Woo! Well this is my second year entering my manuscripts in the New Jersey Romance Writer’s ‘Put Your Heart In A Book’ contest, my (currently) shelved manuscript ‘Saltwater Hearts’ was a finalist in the supernatural category last year. This year, my fantasy romance ‘Knight and Shade’ made finalist in the speculative fiction category.
…Which did make me run to google what speculative fiction was, because I has a small moment of panic that I had submitted to the wrong category. (Duh, Kate, it’s not going to make finalist if it was in the wrong category.)
I love the feedback I’ve gotten from this contest in the past. In a way, participating alone is worth the entry fee for the scoresheets.
Critique is always hard to swallow, and sometimes you don’t agree with some of the responses you get. But because you get more than one person filling out your scoresheet and giving feedback, you can see how one aspect of your story snagged on one reader, but still works really well for other people.
Of course, you can’t completely divorce the competitive and evaluative nature of contests from the event. As happy as I am to be a finalist again, I have to take stock and realize this is the second year I’ve submitted HWC to contemporary romance. I don’t know whether to assure myself that it’s a highly competitive category, or start thinking more seriously about shelving my book. It has gotten feedback from this contest in the past that made me stupidly happy, along with ego-deflating feedback. And it is ego that makes me equate not placing in a contest to unmarketable, un-agentable (the true horror, lol).
Either way, I’m working on submitting HWC to PitchWars today or tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes!