitch and first 250 words or so of your completed manuscript are entered into a judging round before being posted for agents to bid on. It's very much a machine-gun approach to querying as there can be quite a few agents involved - which has its pros and cons...

  • If your pitch and first part of your MS are as attention-grabbing and polished as they can be, this is a great time-saving way to query a number of agents who are looking for books in your genre (most contests I've found have been genre-limited to some extent).
  • It can be a really good way to get feedback on your pitch and first however-many words, whether from the judging panel or comments from the public (if these are allowed).
  • It can be a good way to query an agent who you may not otherwise get a chance to.  Some agents take part in these competitions who are otherwise closed to unsolicited queries, or whose submission guidelines might be a little off-putting (my own experience of this was where an agent asked for a list of any agents I had previously queried... I mean, how is that ever going to do me any favours?)
  • If your pitch/first bit aren't quite up to scratch, then you're eliminating a lot of agents you could potentially query once you have polished them to a high gleam. No, this may not be set-in-stone, as you could still query the agents from the contest again after revising your work... but don't you want to win them over the first time they read it?
  • It's can feel very much like a public flogging if you get critical or negative comments, and it's unlikely that you will be allowed to make changes to your submission before the end of the contest - so it's up there for all to see for however long the contest runs.
  • If you're as enthusiastic (read: obsessive) about these things as I am, then you'll be spending a lot of time stalking the site where your submission is posted, anxiously hitting 'refresh' to check for new comments. If, like me, you're not in a US time zone, this can lead to a few late nights!
  • Entering these contests can be really nerve-wracking. Maybe this should also be a pro, though, because they are very exciting both to watch and take part in... hmm. I'll let you decide.
I've only stumbled across a few of these contests so far, but if you follow writerly types on twitter (ahem, including me), you'll be sure to hear about them if you'd like your chance to enter.

I'm currently taking part in Pitch Madness (check out #pitchmadness on twitter for more info), so am waiting to hear if my submission has made it past the 4 judges into the agent bidding round. Any and all crossed fingers are appreciated! I'll let you know how it goes.

1 comment:

  1. As promised, here's an update on what happened in the Pitch Madness contest - I got partial requests from 2 FANTASTIC agents! It was absolutely jawbreakingly tense (as my poor ground-down teeth will attest), but well worth it! I hope the agents like what they read.


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