Monday, June 13, 2011

Each To Their Own

Being a contest coordinator, I know how hard it is to keep a writer contests up-to-date of what contestants want. If you don't, your contest receives fewer and fewer entries. Being a first round judge, I know how score sheets can turn off judges and/or entrants. Being an author who has entered many contests over the years, I know how a small error or decision can keep an entrant from entering that contest again.

This last year I've entered several contests that had problems. One returned the wrong score sheet. I had entered a contemporary and received a score sheet for a historical entry. Another had averaged a score incorrectly. Not me, but a buddy of mine was told she placed and then they forgot to show it in the announcement. They corrected it on their website, but didn't in RWA's magazine.

Then one contest I entered before and had a good experience (I had been a finalist) changed how they handled the placements (I was a finalist again). If I had noticed they would decide on the placements by scores instead of letting the final judge do it, I would've never entered. In fact two contests did this and I was rather upset by it. Why? Because a final judge (editor/agent) is known for placing a low scorer in first place. It happened to me before in this very same contest. Besides I could've sent the entry into the editor without it being a finalist. Sure it might interest the editor more, but really, having the final judge decide means more especially if they don't ask for a partial. By placing me higher than the scores prove I'm on the right track.

Oh, I had another contest instruct me to forward the entry to the final judge, telling him I was a finalist. I couldn't believe it.

Of course, we remind ourselves that these people are volunteers and working hard. It's not an easy job. Not everyone is organized enough. I know I've messed up a time or two while coordinating but thankfully I quickly corrected it.

Well, I'm finished with most of those contests. There are a few who will let authors enter their contests as long as the category isn't one we're published in. And then there's the published contests.

LOL! I think I've mentioned that before in a prior post.  It is an addiction.