To Enter or Not to Enter...
Written by
Jessica Brooks
August 2009
Written by
Jessica Brooks
August 2009
There are a few contests coming up in the next few weeks, and I'm seriously thinking about entering two in particular. Obviously, the chances for winning these are slim to nothing, but I am hoping, if nothing else, it can be a great learning experience for me. Plus, I won an online contest the other day (it had absolutely nothing to do with writing, just entertainment stuff - check out their site here) and thought maybe my luck will stick around just a little bit longer and help me out with these contests as well. I'm figuring it doesn't hurt to try. The first one, which is a scholarship to the Backspace Agent-Author Seminar in NYC (you can read all about the contest here), requires you to send in the first two pages of your ms. Pretty simple, right? Contest number two states you must send in 20 pages of your ms (a little more details can be found here). The 20 pages can be taken from the beginning, the middle, it doesn't matter - pages from wherever the author chooses. Which at first I thought was really neat, because I have a few specific parts that are my favorite. The problem with the second contest is - the pages I would love to submit are areas in the story line that would totally and completely give away the plot. (And who wants to give away the plot of a story that is *hopefully* going to be published eventually?) If you had the option to spend money on just one movie ticket, and someone told you all about the highlights and best parts, and maybe even the ending of a specific movie, would you still go see it? I don't think I would. Most likely I'd pick a different movie to watch - one I would find entertaining and still suspenseful. So that is my dilemma. Contest number one will just require polishing my first two pages, and making sure I'm done with the ms by September 4th-ish. Oh - and writing a darn good query letter. *insert butterflies in my stomach and most likely lots of hair pulling here* But contest number two is the one I really want to enter - only I can't decide what to do about the whole page thing. Help.

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  • Nina Weber

    Sunny, the class (?) you teach sounds very interesting. I looked at your website and also googled the title but could not find anything about it. Is this something still in planning stage? Or was google just too discreet?

  • Sunny Frazier

    Jessica, I'm a contest junkie, have over 30 awards under my belt and I teach WRITE TO WIN: GUERRILLA TACTICS FOR REVOLUTIONARY WRITERS.

    Okay, those are my creds on the table. I have a blog coming up later on this site all about contests, the whys and why nots. Contact me at and I'll forward the blog to you.

  • Jessica Brooks

    Nina, thanks so much for your input. You make a very valid point. I guess I just need to learn to let's going to be hard though! And I fixed the link issue - silly me - when I transfered this blog over from my blogger account I didn't think twice about the links not working!

  • Nina Weber

    * to take your content down, that was supposed to be

  • Nina Weber

    I wanted to let you know the links are not working (at least for me).

    As for your question: I would not think it is a problem to give away the "best parts" on that contest. Maybe I understood it wrong, but for spoiling the fun for a reader (and the booksale for you), it would require that future reader to google you and/or the book title and to find that info. Which, if you look at publishing, will be a few years in the future, I would guess. Publishing houses here at least (Germany) are currently working on their programs for 2011/2012, the ones for 2010 are already filled and authors found.
    And finding that info would probably also depend on the publishing house using the same title you use now as working title. Otherwise, somebody could only google your name - and would hopefully find lots of good internet content for you among the first hits, and not go hunting down to the small stuff.
    I honestly never look around the internet to see if I could find something online that one of my fav authors posted somewhere. If I like someone a lot, I go and look if she/he has a website. And what other internet venues of hers/his they announce on the website.
    Using your example: If you heard about a new movie, would you google the name of the writer to see if she/he posted snippets somewhere?
    If you are feeling uncomfortable with it by the time the book is published, you could still tell the people running that contest-site to your content down.