Tuesday, March 26, 2013

One of My 3Cs to Publication: Contests

Free Digital Photos / Feelart
Since the publication of Where Treasure Hides, I've often been asked what advice I'd give to aspiring writers. My answer are the 3Cs: conferences, critiquers, and contests.

In the past few years, I've entered the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest (twice), the My Book Therapy Frasier contest (twice), and Faith Hope Love's Touched By Love contest (once). My entries ranged from two different historical novels to one contemporary romance.

Both the Genesis and the Touched By Love contest deadlines have passed for this year.

However, it's not too late for unpublished novelists to enter the Frasier and receive the benefit of having their scenes critiqued by writing professionals.

Pat Trainum, one of my Imagine That! critique partners, shares how the Frasier helped her improve her writing in this video. Pat, who writes as P.T. Bradley, recently signed a multi-book contract with Revell so her contest experience is invaluable.

But you'll need to hurry -- the Frasier deadline is March 31st. For more information, visit the My Book Therapy website.

The Oregon Christian Writers Cascade contest, for both unpublished and published authors, opened just last week.

Other contests may be found through writers groups or an internet search.

ACFW sponsored a new contest, First Impressions, last fall. So there's plenty of time to polish your first five pages to enter this contest when it opens for 2013..

I'm a big proponent of contests because of the invaluable feedback. The judges in the contests I entered provided helpful, and sometimes stinging, feedback. But their comments gave me insight on what improvements needed to be made to the story.

Contests can also give recognition and affirmation. Last year, my contemporary placed as a Bronze Medal Finalist in the Frasier. In 2011, Where Treasure Hides won the Genesis Historical Category. One of the final round judges, Tyndale acquisition editor Jan Stob, bought the novel this past summer.
Join in the Conversation!

If you've never entered a contest, what's holding you back? If you have, what was the most -- and the least -- helpful feedback you received? We'd love to hear about your experiences.



Jean Wise said...

Johnnie I haven't consider contests for a long time. Time to think about them again. Great reminder

Marti Pieper said...

I still haven't started writing fiction, Johnnie. But when I do, maybe I'll try the contest route. I still remember how excited I was for you and your ACFW award!

Johnnie Donley said...

Marti, thanks so much. I was very surprised that's for sure. Around 9:00 on the evening they announced the Genesis winners, I sent an email to the other Kindred Hearts saying I must not have won since I hadn't heard anything. But it was only 8:00 in the conference host city. About half an hour later, I got the news, first from another critique partner and then from my agent. I was awake all night! :)

Johnnie Donley said...

Jeanie, have you ever researched contests for nonfiction? The OCW Cascade contest has nonfiction categories.