I really have cut back on contests. Just three so far this year and probably not much more than that the rest of the year. I recently received some scores from one. This is on a brand new manuscript I’ve only written three chapters and it’s a totally different book from all my others. Very much mainstream romance. No one gets killed by bad guys or shifts into a were-animal.
The comments I’m getting continue to be mixed but I’ve seen a trend where they have to struggle to find things to mark me down. For example, one judge said I needed to describe the cubical and elevator. Huh? Why would I bore people to death with something so mundane? Those two have nothing to do with the plot and describing something most everyone knows about would slow down the scene. Of course, another said I took too long giving descriptions of those locations. Considering it was mainly showing the heroine moving from her cube to the elevator and to the owner’s office, it was mostly showing her nervousness, I wouldn’t really call the areas descriptions until she enters his office and that was mostly done to impress his importance.
While one judge didn’t answer the question of whether or not they would be interested in reading the entire book, the other two typed in VERY in all caps or underlined and with no hesitations (if she fixed this or that). That was nice to see.
The other comments gave me something to think about. I doubt I’ll enter this into anymore contests. They’re too expensive and I rather finish the books and send to editors. Sure it would be nice to final in every contest I enter, but that’s not really my goal in life. Being published is more important.
I’ve read several entries I know have finaled in contests (benefit of being a coordinator and judge) and I can see why they do. But I can tell you very few of them are “my type” of book. The type I’d pay money to read. Though I did for the first time ever read a book (purchased) I had judged in a contest a couple years earlier. It was so freaky. I was reading the beginning and thinking how it was so familiar. The first thought through my head was I had bought it before. I looked at the copyright date. No. It was recent. It wasn’t on my bookshelf or in my give-away bag. Then it dawned on me. I had read it in a contest. I enjoyed the book though I wouldn’t consider it a keeper. In fact, I’ve already given it away. But I was happy to see they sold it.
Hey, I haven’t given up hope yet.