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Because the truth is, yes, contests are exciting and yes, they are absolutely wonderful opportunities that have lead to many writers landing agents or publishing contracts. But there are a couple questions you’ll want to ask yourself before entering a pitch contest:
- Is my manuscript polished? No really, be honest with yourself. These contests are for writers who are ready to query, or already are querying. If you’re not ready, then you won’t be doing yourself any favors by submitting early. Remember, you only get one first impression—don’t you want yours to be the very best it can be?
Side note: if you see a contest coming up and you’re tempted to rush through your edits so that it’s ready on time—don’t. Take all the time you need to make your manuscript as good as you can possibly make it. There will always be another contest, but as I said above, you only get one first impression.
- What can I get from this contest? Different writing/pitch contests have different prizes and goals. Some put your pitch in front of agents and/or editors, some provide winners with critiques and some do both. Make sure you understand what the aim of the contest is, and be sure you actually want the prize. If, for example, the winners have their pitches posted in front of agents or editors you aren’t interested in working with, then don’t waste the judges (and the publishing professionals) time by entering.
For fun, here are some pitch contests that (I think) happen every year, with estimated dates:
- Sun vs. Snow (coming soon—Winter 2014)
- Pitchmas/ Pitchmas in July (Winter/Summer 2014)
- Luck O' The Irish Pitch Fest (Spring 2014)
- The Writer’s Voice (Spring 2014)
- Like a Virgin Pitch Contest (Spring 2014)
- Pitch Madness/ #Pitmad (Spring/Fall 2014)
- Query Kombat (Summer 2014)
- Trick or Treat with Agents (Fall 2014)
- Baker’s Dozen (Winter 2014)
- Pitch Wars (Winter 2014)
- Secret Agent Contest (recurring)
- Mystery Agent Contest (recurring)
- An Agent’s Inbox (recurring)
- Pitch+250 Contest (recurring)
NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of contests, nor is their listing a guarantee that they'll be running again this year. This list is speculation based off previous years. Also, if you know of some contests I'm missing, feel free to let me know!
Have you entered any pitch contests? What was your experience like?
Thinking you might enter that pitch contest? Make sure you ask yourselves these questions first. (Click to tweet)
"You only get one first impression—don't you want yours to be the very best it can be?" #pubtip (Click to tweet)