Friday, August 23, 2013

An Anchor in Cyberspace

Now that I’m writing for the middle grade market, I find that the great RWA contest circuit no longer works for me. Fortunately, the Internet is saving me from the sense that I’ve flown into a black hole and become. . .lost in space.
60s TV's Lost in Space was set in. . .1997!

Here’s a roundup of online contests and pitch opportunities I’ve discovered that go beyond the traditional (and valuable) chapter-sponsored romance contests like Southern Magic’s Linda Howard Award of Excellence for unpublished authors.  
  • Petit Fours and Hot Tamales is a group blog that includes a couple of Southern Magic members. Thanks to that connection, I found out about their annual Recipe for Success Write-Off, a month-long competition for the best paragraph of up to a hundred words. The grand prize: a 20-page--plus synopsis--critique from a literary agent. 
  • Former agent Nathan Bransford has a tremendous blog archive full of professional advice. He also sponsors the occasional Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Contest. Grand Prize: a partial manuscript, straight to an agent, no query. 
  • Savvy Authors presents regular online workshops, pitch events, and hances to develop community and online critique groups.
  • Anyone remember the blog run by an agent who called herself Miss Snark? The blog is no longer live, though the archived advice is still available. But an anonymous authoress known as Miss Snark’s First Victim (true story!) has created a wonderful writing community with regular contests and critiques. Coming up this fall is a contest I don’t want to miss--the Baker’s Dozen*. 
I haven’t tried the Baker's Dozen contest yet, but I intend to have a completed manuscript ready for it.  Entries run 250 words. Sixty entries make the first cut and go on the virtual auction block. Participating agents “bid” for the right to read the winning manuscript. Minimum bid? Five pages, all the way up to the full manuscript. Follow this link for the complete details. 

I believe in traditional queries and traditional publishing--and I’m game for novel ways to get in front of agents and editors. Do you follow any blogs or web sites that offer contests or critiques for unpublished writers, with possible agent or editor interaction as a prize? 

*Disclaimer: By mentioning the Baker’s Dozen this week in my blog post, I’ve qualified for a drawing for a logline critique. You can play to w*n, too, via blog, Twitter, or Facebook! Those of you who just got back from pitching at RWA know how important a logline is. Click for details on qualifying for the random drawing.  


Meda White said...

Great info, Chris. I did come up with a logline for my manuscript based on some advice from Michael Hauge. Here's a link:

RWA members can also access his online pitch class for a small fee. But as far as getting in front of editors and agents, you have more advice than I do. Thanks for that!

Chris Bailey said...

Thanks for the link, Media! Going there now. One of my favorite things about Southern Magic is sharing info.

Chris Bailey said...

Meda! I can spell your name! Gaaaaa!