If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in...come in...
~Shel Silverstein

Thursday, October 11, 2012

To Enter or Not to Enter

First of all, this picture has nothing to do with anything--I'm just excited for Halloween and I thought it was adorable.

haha. So, in other news, I'm noticing a ton more agent pitch contests coming up--all over the blogsphere. I'm wondering what you guys think of them? I mean...I was in the agent pitch contests. And I didn't get any requests, even though I made it to the finals. And then I was in the small press pitch--where I did get one requests, which I'm quite happy about. But would I have gotten that request anyway if I'd queried that press? Or are agents more likely to read the pitch with a positive attitude if they know it's been through a contest and they are looking at one of the finalists?

I'm just really wondering if I'm better off shooting for more contests or just querying. Or does it even make a difference? Opinions?

Also, if you haven't voted, could you pretty please vote for Cacee by Tamara HERE. We are holding onto the lead, but only by a thread. My daughter is going to be totally bummed if we lose. Okay. Okay. I'll admit it...so will I. We really want that pony. haha. Thanks guys!!

24 comments:

  1. No idea! I never entered any contests or pitched to agents. I just queried small presses.

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    1. Did that work out well for you? that's who I have my one request out with--a small press.

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  2. I'm entering a lot of the upcoming contests, too. After this round, though, I think I'm going back to regular querying (unless this really pays off! Fingers crossed!). The best thing about the upcoming few contests I'm entering is that they don't involve a traditional query. If my query isn't getting attention, maybe a three sentence pitch will, or even a video pitch. It can't hurt to try. Even an agent who has rejected my pitch before might see it in a new light if it's presented differently. You never know what will catch their eye. :D

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    1. I think I'm going to do the video pitch thing too. Nothing like waiting till the last minute to decide, right? haha. And the Hook, Line and Sinker contest. It's like...on one hand, it makes me feel kind of bad because if I don't get any requests it's like knocking seven to ten agents off my list all at once, cause they've seen my query so now I can't approach them. Or actually, I could, but it would be pointless. On the other hand, one has to assume that they wouldn't have liked the query if it had been in there slushpile either. So....

      Contests have helped me out too. I mean, that kiss/kiss off contest got me a twenty page agent critique, which could prove to be highly beneficial. And yeah, you make an excellent point about presenting things in a different light. :)

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  3. For me, I'm always on the edge about entering. I sign up with super excitement, chicken out during the final days before, then at the last minute, I can't resist. I go ahead and hope for the best. After brutal beatings, nail biting, and and paying the loan for my TUMS over dose, I say I'll never enter another contest again. Until the next one rolls around and it start all over again...

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    1. haha...I hear ya. My stomach has been tied in knots during every contest. Very nerve-wracking, although not quite as bad as querying. Honestly, (this isn't a joke) the last time I queried, I had a stomach ache for three months straight almost non-stop. I'd go to sleep with it and wake up with it. I was that bad. So, I can roll with the contests a little better. (But not much)

      It's like...I was watching X-Factor the other night. And you have all these people talking about how badly they want this, how they'd do anything to be able to sing for a living. And that's how I feel about writing. Like, I'd do anything to get an agent, get published...Even keep entering nerve-wracking contests. haha

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  4. Hey Tamara! I'm picking you for the Liebster Award off my blog! Check it out tomorrow!! Congrats!

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    1. Thanks so much, Tammy!! I'll definitely check it out!:)

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  5. I've had more luck from contests then the slush pile, to be quite honest. If you think about it from a numbers standpoint, the odds with slush are harder than with a contest, because agents are wading through more "entries". But every contest is different - I've had some where I've gotten requests, and some where my entry never makes it past the first round - it really just depends on what people are looking for and what they like. You never know until you try - I think you should go for it!

    And congrats on your request! Well deserved.

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    1. You make a valid point. How's it going for you anyway? Have you heard back from anyone yet? Keep me posted!!

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    2. It's going...ish. I had one agent request a full after reading my partial, which is exciting, but sadly I heard back from one of the publishing houses that they are passing on my MS. The kicker is that they actually loved my writing and the story, they just have too many within the same genre coming out in 2014, which is when I would have been slotted. I almost wish it was a solid no versus being SO close, you know? But onward and upward I suppose. I was bummed for the last few days but I'm trying to stay positive. How are things going for you? Hope to see you on some of the contest sites! If you need someone to vet your pitch through I'm happy to help. :)

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  6. I agree with you, that it can sometimes feel like too much. It's easier to stay safe and write stuff on your own than take the time and preparation required for these contests. That said I think the contests help in a few ways:

    (1) They help you get to a better query/first 150. Even though it may seem like you get conflicting opinions from just about everybody, at least you're getting feedback and that's better than being in your own world. Whatever kind of comments you get, they're sure to help you position your work.

    (2) They get you and your work some exposure in the blogging world, and even the writing and publishing world. People begin to recognize you and your work (especially if they begin to recognize the title) and that can only be a good thing! I disagree with the idea that entering too many contests makes your manuscript seem "old". Any exposure is good exposure in this day and age.

    (3) It may just get you an agent (or publisher). You may be noticed by an agent whom you we're going to query, and it gives your manuscript to end up somewhere... unexpected.

    So...... Pitch Live — do it! However it turns out, it will be a chance to showcase your personality and get your novel some attention! C'mon Tamara!!

    John

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    1. Point 3: It may just get you an agent (or publisher). You may be noticed by an agent whom you weren't going to query, and it gives your manuscript a chance to end up somewhere... unexpected.

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  7. Thanks, John. You make some really good points. I'm going right now to check out exactly what I need to do. :)

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    1. Glad that you decided to sign up, and I can't wait to check it out. Remember just to be creative, and let your passion for your novel shine through—that's the most important part. Doesn't need to be zany (although it could definitely be if that's your schtick!) but just make people hear the enthusiasm for your work and for being a writer.

      And don't worry too much about it—posting anything is better than not posting at all....

      Check out my video for some inspiration.

      Cheers,

      John

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    2. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I tried to check out your video but, when I went to your site, I didn't see it. Could you send me the link?

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  8. Check out this blog post about Query Contests — very eye-opening!
    http://mesummer.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/query-contests-the-new-fangled-way-to-land-a-literary-agent/

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    1. That was very eye opening. Thanks!!

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  9. I think it depends on what the prizes are for the contests. Personally, of the few contests that I entered, I never entered until I was completely finished with the ms--or as finished with it as I could get it. If you are not done, and that means revising too, I wouldn't enter any contests. Only you know if you are ready to have an agent/editor look at your ms as it is right this minute. If an agent liked your pitch, whether the prize was a critique of the first 50 pages or something else, they may say, send me the entire thing. If you can't or wouldn't feel comfortable, then I'd say let the contests wait. You only get that one chance to make a first impression. Don't mean to be a Debbie-Downer, but I just want you to be ready. There is no rush! :-)

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    1. I'm SO close to being done revisions. I mean, within a day or two. I'm not trying to jump the gun on the contest thing. I'm not actively querying. I'm just entering a few contests, because I know if they request anything I can have it ready to go in no more than a day. The revisions i have left are minimal. AND the book is better. Luc has more depth, since he has more guilt over his dad. That was a really great idea. He's so wrapped up in Auri all the time, that he needed another angle to him. Anyway, you are never a Debbie-Downer. You're definitely the voice of reason. I'm more excited than impatient, but i'll try to rein it in. :)

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  10. People acquire agents in myriad ways: cold query, online pitch contests, authorsalon.com-type communities, referrals . . . personally, I think the most effective way to meet an agent is to attend writing conferences where agents hang out. If you meet them in person you can find out if the agent you thought was your "top choice" is the kind of person you can have a long-term relationship with. Some conferences have pitch sessions with these agents.

    Danika

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    1. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go to conferences. Unfortunately, except for Write On, I have yet to see a free one. Since free is about all I can afford, I have to stick to the traditional methods for now. sigh. :)

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I love to hear from everyone! Thanks for the comment. :)