Monday, September 15, 2008
Milking Every Last Drop Out of a Contest Final/Win
Last week on the Finish the Book Loop (a loop that’s a perk of the Faith, Hope & Love Chapter of RWA), one of our members announced she’d just finished her book. She said the book had won in a contest, but that she hadn’t gotten any feedback or a request. Our group encouraged her to send a thank you note and ask the editor if she’d like to see the manuscript. Well, the member of our group received a request one week later! Now, there’s a writer getting a little extra mileage out of finalist status!
This got me to thinking. What are some other ways we can make the most of contests? Well, since I’m a big chicken about things like that, I asked the other Seekers what they’ve done. I only got a couple of responses. I think there are probably some doozies that they’re too embarrassed to admit. :) So I appreciate the two brave women who spoke up. And to protect the guilty, each will be known as She Who Shall Remain Unnamed (SWSRU). :)
SWSRU #1 told me that after winning a contest (that shall remain unnamed), she got a request from a published author for three chapters. The author (WSRU) then submitted those chapters to her editor! And this led to a sale. If #1 hadn’t sent those chapters, then who knows how much longer it would have taken to sell? Don’t miss opportunities from generous authors! I know many writers are scared someone is going to steal their ideas or their writings. And you can’t send your stuff to just anyone. But if an author/editor/agent is reputable, then don’t be afraid to take advantage!
SWSRU #2 suggests that if the contest you’ve finaled in is big enough (like the Golden Heart), then query every agent and editor you think would be a match for your manuscript (using his or her preferred contact method), letting her know about the finalist status. She also suggests that you contact every editor or agent who already has the manuscript on her desk and ask if she’ll meet with you at RWA National (or other conference).
Another tip from SWSRU #2: Even if the ms ISN'T right for some editors, use the contest final to say, "I know you're not publishing _______ genre, but I'm a finalist in such and such biggie contest, and I have another ms that I'm working on that I think will fit your house." #2 did this with an editor and got a request for a full manuscript!
#2 said she also “rode that wave again” when a certain publisher (WSRU) branched out into a new genre. She sent a letter to an editor and told the editor that she'd judged her entry (in this new genre) a couple of years earlier and asked if she’d like to see it now. The editor called #2 as soon as she got the letter and requested the full asap.
Another tip from SWSRU #2: No matter the size of the contest, if you’re going to a conference soon, and the judge of your finaling entry will be attending, then schedule a meeting with her. Thank her for the contest final/win, and ask if she'd like to see the full.
Okay, your turn. Will you share some ways you’ve stretched the contest placement mileage? If you want to be a SWSRU, you can email your comment to me at missytippens [at] aol [dot] com and I’ll post it for you to protect your identity. My lips will be sealed. :)