VICKIE MCDONOUGHMary here: Vickie won the historical category of the Noble Theme (now Genesis) Contest sponsored by ACFW the year before I did. My first year of attending the ACFW Conference, 2004, kicked off by watching Vickie being given her first contract by Heartsong Presents. We were both nominated in the Historical Category of the Noble Theme that year. I went up to Vickie AFTER she got the contract but BEFORE the Noble Theme was announced, grabbed her by the arm and said, "I'm not even going to pretend to root for you, Vickie. I need this way more than you."
After the mace wore off and I'd made bail, Vickie and I became good friends. And now she's honoring us with a visit at Seekerville.
I'll give Vickie a chance to speak.Writing contests can be both beneficial to a young writer and hurtful, depending on the judge that you happen to get. Early on in my writing career, I started doing contests so that I could get feedback on my writing. Was it great? Did it stink? Yes, and yes. It all depending on the judge’s opinion. You’ve heard judging is selective, and that is so true. One of my stories got a 99 from one judge and a 77 from another in the same contest. So what does that mean? I’m an 88? I’ll admit the results can be confusing at times.
When you receive a contest entry back, you have to remember that it is just one person’s opinion, especially if you receive a low score. But, do look at the judge’s comments with an open mind and see if there is truth in them. Learn from them, but don’t let a low score cause you to quit writing. Keep entering, and learning, and improving.
Before I was published, I knew I wanted to target Heartsong and Steeple Hill because I liked writing shorter books. So, I’d enter the contests where the final judges were editors from those two houses. I was more than willing to pay $25 to have one of those editors look at my story, but the trick was, I had to final.
I surprisingly won the first two contests I enters, the TARA First Impressions and ACRW’s(now ACFW) Noble Theme. The year after winning the Noble Theme, the editor/judge offered me a contract for Sooner or Later, my first novel length book, at the ACRW conference in front of a huge group of my peers. That was nerve wracking and exciting!
I truly feel that entering contests led to my being published. You need to carefully consider how a contest can help you and target the ones that could potentially move your writing career forward.
Find out more about Vickie at http://www.vickiemcdonough.com/