A few years ago, I was on this writing contest kick. I think I've told you this before. Besides looking for some validation that my writing didn't suck, I needed some writing credits I could include in my query letters to agents. Trying to get an agent is like trying to get a credit card. You can't get credit without an established credit history. You can't get an agent if you don't have some writing credits to your name. How's an aspiring author supposed to get a writing credit? Well, a writing contest seemed like a good place to start.
One of the contests I entered was sponsored by publisher Hardie-Grant-Edgemont and it was called the Ampersand Young Adult Novel contest. It gave emerging authors the chance to have their young adult novel considered for publication. The thing I liked best about this contest, besides the lack of an entry fee, was the fact that it welcomed edgy novels.
I polished up my favorite unpublished YA novel entitled Totally Sick Freak. With the first line of the novel being 'I'm probably the most fucked up person I know', I figured that certainly qualified as edgy.
Obviously, I didn't win the contest. You've never heard of Totally Sick Freak. It's not published and you have no idea what it's about. I did get something I didn't expect though. As part of the judging process, all of the novels were critiqued and authors were sent those critiques. Even though it can be a little sad to see your beautiful creation ripped to shreds, it actually makes you a better writer once you get past the crushing realization that your writing isn't perfect.
A few days ago, I got an email that the contest is open for submissions in two weeks and I gave serious consideration to it. I do have a couple of YA novels that I'd really like to see the light of day. The problem is they're not ready. If I want to submit them, I not only need to clean them up, I need to format them to the contest standards. That's a pretty tall order for such a tight timeline. With enough effort, I'm sure it could be done, but I'm going to stand strong and stick my skipping contests plan I set this year.
I'm all for writing contests, but I made a writing plan this year and contests wasn't in that plan. That's not to say I'll never enter another one again, but I promised myself and my readers I'd try to publish more novels this year. I can't do that if I'm slaving away on prepping for a writing contest that I have slim odds of winning.
So, if you're entering, good luck. I'm pulling for you. As to me, I'm going to resist that temptation; for now!