by Belle Sloane, guest blogger
Looking back over all the years I’ve been writing I can’t actually account for the number of contests I’ve entered. It’s a good thing too, because I’d probably have a heart attack if I actually knew how much money I’ve spent on entry fees, not to mention postage and printing, before contests became primarily electronic.
I was driven to participate in contests from the very beginning of my writing adventure. I’ll admit I’m a pretty competitive person. But it wasn’t just that. I needed to hear what others thought of my work. People who didn’t already know and love me.
In the beginning all I received were mostly kindly, encouraging remarks which I realized over time, were the judges way of telling me I had a long way to go, as nicely as they could. I appreciate all you judges out there who took the time out to read my work and give me feedback over the years. And I mean I thank all the judges. There were of course the judges who were not so kindly in their comments. Those harsh comments didn’t feel at all helpful at the time. In fact sometimes I had to put those particular entries away for a week or two and go back and look at them later to be able to read them. Then again over time those tough comments did end up helping me as well. They got me ready for the rejections I received when I finally started submitting.
The whole routine one goes through entering a contest mirrors the submission process. So, I believe it’s a really good way to get yourself prepared for when you’re ready to get your work out there. There are guidelines to follow, timelines to heed, and the waiting. Boy does that waiting seem endless sometimes. Yet, it’s a very real part of the publishing world. Entering contests also engenders a decent amount of confidence—a much needed commodity in this business.
Entering a contest, The Rebecca, of the Land of Enchantment Romance Authors (New Mexico RWA chapter) is what led to the sale of my first book, Sweet Charity, an erotic western historical, to Red Sage Publishing, Inc. < www.eRedSage.com > I’m living proof that one can sell through contesting. I have to admit I’d been a bit of a skeptic about that possibility before my experience.
If you’ve never entered a contest, look around, try one—there are many, many out there waiting for you. If you enter them regularly, keep on. You never know what might come out of taking that chance.
Author Bio: Belle Sloane grew up in one of the great European cities of romance, Heidelberg, Germany. Growing up in Europe gave her an opportunity to travel extensively, which she feels colors and textures her writing in a big way. She lives in New Mexico’s beautiful Rio Grande Valley, with her dream man, and their wonderful kids. Belle would love to hear from you, so drop her a line at Belles@bigstring.com, or visit her blog at www.bellesbuzz.blogspot.com.