Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for...

Gold.

The Colorado Gold Writing Contest, to be exact. It's sponsored by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and details can be found here: http://www.rmfwcontest.com/.

I am currently working on formatting my manuscript and writing the synopsis. I've got until June 1, 2011, but they only take 200 entries, so I'm not sure I've actually got that long.

I went back and forth on whether I should enter the contest, because I'm concerned about waiting until at least August to query on my book. I haven't figured out yet whether I'll be able to query agents for my book in the meantime, though I found nothing in the rules saying this wasn't allowed. I imagine I would just need to put in the query that the book had been entered in a contest. Stop me if I'm wrong here. Surely, no agent is going to be against possibly having a book that won a contest, right?

The wonderful thing about the Colorado Gold contest is that those stories that reach the final phase will be sent to an agent or editor to be reviewed. If you win (or place as a finalist), you will not only have that for bragging rights (and to mention on queries), but you may find an agent or editor who's interested in your book. This is what makes me think it might be a bad plan to query other agents during that time. What if someone expressed interest before the end of the contest? What if the agent or editor in the contest liked it? Will an agent wait until the end of the contest to see if I accept their offer? Murg!

Other than that, the synopsis is evil. I understand what it's for, and I respect it for what it is, but trying to write it is tricky. For anyone else dealing with trying to write a synopsis, this seems to be a good rundown on how to do one: http://www.writing-world.com/publish/synopsis.shtml. I've been working on reading and breaking it down today and will be doing so tomorrow, as well. They stress how important the synopsis is on the RMFW site for the contest, so it is not something I want to mess around with.

Moving on from my over-thinking (as I am apt to do at times), if you have a completed novel manuscript, check out this contest for sure. You only enter the first 20 pages, plus the synopsis up to 8 pages. And you can pay extra to get back a critique, which I imagine could be quite helpful.

G is also for...

Giveaways.

Don't get excited. I have nothing to give away. But I'm wondering how those blogs that do all those giveaways get their goodies. Are they so popular that those who have items to giveaway contact them or do they contact people with goods to give? How does that work? I can see an author giving away their book, of course, but beyond that...? This is all just curiosity on my part.

What do you think about the contest? Would you go for the contest, query at the same time, wait to query or just query and forget the contest? Is there anything more evil than a synopsis? Has anyone out there ever entered the Colorado Gold?

Happy Writing!

6 comments:

  1. Hi Shannon--good luck with the contest.

    As far as giveaways, I've been able to buy books and get them signed at some conferences I've attended. I buy some just for me and my family, and some with the intention of using for giveaways.

    And me, I'd go for the contest and query at the same time. Just make sure you're MS is ready!

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  2. New follower here. Nice to meet you. Personally, I would wait until after the contest to query other agents unless its going to be a year before they tell you whether you've won or not. Some of those contests start in June and they announce the winner by Christmas. Too long to keep your manuscript on hold. If you find an agent first, let he or she know that you've entered the contest, and if you win, it shouldn't be a problem. As for the synopsis, I hate them with a passion. And you asked about the giveaways. Some bloggers are in with the cool cats and have other author friends who share their stuff for giveaways. Some publishing houses use book bloggers and the like to help promote new books coming out. The rest of us give away either used books we've read, or in some cases, we purchase these things ourselves and give them to our followers. Don't worry, its a tax write off.

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  3. I don't know the proper etiquette on contests and queries so I can't really comment on that.

    I can sympathize with the synopsis writing. I wrote one last year and it took me months- seriously months- to write one with which I was happy.

    Good luck!!

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  4. I've only been in Colorado for a few years, so I hadn't heard of the Colorado Gold contest (or the pike's peak conference, for that matter.) It sounds like a great opportunity.

    I also agree that synopsis = evil. I'm still in the drafting phase of novel writing, but writing a synopsis and query letter are high on my list of things that frighten me.

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  5. I would never say to wait unless there is an actual prohibition against the querying. Querying can be a long process, so I would say to start doing it as soon as you feel ready to. Besides, having an agent isn't like having a contract. It's more like having a real estate agent.

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  6. Kristine, thank you for your feedback. That's a good idea, getting the books signed and giving them away. Very cool!

    TC, nice to meet you, too! Interesting on the giveaways. Thanks! This contest notifies you if you're a finalist in August and the winner is announced in September. I may try to hold off until August and keep polishing then submit then. We'll see how I feel about it after the next read-through.

    M.J. yikes! I don't have months, but I'm trying to work at it every day so I can hopefully make it quality. At least it is for a contest and not an agent/publisher.

    Kendal, where in Colorado are you? I'm in Colorado Springs.

    Andrew, good point. Thanks! I like the comparison.

    Thanks, all, for the feedback!

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