Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Contests with Guest Blogger Christie Craig

Contests: A Chance to Reel in a Contract or a Sport of Diversion?

I often relate entering contest to fishing. No, I’m not a serious fisherman, “fisherperson” but the first time my dad took me on the banks of the Coosa River with a cane pole, within five minutes, I’d hooked a huge prize. A prize big enough to be mounted on the wall, or so my dad said, right before it “accidentally” slipped from his hands and back into the murky water. Truth is, it probably wasn’t big enough to be used as fish bait.

But what was important was I felt successful, like a real winner. And every since then, I’ve enjoyed fishing. Now through the years, I’ve done a lot of fishing when the only thing I caught was a sunburn and a hook in my finger. But deep inside, there’s that six-year-old little girl who knew it could happen – a girl who wanted to prove to her daddy she could watch a bobber and jerk a fish out of the water just as good as her brothers. And if I wasn’t that good, I knew my dad would give me a few pointers.

My point is that we fish for a lot of the same reasons we enter contests. We long for the chance to prove our skills, to improve our skills, to get validated, and deep inside we’re hoping to snag a contract from either an agent or a publisher. But the question still exit: Can contests really lead to publication? Or, are they a diversion, a form of resistance that writers use in lieu of working toward the real goal?

Lesson Number One: It’s not a myth, you can hook an agent and a publishing contract in the river of contests.

I not only sold my first book via a contest, but twelve years later, I sold my second, third, and fourth books via contests. My fifth book sold after being submitted by my agent, but guess what she used to pitch that book to the editor? Yup. She hooked that editor by using my contest finals.

Lesson Number Two: Entering Contest is a tool to help you reach your goal of publication, but it may not be the best tool for every book or even for every writer.

If you write a plots or characters that are “outside of the box”, understand there’s a good chance that you will get “in the box” judges who will call you on your style/technique. If your style is known to be what most of us consider a breach in the rules, i.e. multiple POV in the same scene, you probably will be counted down on it and contests may not be the best place for you to shine.

Lesson Number Three : Contests can offer some amazing, insightful, and helpful cold-read critiques, but they can’t take the place of a critique group.

I have gotten some amazing advice from contests that helped me improve my writing and plots. But I still have a critique group. Why? Because you don’t know, or can totally trust, that the person judging has enough experience to offer positive or constructive feedback. They don’t call contests “crap shoots” for nothing. If you enter often enough, you will probably get some crappy writing advice or maybe good writing advice that just doesn’t work for your story.

Lesson Number Four: Contests can validate you in a big way and the placements can help snag an editor’s interest even outside the contest arena.

Positive re-enforcement motivates us. Knowing that your story was read and enjoyed by your peers is an unforgettable high. Even if your entry doesn’t receive a request, baiting your query letters with your contest placements can help snag the interest of agents and editors.

Lesson Number Five: Contests can be costly.

I generally entered twelve to fifteen contests a year. I found that when I stopped looking at them as fun, and started budgeting for them as a writing expense, it helped me deal with the guilt factor that we women so often allow ourselves to feel. Looking at them as business deductions made me take a closer look at my investment.

Lesson Number Six: Contests are subjective and you will get judges who just don’t like your writing.

Just because a manuscript doesn’t final doesn’t mean it isn’t good and won’t get published. For that matter, a win doesn’t mean you are ready for publication any more than not placing means you aren’t. Score sheets and comments are meant to be filtered through. You, the writer, must find the truths and non-truths about your own work.

Lesson Number Seven: Contests offer you a lot of lessons that mimic those in the real publishing world.

Yes, it stings when you learn you didn’t final, but rejection is a part of this business. Get used to it. Other lessons include: meeting deadlines; giving your work that extra polish before sending it off; being able to deal with the “hurry up and wait” mode of operation that seems to drive this business, dealing with professional jealously of some of your peers, budgeting business expenses.

Lesson Number Eight: Contests can be addictive.
The highs you get from a win are great. They motivate and inspire you, making you more productive. But are you in it just for the highs? Below are some signs of contest addiction.

1) Your first chapter is fabulous. It’s also your only chapter.

2) You spend more time entering contests than you do . . . writing.

3) You enter every contest you hear about – even if the final judge is on the 20 Worst Agents List by Writer’s Beware. (You enter because you hear that the amount of entries is low. You enter even when the final judges are not someone whom you feel would purchase your book.)

4) You begin neglecting to pursue other methods of getting published

Lesson Number Nine: Write thank you notes.

Just because an editor doesn’t request your work after judging it in a contest doesn’t always mean they wouldn’t like to see the manuscript. Ask if they would like to see the manuscript after you make the recommended changes.

Lesson Number 10: Tips for improving your chances for snagging a final placement

1) Follow the rules. If you try to sneak something in, they will notice.
2) Just like in real publishing, the first page and a good hook get attention
3) Make sure you’ve entered the right category
4) Proof, then reproof you work.
5) Get your hands on the contest score sheet and see how you think you’ll score
6) Get someone who likes you, but is honest to see how they think you’d score using the score sheet
7) Don’t try cheap tricks to get attention –i.e. hooks that tease but don’t carry through.
8) Write the best damn book you can.

To celebrate the release of Divorced, Desperate and Delicious, Christie is giving away a t-shirt to one of our posters today. Be sure to look for Weddings Can Be Murder in May 2008.

And visit Christie at
or catch her blogging at

Christie Craig is an award-winning writer, multi-published photo journalist,
motivational speaker, and writing teacher. With one novel to her name and
over 3,000 credits for her non-fiction, Christie's long-standing goal was to
break back into fiction. She achieved that dream when she broke that
long hiatus by selling four romance novels in one day. And Christie accredits her latest success to her contests wins.


  1. Thank you for sharing your wisdom of contests! It's all so mind boggling! I'm not really a rule breaker, but at this point I don't even know the rules! Could be a blessing right? Ok, didn't think so.


  2. Hey Christie Girl--Great to see your hat hanging at Tina's place. I'm getting breakfast and working on my first cup of jo. Will be back to give you a hard time, woman. Love ya!

    Jordan Dane

  3. Good Moring Christie!! Thanks for joining us.

    And hey to Mimi!!! Is the coffee ready yet??

  4. Hey--that thank you note thing is a good comment. I wish I had done more of that as an entrant.

    As a judge, I always enjoyed getting them, especially when I worked hard to give positive strokes.


  5. Excellent advice Christie! I hope all the blossoming contest divas out there will take note.

    I sold - at auction - directly because of a contest final. (The Jasmine - thank you Low Country RWA!) And I received a number of full manuscript requests from contests before that sale.

    The tip we used to tell everyone about contest feedback was: if one person says it, it's an opinion. If three people say it, you should look at the problem area. You may not agree with the judges, but maybe there's a way to tweak that scene or that motivation to give it a little more "umph".

    Anyone who hasn't read Christie should! She's hilariously funny and a fabulous writer, as well as a font of writerly energy and knowledge.

  6. ooChristie, thanks for stopping by Seekerville and for your wisdom-packed post! Loved the apt fishing analogy.

    You're living proof that contests bring contracts. Your persistence during the twelve years between your first and second sale hooked me. Did contests also help you to keep going?


  7. Mimi,
    Thanks for posting girl. And yes, in a way, not knowing the rules is more fun. Sometimes it can get you in trouble, but it can be more fun.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Christie Craig

  8. Jordan,

    Don't give me too hard of a time!

    I'm still working my java. (smile)


  9. Tina,

    Thanks for having me.

    And Mimi, I could use another cup of coffee if you're passing it out.


  10. Hi C.J.,

    Funny, the Jasmine was also one of the contests that helped me break back in.

    And yes, the rule of three is a good one. When several judges/critique partners say something and even if I don't agree, I do what I call safety netting. I try to find why these people felt this way and then I try to find a way to make sure that another person won't find the same problem. I don't always fix the problem the way someone may suggest, but I almost always address it.

  11. Janet,

    The contest were my motivation. They kept me hoping, kept me believing in myself.

    Thanks stopping by to chat.


  12. That fishing illustration was so perfect! Your points are so true.

    It's also true what you said, that sometimes you will get crappy advice from judges. Most of the time we don't want to talk about that, but it's true. I probably give my crit partners crappy advice every once in a while, so it makes sense that judges do it occasionally as well. You shouldn't take everything they give you as gospel truth. Of course, if more than one person says it, it's most likely a problem you need to work on. Just my 2 cents, although Christie said it better.
    Okay, I'm going back to work on my WIP now.

  13. I'm storyboarding today...trying it anyway. And I'm finding out one important thing.

    There's not enough coffee on the planet to get me through this.


  14. Melanie,

    I think that's what makes writing so hard sometimes. Someone's great advice may be great for their work, their voice and characters, but it may really be bad advice for your own work.

    I could not make it without my critique partners, but learning to listen and filter through the advice is sometimes hard.

    Thanks for stopping by. And good luck on that WIP!

  15. Hi, Thanks for the words of wisdom, Christie. And you brought Jordan with you, too. Great.

    All the lessons are right on, but the one I'm going to mention is Lesson Four. Validation. In the long and rugged road to publication, an occasional bit of good news can keep you going. So entering contest and doing well is a small 'Atta girl' on a swirling cesspool of 'you're a failure'.

    Which is how most of publishing feels when you're trying to kick down that stubborn door.

  16. Storyboarding, huh?

    I'm so bad, I don't write anything down, I do storyboarding in my head.

    Bring on the coffee!


  17. Mary,

    I know all about that dadburn door! I kicked, scratched, and pounded on it for so long. And those finals, or sometimes just a great comment from a judge can really be just the shot of inspiration you need to keep going.

    I do confess, however, I come from a long line of moonshiners and gamblers. Entering contests always felt like a bit of a gamble. Of course, I worked really hard to improve my craft so my odds would be a bit better.

    I'm really big on learning. I love how-to books. Learning is a big motivation for me.


  18. I have been writing for years, but I am just starting to write seriously as my career. I read your blog with great interest. I see a lot of opportunity for me to grow as a professional by learning from your experience. Contests are definitely on my project list - starting now! Thanks for sharing.

  19. Christie, your point #9 jumped out at me. I don't think I've ever seriously thought about writing thank-you notes to the finals judges! After all, they normally don't give any feedback whatsoever! Am I the only one who's overlooked this potential for making editorial connections???

  20. Katherine,

    Thanks for stopping by. I think the first step of getting published is realizing that this is a career. I tell new writers to think of your journey as sort of going to school for a degree. Doctors don't just decide to become doctors, they have to learn. I know that a lot of writers make it into the publishing business a lot faster. We all come into this with hurdles to overcome and natural talents.

    I had a heck of a lot of hurdles, and my own natural talent was that of being a story teller. It has not been an easy road for me. And for that reason, I can seriously tell others that if you want it, you can get it.

    Good luck, Katherine.


  21. Myra,

    I don't think you are the only one. I didn't do it in the beginning. But I do always recommend it now. Seriously, it was due to a thank you note that helped me break into Dorchester.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  22. You know, Myra, you're right. We talk about sending thank yous to regular judges but not finalist judges. That's a good idea.

  23. Great post, Christie, and some great advice, too!


  24. Christie, pass the pot this way... Mine's still dripping through.

    And I'd like a spoonful of hot chocolate mixed in. Maybe a dollop of whipped cream, feed the girly-girl that lives inside an old woman's body...

    I think I might change the name of today's blog to: What Freakin' Great Insight!

    Wonderfully put and to the point, Christie. Thank you. I love your perseverance and your moxy.


    Your choice of nouns, they all say that Tina hangs with a great crowd. So nice to have you guys stop by, hang out, offer advice and bring chocolate. Um, someone did bring chocolate, right? Mimi??? Jordan???

    You do understand the requisite rules of Seekerville, right? Tina explained these in triplicate and obtained the required notarized signatures?


    And Katherine, thanks for stopping in. You too, Melanie. And C.L., I think the Jasmine was my very first contest final in an inspy category. Great contest. Good people in the Low Country. Obviously smart and intuitive.

    (broad wink coming from WNY)

    Anyway, I'm putting a fresh pot on here in upstate NY, and just sent off a Laurie entry which will probably give me the spanking I so richly deserve.

    And I'll consider it a learning experience...

    In public!


  25. WHOA, BABY, what a packed post!!! Geez Louise, Christie, I'm thinking we need to keep your post up for a solid week and then repost it on holidays. Talk about chock-full of GREAT contest insight! Thank you for doing such an excellent job.

    I concur with point #1 -- It’s not a myth, you can hook an agent and a publishing contract in the river of contests. Amen to that. It was the query I sent to my agent AFTER I finaled in the Golden Heart that I am convinced hooked her in.

    And congrats on the sale of four romance novels in one day!! YOWZA!


  26. Faye,
    Thanks for stopping by.

    Are you writing, girl?


  27. Ruth,

    Now you've done it. I'm getting hungry. Yum... whip cream and chocolate.

    Rules? Oh, jeepers. Have I broken any yet? I do love to push the envelope at times. (smile)

    And good luck on the Laurie. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.


  28. Julie,

    Thanks for stopping by. Congrats on your GH final and getting an agent. It's a tough business, and we have to do what we can to make it. Contests is one method that works.

    Here's to more finals and lots of contracts.


  29. Christie, you really gave some excellent advice. And I concur on the one about sending a note to the editor..I do that, but I never thought about asking if she'd like to see the manuscript.

    We have to walk through every single open door on this journey. You are totally right.

  30. More on thank-you notes. (Sorry, you got me thinking, Christie!) So what's the consensus--e-mail or handwritten? In many contests, they specify e-mail, while a few still tell you to send snail-mail notes that the coordinators address and forward. And if we start thanking the finals judges, which format is best, or do they even care?

  31. Tina,

    I especially recommend asking if the editor offers any kind of feedback. But even if they don't, you can say something along the lines of, "Having gotten some good feedback from the contest, I've made some changes and was wondering if perhaps you would like to see the manuscript." It never hurts to ask.

    Some people believe that if an editor doesn't write that they would like to see the manuscript then they must not want to see it. But my Jasmine winner, WEDDINGS CAN BE MURDER, didn't come with a request. However, it did come with an almost a perfect score. I wrote the editor and one thing led to another until I had a three book contract.

    So I really recommend taking that time to write a short note of thanks and just ask if they would be interested.

    This has been fun. You seem to have a great bunch of visitors to you blog.


  32. Myra,

    If I had the email address, I always went that route. It was easier for them to answer me back.


  33. Christie I went and hung around on your blog and website for a while. Your books sound great. I'll definitely hunt them up. I love romantic comedy.

  34. I like getting thank you notes from entrants. Granted, I haen't received many over the last six years of judging, but I still have every one.

    Sometimes they're a generic "Thanks for judging. I'll consider your comments when revising."

    Sometimes they're an awesome "You are a freaking fantabulous judge who actually took time to tell me what was wrong and what I can do to fix it. You rock!"

    Okay, one was the latter. Most fell somewhere in between.

    If you want to send a thank you, contact the contest coordinator or the one of your category. Ask if she will forward e-thanks. If not, or if you'd rather hand-write a thank you, then stick all your STAMPED enveloped cards into a larger envelope and mail to the coordinator. Just be sure to label the bottom right corner with Judge #whatever.

    If you can do e-thanks, then after coordinating the LC category of last years FHL's TBL, don't do a generic one for all judges. Personalize it AND be sure to tell the judge the title of your entry and maybe something specific she said so she'll remember which is yours. If you sent them to me to forward, I'd say include all of them as individual attachments titled with each Judge's Number.

  35. Thanks Mary.

    I enjoy blogging at Killer Fiction. If I can give someone a smile, then I think I've done a good deed.

    I grew up in a very crazy, southern, family. We laughed our way through things. Humor was seriously how we dealt with stress. When my mama accidentally stole a car, when my dad accidentally built a bomb, we just laughed.

    I just came back from visiting my dad in Alabama, we had a great time. While I was there, I went and spoke at Southern Magic's RWA. They have a great bunch of folks there.


  36. I love it when I get thank you notes for judging.

    As most of you know, it takes a lot of time to judge. I always try to give the kind of feedback to authors that I like getting. And I always...ALWAYS...tell the author that it's just my opinion. And I seriously mean it, too.

    I've gotten some great advice from big-name fantastic authors, and some of it would have been fantastically wrong for my manuscript. Writers entering contest need to consider everything, but only use what feels right. Yes, depending on how close you are to the manuscript, you might need to give yourself time before deciding if the feedback is right. But after some time passes, if something doesn't feel right, then you probably shouldn't use it.


  37. You're from Alabama? I knew I liked you. I haven't met that many Alabama writers. I'm from L.A. (Lower Alabama). Now I live in Rocket City (Huntsville).

    I almost wrote, You're from Alabama? Can anything good come from Alabama? But I didn't want to offend you. LOL!

  38. Melanie,

    Yup, I'm from good ol' Alabama. A Gadsden gal. And hey, us southern gals, gotta stick together.

    Do you belong to any of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapters, in L.A.?

    I'm speaking at the RWA chapter in Cullman, AL. in August. I go back to see my dad two or three times a year. I live in Texas now, but love getting back to my ol' stomping grounds as often as possible.

    My mom lives in the other L.A. in California. (smile) I'm heading out that way in a couple of weeks. I'm going to be speaking at the Orange County RWA chapter and then the San Diego chapter.

    I love talking about/teaching writing almost as much as I enjoy writing.


  39. Christie, thank you so much for the contest lessons! I especially liked the point about sending thank you notes to the judge. I don't think I would have considered that, even though I should have.

    I also like the three person rule.

  40. Thanks for being with us today, Christie! I loved your post. I'm amazed that you sold after the thank you note (without the request initially, if I read correctly). That's so cool!!! I always wrote thank you's to the editor judges, but never had the nerve to ask if they'd look at it again. Great advice!!

    Oh, and I do love the Jasmine prize--a gorgeous filigree heart! I proudly wear one around my neck at local meetings. :)

    A big hi to Cheryl! I'm still reading Lady of Light and Shadows! It stays in my car for any free moment I have to read while in carpool line, a quick meal alone, or whatever. :) I love the story!

    Christie, I'll be sure to check out your book. I love the cover and title! :)


  41. Lorna,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    I love sharing what I've learn along my own path. So many people had helped me as worked to break in, and if anything I've said is help to others, then I'm thrilled.


  42. Wow, that's cool. I visited the Cullman RWA chapter once for a workshop. A lot of great ladies there. Now that I'm an RWA member I may have to join--or at least visit in August when you come!

    I grew up about 50 miles from where Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) grew up, and since my last name was Lee, I thought it must be some sort of sign. Of course, a quarter of the population's last name was Lee, but hey! Writing was my way of coping with life in the middle of nowhere with people whose lives revolved around deer season.

    I'm planning to write a Southern novel next. Lots of kooky eccentrics and crazy goings-on.

  43. Missy,

    I love my Jasmine prize, too. I think I'm wearing it in the headshot, or does it show in that picture?

    The editor whom I asked if she wanted to see my manuscript, did request it, but at the same time, Chris Keeslar, who had my other manuscript, had requested a different book via a contest. So when my agent called him, he told her to give him a few days to read the manuscript on his desk, before submitting anything to anyone else.

    I then got an email from the Dorchester editor who requested Weddings Can Be Murder and she jokingly said Chris was afraid she was going to steal me.

    And girl, I know it's hard to ask an editor if they would look at your work, but I've learned that the ones who put themselves out there are the ones who make it. You can still be very polite and gracious when asking.

    Thanks again for posting.


  44. Melanie,

    I'm telling you, growing up in the south with all those kooky people around was like training to be a writer.

    My family and neighbors regularly appear in my novels as other characters. They are just too rich with character not to use.

    Oh, I would love for you to come down for a visit in August. And I highly recommend joining any RWA chapter. I learned everything I know about writing through RWA.

    For me RWA is like, AA for writers.


  45. Hi Christie, Thanks for joining us on Seekerville. Like everyone before me has said, your post is pack full of great advice. I totally agree that the process of critique groups and contests prepares you for the publishing world of working with editors, revisions, etc.

    You also mentioned something I never considered and that is to be aware if you're writing out of the box, some contests may not be for you. Some of us are renowned for slipping out of that box so that piece of advice resonated with me. However, I think with all those kicking around the sides of the box, it seems to be changing shape. hooray. I'm currently reading Julie Lessman's book A Passion Most Pure and behold there are Christian characters acting so normal like having sibling jealousies, revenge, desire. all the conflicts that drive a good story. I love it.

    Its obvious you love to learn. I think the process of writing is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. I love the research. I can relate to your love of learning.

    Thanks again for taking the time to join us.

  46. Sandra,

    You are so right. The box is always changing. I took about six years off of writing fiction and focused only on my freelance (had to put my daughter through college. Don't know why they needed to be paid to teach my little darling ;-) ) but when I came back to the fiction table, I had to relearn a lot about how the box had changed.

    Another point about writing in a way that you bump up against the edges of those boxes, is that you may be honored for your uniqueness just as much as you can be condemned for it. Someone once said that the closer you get to your true voice, the more you will get told you might be pushing the envelope. Think of the book and author of Harry Potter.

    Being slightly different can be a good thing, even if all the judges don't get your voice.

    Right before I sold I had a good average for contest finaling. However, there were those judges who just didn't like my humor. I had to be rejudged in a many contests, because one judge gave me a really low score. And if I got two judges who didn't like humor, then I didn't make it.

    So again, being true to what you feel is right for you is always the best advice.

    Thanks for having here today.


  47. BTW a the end of the day we will be having a drawing for a cute pink t, like the one on Christies DDD book and you can see it on her icon.

  48. Christie,
    Thanks for all your great insights! Loved the comment about making the contest submission picture perfect! As I was sending off my last manuscript, I thought of all the contests when I'd check every margin, every page to ensure my printer hadn't messed up the sequence, every header . . . you get the picture. All that attention to detail was good training for when an editor said "yes!"

    I live in the Atlanta area, but am also a member of Southern Magic. What a great group!!! Sorry I didn't make the meeting you were at, Christie. Come to GRW sometime, okay?

    Melanie, I didn't know you were in Huntsville. Love that town. Will you be at the HOD Readers' Luncheon in May? See you there, I hope!

    C.L. -- Cheryl -- what fun to see you in Seekerville! Stop by again, please!


  49. Debby,

    You are so right. Southern Magic was a great group. I had a blast meeting with everyone.

    And super congrats on that editor's "YES!" Nothing feels so good as when you've worked your tush off and finally get the reward.


  50. I don't suppose Seekers get to be in the drawing but just in case, count me out. Trust me, you do NOT want to see me in that t shirt.
    Great cover, though. :)

  51. Mary,

    Lol. Okay...Tina got it a little wrong. The T-shirt is pink, but it doesn't have the cover on the front.

    It has my logo, a woman holding a gun, and then the words Sexy, Suspenseful and Seriously Funny on it.


  52. Christie, this is an AWESOME post! Thanks!

  53. Oh before i go any further what is POV?
    i have seen it writen lots but still cant work out what it stands for.

    sounds like alot of good advice in this blog.
    i am learning lots here.

  54. Camy,

    Thanks for having me. It's been fun. You guys have a great site.


  55. Ausjenny,

    POV, is point of view. It basically means whose head you are in and whose eyes you are seeing the story through. In romance, you ususally have the hero's POV and the heroine's POV and depending on the type of book, you might have more. When you read someone's internal thoughts this is the person whose head you are in.

    You need to have smooth transitions from one person's POV to another so the reader isn't jarred. This is why most writers just change POV when they change scenes.

    Have you ever been reading a book and suddenly didn't know who was thinking something in the text? This is usually a POV slip. Meaning the writer either jumped POV or didn't establish it very well.

    But some writers can and do change more often. There are techniques to switching, but it can be tricky.

    I hope this helps.

    Thanks for posting.



  56. Thanks Christie, I understand now. and yes i have read a book where it switched and i had to go back to try and work out who was talking or thinking.
    thanks for explaining it to me.

  57. Oh, yes. You are right. Brain meld here. But I was close. I saw the picure of the girl holding your book DDD and she was wearing the pink t shirt. This is wear/where the confusion lies.

    he he

    At ten pm MT time I am randomly drawing a name.

  58. The winner of the pink tee shirt is Ms. Ruth Logan Herne.

    I will email you privately.

  59. Hey Christie,

    Congrats on all those books, chica! Great advice about contests. Having one a few myself, I can definitely relate to how they're a good ego boost while you're waiting for 'the call'. The feedback can be awesome too. Every contest I ever entered gave me at least once great piece of advice or tip. None of them were ever a waste.

  60. Tina,

    You were real close. Thanks again for asking me to guest blog. This has been a blast.

    Hope to see all you guys around.

    And thanks for drawing the name. Ruth, I look forward to hearing from you.


  61. Carla,

    I feel the same way about contests. I always managed to get something out of them.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  62. Debby, I have made a note to self:

    Find out what HOD Reader's Luncheon is and be there in May.

  63. Thanks for posting on Seekerville, Christie. Enjoyed reading it.

    Cheryl Wyatt

  64. This is the most comprehensive discussion on contests I’ve seen anywhere. Thanks for these insights on a way we can grow and learn in our craft.

  65. This is so good! Bottom line when you get those comments back from the contest--go with your instincts and keep learning the craft.

    Annette M. Irby