My 2013 writing competition career started on 27th January, when the deadline for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award arrived. I have been sending my novel “The Border Guard” out into the world for a while now with varying degrees of response. Most agents and publishers send form letters, and you never know why they don’t want it. A lot of times it doesn’t even make it past the cursory glance, I am sure. I am well aware of how things work. They scarcely have time to devote to all of the manuscripts and part manuscripts that must arrive on their desks or in their email Inboxes.
I don’t take it personally.
Many times I get more than a “no thanks” with no explanation. Often they say “We read your work with great interest” and “We considered it very carefully”. This gets my heart a-pumping! But then the killer blow: “Regrettably, however, we do not feel it is right for our list” or “we are not in a position to devote the time it needs” and blah blah.
Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that they took the time to at least encourage me. It means more than a straight no, and lets me know that I have something. Frustrating though, because even if some editors and agents like it, the sad fact is they don’t take many risks these days.
I’ll keep on plugging away – it does not dishearten me. But in the meantime I have to keep writing – more stories, more books. There is so much to do and so little time!
So contests are the way forward. Sadly there are precious few contest for novels aimed at unpublished writers. These competitions seem to be the almost exclusive domain of the already lucky, established writers. Which hardly seems fair, when you think about it! They already have the book deal, the agent, the sales (one presumes!). It’s us poor unwashed struggling authors that need the breaks!
So imagine my delight when I stumbled across ABNA. The answer to my prayers. I entered that one.
One off the list. I was off! I will find out if I got through the first stage next Wednesday and will post the news here.
After the disappointment of not making the finals of the Costa Short Story Award, which I entered last year, I sat down and made a list of all the contests coming up. Because all the competitions seem to have a different word count limit, it gave me a nice excuse to write a few new short stories, and I entered the Writers and Artists Short Story Competition. The deadline for this is 15th February, so if you fancy it, give it a go. The word limit is 2000 words and your story has to be on the theme of “Freedom.” All details of this, and other competitions they are running, can be found by clicking on the link.
My third entry this year was to a poetry competition. My good friend, Sue Fell, who is author of “The Crystal Gazer” Blog, has always told me that she likes my poems and thinks I should enter competitions. I had never really considered myself a serious poetry writer before. I enjoy it, but it always seemed more of a mere diversion while I agonised over a plot or character problem in my fiction. But I thought: “Why not” and sent off a 40 line poem to the Kent and Sussex Poetry Competition. The deadline for this has now passed.
There are several more competitions to enter that will take me way into the summer. I will be writing about more of them soon, and will also post a list of links to everything you will need to get into the competition game. I have had some invaluable help from resources on Twitter. There are some fantastic people out there who work tirelessly to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
So in the next day or so I will devote a post to giving some important links, and to listing all the people you should be following on Twitter.
Have a great writing weekend, and please remember to post comments on here if you have anything to add to any of my posts. Your thoughts and opinions and, most importantly, you experiences in the writing world, are of great value.