From Our President: ‘Tis the Season for Contests
There are a lot of contests out there a writer can enter—unpublished and published. What is a writer to do? First, evaluate each contest. What does it do for you?
For a published writer
- Does it spread the word of your book?
- Do you have a possibility of acquiring new readers?
- What is the prize for being a finalist and winner?
- Who are the judges—booksellers, librarians, readers, or other writers?
- How much does it cost to enter?
- How prestigious is the contest? What is its reputation in the publishing industry?
For an unpublished writer
Consider some of the same issues—price, prestige, how will it benefit you, what is the prize for being a finalist and winner, and who are the judges? But, one aspect that is particularly important for unpublished writers is who the judges are for the contest. One of the ways an unpublished writer can get her name before an editor she wants to submit to is find the contests that editor is judging and enter those contests. In fact, target them because if you don’t have an agent, it is a great way to have editors request to read your manuscript when you final and they judge that category.
So when approaching this season of contests, determine what money you can spend, then evaluate the contests out there that are available for your type of book, keeping in mind the different questions raised above. Read the directions to submitting for the contests you are interested in and make your manuscript the best you can before entering. Go over your manuscript and ask a critique partner to read it.
ACFWs Genesis contest
With all this said, unpublished writers can’t go wrong entering the Genesis. Published or experienced writers judge the first round of the contest. In the second round published writers rank the entries. The last round is judged by editors and agents (not one but three). What a great way to get your name in front of the people who can help your career.
The first place entry in each category will receive a winner’s plaque, a gold Genesis lapel pin, and first choice for editor/agent appointments at the 2012 ACFW National Conference, plus one hour of telephone mentoring time with a published author. The winners will be announced at the 2011 ACFW Conference—the 10th anniversary for our conference. The finalists in each category will receive a certificate and silver Genesis lapel pin. Check out the contest here.
ACFWs Carol Awards
For published writers, there are the Carol Awards, a great place to showcase your book. This is the first year the Carol Awards has been open to Christian fiction writers who are not members of ACFW. Also this year we are including booksellers and librarians as judges besides ACFW members. Finalists will be announced at ICRS in Atlanta in July where there will be media coverage, with winners being revealed at our conference in September. Check out the contest here.