Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Writing Contests - when you don't win

One thing editors always tell me - enter your book into contests. Find out what you're doing well, what you might improve on. And if you win, its a feather in your cap.

Last year, I made the rounds with COOKIE THERAPY, and I thought I'd share with you what it looks like when you don't win. The feedback overall was very positive, and my reviews have also been pretty great (thank you to all my fabulous readers!). While I'm not posting this week to brag on myself (after all, I didn't win these contests), I thought you might be interested to see what kind of feedback we get from judges.

I made it into the semifinals of Publisher's Weekly's BookLife Prize for Fiction.  This is what they had to say:

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10
This captivating, heartwarming contemporary is perfect blend of romance and poignancy as a couple effectively addresses the aftereffects of tough choices from their past. Timely and relatable topics elevate the story above ordinary. This well-crafted novel is supported by deftly crafted secondary characters, small town charm, and consistent pacing, while sensitive issues are handled with grace. While this book works very well as a standalone, readers will be interested in reading the entire series.

The Writer's Digest Ebook awards came back with these remarks. I'm not sure what all the percentages are about, but the comments made me feel like a winner anyway.

I like this cover boy so much better than all the ripped ab covers. Much more original. Pretty funny opening! Kind of sad, too. Poor old lady. I appreciate the brevity of your backstories (Audrey, 11%). You’d be amazed how many authors get stuck in those things.

His job provides a lot of adventures and opportunities. Good choice, 21%. “If you’re going to kick me in the balls, I’d say no.” Ha! 21%. ... Interesting sidenote, this passage about dealing with death as part of his job. Very thoughtful. 39%.

“Damn that man and his adorable child.” 48%. I love her cynical trains of thought. “One more person who would be disappointed.” 60%. You’ve done some good research into firefighting techniques, 68%. Kind of interesting, this thing about Dad being a ladies’ man, 76%.

...Shannon is an intriguing sort of villain, 92%. You’ve worked some provocative subplots into your story. Excellent job. Really enjoyable.

I think editors like the contest thing because it provides feedback, something all authors need/crave/ desire in order to do better and sometimes just to keep going, something reviews are also valuable for. Not all contests provide such thorough feedback!

Meanwhile, I'm plugging away on Epitaph 3 so that I can have it ready for you by the middle of summer. Epitaph 2 is with the editor and on schedule for an April release. Have you read Epitaph 1? Thumbs up or thumbs down on the new series?

And oh, hey. I hang out with a bunch of authors over at Booklover's Bench, and we're celebrating our "friend-aversary" with a giveaway. Want to win a tablet?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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