Tuesday, October 9, 2007
The Contest Road ~ Part #1
I started entering contests almost as soon as I got my first book finished and I credit contests with leading me to publication.
There are a countless number of writer’s contests, did you know that? I did well, placed third in the first contest I entered. I was encouraged and I kept doing better as the years went by. The contests are critiqued by the judges and I learned a lot from those critiques. Also if you are a finalist, you get judged again. This time, by editors and agents. So this is a chance to get your work in front of people who might buy your book or sign you as a client. There came a time when I expected to final in any contest I entered. If you Google Mary Connealy Contest Diva there’s a website with a list of people who’ve won a lot of contests and I’m on it. I kept track for the last two or three years before I got a contract and I’d finalled in eleven contests with five different books.
I entered my manuscript Petticoat Ranch in ACFW’s Noble Theme contest in 2004. I was a double finalist, another book of mine, China Doll, was in the running, too. When I heard I was a finalist, I decided to attend the 2004 conference. A member of my online critique group said I could room with her. I had never been on a plane before and I had never gone on vacation without my husband, Ivan, before.
I don’t know if you can imagine the guts it took for me to go. Ivan, my husband, was great about it when I told him I wanted to go, spend all that money on my writing.
When you think about it. Me, saying to Ivan, “Honey, I want to fly to Denver and spend three days in a hotel with someone I met on the internet…” Well, he was a pretty good sport about it.