I wasn’t going to weigh in to the fray with the palaver happening on the I Heart Presents site, but I wanted to say a couple of things in response. No, not controversial stuff, there’s enough of that floating around at the moment I ‘m thinking, it’s just something to think about.
I pretty much just wanted to remind everyone that a contest win doesn’t automatically equal publication. Nor does a contest placing. If it did, I’d be published by now. All a contest is, is a faster-than-normal submission process. If you’d worked hard on your chapter and synopsis, and subbed them the normal way, the response you would get would be exactly the same. Some will get requests and some will get rejections.
Oh, but you say, didn’t the winners get an editor for a year? That’s different from the normal sub process. Well, actually no it’s not any different. Because it’s been a year since my contest placing and I am still working with an editor. And I was working with an editor before my placing too so me getting runner up in Feel the Heat really had nothing to do with it. It got a manuscript seen faster probably but that’s it. They’re not going to publish me because I got somewhere in a contest, they’re going to publish me because I can write a book they want to publish. I know, it’s all very well for me to say that but if you don’t take my word for it, take Maisey’s. She submitted through the slush, spent a year working with an editor, and sold. That’s the prize right there, no contest required.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you don’t need a contest placing to win the prize. If the editors see potential, they’ll want to see more of what you have. And people always forget that even when you do get to have that wonderful feedback, it’s not the end. No, it’s just the beginning of how hard you need to work. Winning an editor for a year, whether through the slush or the contest, means a year of slogging your guts out. And even when you do slog, you may not be published. Because that last part – writing a publishable book – is all dependent on you, your ability to take criticism and your skill as a writer to apply it to your manuscript, not a contest placing.
No part of this process is easy. Contests are great ways to polish up something for a deadline and get a response to a submission quickly. But they are not the only way. Keep submitting. That’s all you can do.