I love contests; I love that they open up extra exposure for authors, not only to agents but also to other writers who can offer advice and critiques. However, I’ve started to notice that these pitch and logline and first 500 word and secret agent contests are happening so frequently that not only do I find myself judging the same entries over and over again…I’m exhausted.
I know there are some major plus sides to all of this for authors – aside from the free extra exposure, there’s also a chance to query without having to meet query requirements (like a darn synopsis), a quick (possibly frenzied) response, agents coming to YOU and not the other way around, networking, and even just plain ol’ fun and excitement.
For me, though, I’m starting to feel a lot of down sides. Originally, these contests were a fabulous way to get my face out there and find new talent. Still are of course, but really, as an agent my job isn’t to search the slush pile. It’s to be an advocate for my clients. The contests force me to spend more time in the slush, basically, rather than on my clients. If I do decline a contest to avoid this, I feel like I’m missing out, because of course, not all writers who enter contests WOULD query me – but then, does that mean that they didn’t put me on their submit list on purpose, which means to read a contest entry is a waste of time anyway, or because they didn’t think of/ know of me?
Bottom line: I don’t want to miss a fresh find just because I’m growing as an agent (i.e., have more clients and sales), and so I scramble to make it all work, but…how much longer can I go?! I’m going contest C-RAZY!
It’s all exciting, of course. And I don’t want it to STOP. But NaNoWriMo is coming up (oh, how I love that too…) and, despite the pluses, I have heard my exhaustion echoed by a few authors scrambling to keep up with it all – which takes away from writing time!
So I’m going to keep this short and simple. I would like to put a call out for some fresh, either craft-oriented, giveaway or inspiring contests for a while, to let you fabulous writers create some fresh material and hone your skills to knock my socks off. And…maybe a call for some more spaced out agent contests!!
To that end, I have one up my sleeves I shall announce shortly…