Posts Tagged ‘agents


Always a Bridesmaid…

If you’ve been on the submission’s train long enough, you’ve probably developed the bridesmaid syndrome. You know what I mean – – the close, but not yet. If I were a Regency writer, I’d compare it to being the debutante who received tons of callers but went home without a marriage proposal at the end of the Season. There are days I feel like Jane in 27 Dresses — standing next to the altar, but never the main attraction.

I’ve queried three novels so far. All three of them have garnered requests for fulls from agents. Two of them have won contests. In other words, I know I’m doing something right. Then the rejection comes. Most of the rejections involve the line “not for NY”, but I’ve had a couple of recent ones pointing out my flaws. Sometimes you need someone to point out that you need to invest in some Spanx to get rid of the saddlebags if you wear tight dresses. The good news from all these rejections is that they usually end with an invite to send something else, which I understand is a “good thing”. But I’m still left alone at the reception in bad dress  sipping on a watermelon margarita.

Sometimes it’s easy to give up on Mr. Perfect and hook up with one of the groomsmen just to get it out of your system. It’s always a gamble. I’ve seen frustrated writers self-publish (through LuLu, for example), which I would compare hooking up with a lazy guy that makes you do all the work in the relationship, but sometimes you come out on top. Others sign up with vanity publishers (like Publish America or DellArte — STAY AWAY!), which is like getting involved with a mooch who takes your money and gives you nothing. Then there are others that publish with an e-pub or small press, which I would compare to going after the shy, quiet type. You won’t have the big bells and whistles in that relationship (say compared to a NY pub), but it can very satisfying, and you might just find a diamond hidden under the shy exterior.

My 2 most recent rejections were tempered by 2 requests, so I’m still out there on the agent hunt, but I’m definitely thinking e-pubs may be the way to go for now, at least with what I have out there. Of course, I’d first need to strike up a conversation with my editor to see if she’d be interested in my novels.

What are you thoughts about the “bridesmaid” situation? Have you been there? What keeps you motivated to keep sending queries out? Any success stories you’d like to share?


Confessions of a Contest Whore

Last night, I came home to a nice little surprise in my inbox. My Fantasy Romance, A Soul For Trouble, was named a finalist in the OVRWA Enchanted Words Contest. I did a little happy dance and updated my webpage, adding to the accolades this unpublished, unagented manuscript has received.

Yes, I’m a contest whore. I freely admit it now. But I wasn’t always that way. About this time last year, I had just about written off writing contests, stating they only worked if you followed the “formula” and things like that. There’s still some truth to that. The only reason I finalled in the Enchanted Words Contest was because they got a 4th judge to settle the discrepancy in the scores. One judge marked me very low for not adhering to the “rules” of romance and queries. Apparently, not mentioning that this was a “complete manuscript” in my query and not having a HEA with one person (instead of a HFN with 2 men) were grave sins in her eyes. At least she liked my writing. 😀

But that’s why I bring this up. You’re not going to please everyone in a contest. You may get the judge who’s SO just left her because she was PMSing too much. You may get the NYT bestseller who offers some great advice. It’s all luck of the draw. But the key here is that YOU GET FEEDBACK. And you’ll get it from more than one person. The good, the bad, and the ugly — your opening pages will be finely dissected, and your story will be weighed and measured.

I’d sworn off contests in the past because I don’t write to formula all the time and have gotten some rather harsh feedback from judges because of it. But I took their advice, applied to my WIP at the time, and started entering A Soul For Trouble. At first I was a bit gun-shy, so I just entered my local RWA contest. I won frist place. Then I entered my specialty genre chapter’s contest with ASFT and another manuscript that had been ripped to shreds in the past and recently revised. They both finalled, and the revised manuscript won it’s category. I was on a roll. I started scouring the RWR (Romance Writer’s Report) for any contest I could enter. I became an addict, wanting to reap more rewards for my writing. I even started a spreadsheet for all the contests I could enter, listing the deadlines, the fees, and the final judges.

Then I had to take a step back. Contests cost money, so I needed to look at my list ask what I could potentially gain from entering it. If the final judge was an editor whose line I was targeting or an agent who is normally closed to queries, I seriously considered entering that contest. Why? Because in addition to the great feedback, you could also get your work in the hands of a publishing professional who may request a full… which could turn into a contract.  Or, as I recently discovered, winning an RWA contest could lead to an unsolicited request for  a full from an agent who wasn’t a final judge. 😉

What are you thoughts on writing contests? Are you a contest whore, too? Do you avoid them like the plague?


April 2020

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