We haven’t been posting lately because we’ve spent the past month taking part in a writing contest called Query Kombat, hosted by three wonderful bloggers/writers, Michelle Hauck, Mike Anthony, and SC, who acted as cheerleaders, mentors, and therapists for dozens of neurotic writers, no easy task.
We thought this would be a good time to talk about how much we love contests and why they are great for writers, above and beyond the chance to pitch your book to agents. Although, that part is pretty awesome, too.
So, here are our favorite things about writing contests, in case you are on the fence about entering one:
- It’s helpful to have writing goals, no matter where you are in your journey. Some people like to focus on word count, others on dates. Getting something ready for a contest can help you set your own deadlines. Even if you don’t get into a contest, the prep work is very worthwhile. You can always use the twitter pitch, log lines, and queries in the future.
- · It’s an important skill to get used to receiving criticism graciously and then putting it to good use. And to learn when to go with your gut and ignore something that doesn’t jive for you.
- · Contests help show just how subjective writing can be. There were entries I loved that didn’t make it past the first couple of rounds, and ones that were very well written, but I couldn’t see myself reading because they featured zombies, circuses, or giant snakes (not really, just protecting the innocent ). It’s just like going to a book store. You can’t take home every single book. Not that I haven’t tried.
- · Participating in an online writing community is a great way to feel like you’re not alone in the scary, sometimes lonely process of writing and querying. Query Kombat has been a fantastically supportive community. We’ve laughed, applauded, and stressed out with writers across the country and received excellent critiques from published authors and agented writers. It’s been an invaluable experience, winning aside.
Speaking of winning… a funny thing happened during the contest. We actually won. The Whole Thing. How did this happen? How did our strange little YA romance featuring a family of Jewish Bigfoot hunters end up winning?
While we know we’re supposed to avoid rhetorical questions, we can’t answer. There were a ton of talented authors and some fabulously creepy, quirky, and hilarious entries. The final four entries, in particular, were all amazing. We will be the first ones in line to buy them once they are published.
We’re just glad SHALOM SASQUATCH (also known as: SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS) made readers laugh and root for our rag-tag heroine and her Squatch loving family.
Mostly, we’re grateful to all the judges, agents, hosts, and other contestants for the encouragement, advice, and consideration.
Here are some helpful links for querying writers.
Blogs about querying that we really like:
Editors extraordinaire who’ve helped us at one point or another: