Thursday, May 26, 2016

Chirp Chirp! A Post on Twitter Contests

Photo: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/
Hello All!

Over this past year, I've struggled with putting my work out there. Here I was, finally ready to take my writing seriously, but still paralyzed with fears and anxieties about undertaking this endeavor.


After all, writing puts people in a very vulnerable position---what with the outpouring of one's soul onto the white space of blank pages from the innermost depths of their heart.


But if I am to take the plunge to become a full-time writer, I need people to help me. Let me say this again for the people in the back.


It is not weak to ask for help.

Ask for critique partners who give your constructive (not DESTRUCTIVE) feedback, ask for beta readers who fall into your target audience, and ask help from those people who have made it in your field. Ask for help until you turn blue in the face (or red, if you're like me whenever I have to interact with people), because that's how a good book becomes a great book.  


Now, I am not saying to create connections with people with the sole intent of getting something out of them in return. That, to me, is not genuine, and I would not sleep well at night knowing I took advantage of someone's helpful nature. But with all of the technology at our fingertips today, writers are encouraged to seek others in our line of work as a way to network. It's hard to network when you're petrified that your work is never good enough, or that people will "find out" that you have no idea what you're doing. (Again, I speak from personal reflection...I don't actually mean you, my dear writer-friend)


So what have I been doing to lessen my fears about writing? I join contests! 


Contests are a great way to dip my toes into the writing/publishing world, and the friends I've made during these events are now some of my critique partners, writing buddies, betas, and confidants now. Yes, win or lose, I really enjoy the community of writers that have shown up thus far in my experience of contests. I know some people have mentioned to me that they have experienced negativity when participating, but I think that goes hand in hand with the beast that is the internet. 


This year, I've participated in Pitch to Publication, Query Kombat, and a few other Twitter-centered contests.


Various contests are held throughout the year and vary tremendously in their rules and guidelines. Certain contests only want certain genres (PitDark for "Dark Literature") or a particular category (only YA, only picture books etc.) while others are opened to all unagented authors with a polished MS. 


The "prizes" for these contests range from a query/MS critique to time spent with editors/mentors to polish up your work for a round involving agents.


While this is definitely a way to get your name out there, this shouldn't be the only way you get your work in front of editors and agents. Cold querying, or querying an agent/publisher/editor etc. the "traditional" way is still how many people start their writing careers. 


Here's a link to a blog post by the lovely Brenda Drake on contests in 2016. If you aren't subscribed to her, you should definitely do so. Such a helpful blog! I hope to see you in the fray of things soon!





Have you participated in a Twitter pitch contest? How was it? Let me know on Twitter (of course!) Evie_Redding

And as always, may your words be great and your pages many.


Other posts you may find helpful:


Category and Genre


5 Things to Bring to a Writer's Workshop


Help! I Don't Feel Like a Writer!

2 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to participate in one of those contests! Hopefully I find the time to do so someday; they sound like fun! How have they helped you? :)

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  2. Well, I got feedback from an actual editor on my first 50 pages, so that was amazing. But mostly, I got help in the sense that I've made writing buddies with people who are now my critique partners. They are familiar with my style since I've had to put myself out there as a writer, so that is a load off of my mind. I wasn't sure I'd ever find critique partners, to be honest. :p

    You should definitely give it a try, and let me know if you do, so I can cheer you on~ :D

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