Since the focus of this week is the Linda Howard Award of Excellence Contest, I wanted to share what it means to lose. The first contest I entered was the 2013 Linda Howard and guess what?
I’ve entered more contest than I can remember since then and haven’t won in any. Until this year and after a lot of personal editing, I’d only finaled in one contest; and after receiving the comments realized my placement into the finalist category had been because they needed a third book and there was no other choice.
Not very inspiring.
Even losing all those contest, including the Linda Howard, I received valuable advice that I’ve used to help make my story better. Honest comments from someone who doesn’t know it’s my story they read helped the most. Some of the best comments caused me to delete a lot of wordy information that slowed the story down.
Did it hurt? Yes.
Did the story improve? Yes.
My end goal has been to publish a book and whatever I have to do to improve my manuscript towards publication is what I will do.
Is it still my story? Absolutely.
So, with all that said about being an All Around Loser, it’s now 2016 (three years and four months later) and I’ve finaled in two RWA contest this year. Before you say, “Wow! Way to go!” Let me caveat that announcement. I entered two different manuscripts in two different contest (a total of 4-submissions): one paranormal and one contemporary. My paranormal finaled in one and as you’ve guessed, my contemporary finaled in the other.
After reading the advice from each losing story, I came to a profound revelation (actually I already knew this and you do too but now I have statistical proof). Opinions vary and the variety of those opinions are vast. What one person likes, another does not. One size does not fit all.
Am I discouraged or want to quit? No, not discouraged.
Maybe sad because I want to be a winner, but who doesn’t. I don’t plan to give up because I’m competitive by nature and it’s not in me to quit. Quitters never win. I’m not a ‘my glass if half-empty’ kind of girl. My scores are getting better, which proves to me that all the effort I’ve put into being successful has worked. In truth, I don’t consider myself a loser but a winner. I won fabulous knowledge on how to make my story better at an affordable price (much cheaper than hiring a editor to train me).
Here’s a little backstory (which I recommend that your weave throughout your story instead of dumping like I’m about to do; but hey, this is a blog and not a manuscript, so it’s acceptable for the sake of keeping things short and sweet): I began writing in 2013 with the dream of taking the world by storm like Stephanie Meyer did with the Twilight series. My goal was to write this awesome paranormal story and have it published within a year. You already see where this is going because you’re smarter than I was at that time. I entered the Linda Howard contest and basically was told thanks but keep trying. Inspired to tell this paranormal story, I joined my local RWA Chapter (Southern Magic) and began to learn how to tell the story so that someone would actually want to read it. One of these days, I will be published, just give me time.