Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Online Writing Contests

I LOVE participating in online contests because I learn what agents like, whether it be in the form of pitches, first lines, or queries. I have an opportunity to get my stuff in front of an agent who often isn't accepting unsolicited material. I can see what else is out there, fix my stuff based on comments, get my writing out there and noticed.

I HATE participating in online contests because my writing is out there being read by the whole world, naked and bare for all to see. Critiques/comments can hurt, and there are some pretty fearless people out there who aren't afraid to tell you what they really think. If I (when I) lose or fail, everyone knows it...it's like they have a clear view into the rejection folder in my query inbox.

I have received a number of requests from online contests, so I do think they are worth my while. Even one of my CP's landed her agent through an online contest, so I know it works. It's still hard to put yourself out there, though.

A few sites that have contests regularly:


What other contests do you know about or participate in? Do you love or hate them?

18 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Good O word.
I'm not a lover of online contest, as you say you leave yourself wide open and sometimes you get hurt.

Have a good day.
Yvonne.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Good O word.
I'm not a lover of online contest, as you say you leave yourself wide open and sometimes you get hurt.

Have a good day.
Yvonne.

Em-Musing said...

I've not participated yet in online contests, but I'm sure ready to try. Thanks for the links.

Giora said...

Ilima, you have to separate yourself from your books. Criticizing your books, should not be viewed as a personal critizm of the author so not need to feel hurt. I welcome harsh criticism because then I know what to improve. The main problem with sending queries that agents just reject without telling you the reasons, so you can't improve the book. Last week when you post about Nine and Remake, you got great comments from Emusing and Fiona. It was really worth it to put it on your blog. (Hey, I wish now that Emusing will write my query ..:) Hence, we should all love online contests and especially critism. One of the best contest is Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award where you submit the whole book, but it's only once a year. Next one start in January.

Daisy Carter said...

I only ever did a couple of online contests because I was terrified, like you. And honestly, I wasn't aware of them in the beginning. But I think they're a great way to get an agent's attention.

The Writer's Voice is a big contest involving SEVERAL agents is coming up in May. I don't have a link, but I'm sure you could google it.

Jay Noel said...

Never did an online contest. I figured I'd work to get published first, and then I will hopefully look more attractive to an agent.

Kathryn Purdie said...

I think I feel pretty much the same way as you about online contests. I use to enter them before my draft and revision were finished. Bad mistake. I've sworn them off until this revision is finished, then I'll start querying and participating in all the online contests I can. Yikes!

ilima said...

Yvonne-It is hard.

Em-Musing-Do it. It's worth it.

Giora-You are so right for all those reasons.

Daisy-Yes, I've seen stuff online about the Writer's Voice. Should be fun.

Jay-If I didn't know someone who found an agent through contests, I'd be hesitant.

Katie-I'm so excited for you to start querying!

Taryn said...

Giora, the Amazon contest is actually one of those you have to be really really really careful about because of the fine print. An agent was explaining the details to me, and it's really not something you should do unless you've exhausted all options.

Ilima, I MISS CONTESTS. *sniffle*

Cassie Mae said...

I prefer online contests over querying, lol. If I see one I enter it. I love the feedback I get because it's usually more personalized than a form or whatever. And I get to see what the agent goes for, and what draws them in. So even if I don't get a request or anything, I do get something out of it.

Emily said...

I haven't yet entered an online contest, mainly because I feel like my MS isn't ready for an agent and I didn't want to get a request before I was ready.

However, I don't think I'm opposed to them. I think they can offer good feedback and are good 'practice,' on getting your work out there and learning to deal with criticism.

Angela Cothran said...

I had no idea Operation Awesome held contests :) Good to know.

Jaycee DeLorenzo said...

I've done a few, and feel very similar to you about them - I love them, I hate them (I fear them). LOL.

S. L. Hennessy said...

Wow, online contests sound awesome. Thanks for the website help. Great post and happy A-Z blogging!

nutschell said...

Online critique contests can be very helpful:)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com
Happy A-Zing!

Suzi said...

I like the online contests, even though you get conflicting information.

http://brenleedrake.blogspot.com/
http://www.motherwrite.blogspot.com/

I don't think I saw the links given above so sorry if someone did. Here is the Writer's Voice. It's actually 4 ladies hosting, but Brenda and Krista above also have done other contests too.

Amy Jarecki said...

The chapters of the Romance Writers of America have contests all the time. You can find them on www.rwa.org.

ilima said...

Taryn-Oh, boo-hoo for you. :P

Cassie-Yes, personal feedback is great.

Emily-I'll be there to cheer you on when you do!

Angie-yes, usually once a month.

Jaycee-fear them! yes.

S.L. and nutschell-Thanks for visiting

Suzi-thanks for the links.

Amy-Thanks for the recommendation.