The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Contest Entry

Entering writing contests is a scary thing. First of all, you never know for sure who your judges are going to be in these things. Most of the time, for me, it's an RWA chapter holding a fund raiser contest where you pay $30 or so for some of their PRO and PAN members to read and rate your manuscript. I know there are tons of other writing contests out there, but for where I am in my writing and my writing communities right now, the RWA contests are the most beneficial and the most accessible.

So, like I said, it's usually just members of their chapter judging the first few pages or whatever, but when you enter, you never really know who will end up getting your pages. What it basically comes down to is luck of the draw. Some judges probably love almost everything, scoring high to almost every entry. Other judges are harsh and mark off for each little thing that they think could have been improved. If you're the only one in the contest who lucked out with two of the high rating judges, guess what? You win! Not necessarily on merit, but possibly on luck of the draw.

I entered one contest last year and got medium scores back. I didn't final and the comments were helpful. I look back now and realize just how weak the entry was, so I learned a lot from the contest. Towards the end of last year, I entered the mother of all unpubbed RWA contests, the Golden Heart. Also judged by random PRO and PAN RWA members, it's a crap shoot based on who you get as a judge. I like to think, however, that it is also based on skill and the quality of the manuscript to some degree. I entered for short contemporary series, and I feel that my entry is solid. We find out March 25th who the finalists are, and my fingers are crossed.

I am also going to enter a contest today. This time, for the first time, I am entering the young adult category. Why enter at all when it can be so subjective? Well, because the prizes are so totally worth it. In this particular contest, the top three young adult manuscripts get read by an editor at Berkley. For the most part, editors at Berkley don't read unagented manuscripts, so this is a rare shot at getting in front of them without an agent. With a huge publisher like that on the line, it's worth the $25 entry fee to me. There's no guarantee she'll like it or want to see more of it, but there's a chance, and that's all I'm asking for. The 25 page entry is due by midnight tonight, so I'd better get to work polishing it up and getting it ready to send in. Wish me luck!

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Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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