Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Writing contest mania - what happened!

By Lucianne Poole

A sketch of a woman with glasses writing with a quill pen: Writing contest mania continues by Lucianne Poole.
Last-minute artwork by Lucianne Poole.
Have you ever been brutally disappointed?

I had hoped to start this post by saying something like "I won!" or "I have an agent!", but, as usual, life is neither so predictable nor cooperative.

It started with a writing contest

You may remember, I entered a popular online writing contest in November 2012 called The Baker's Dozen Agent Auction organized by Miss Snark's First Victim. I was ecstatic when I became a finalist.

Agent interest followed

The ecstasy continued when a well-known New York City agent bid on my entry, asking to see the first 20 pages. Interestingly enough, the same agent rejected the same novel two years ago, after I sent her a query letter.

Back to the drawing board

Unfortunately, history repeated itself when she decided again she didn't want to represent me, but she offered some useful feedback. More importantly, I got about 15 comments from the general public on my submission: the 65-word description and the first 250 words.

Feedback is gold

So why my keen interest in the public's comments? Because they may buy my novels one day.

Also, the description and first paragraphs are the most important. Think of how you choose a book. Chances are someone may have recommended one, or you've read a short description of the novel that's sparked your interest. You may even have read the first paragraph or so. If you're still interested, you'll buy the book or read it.

So I've tweaked my description and first 250 words based on the feedback. Thanks to anyone who visited the contest online and left a comment (real or imaginary).

Vampires on the horizon

Meanwhile, I've finished writing my vampire novella (I posted an excerpt called the Dark Office in November). I'm pleased to say that my mom read the whole thing in 45 minutes and liked it! This is saying something as she speed-reads two novels a day and skips the boring bits. A few others have kindly agreed to read the vampire story, then I'm going to pitch it directly to a publisher, and see what happens.

A New Year's wish
And to my readers; "fangs" for reading my blog. May your hopes and dreams come true in 2013!


  1. I'm sorry to read of your disappointment - believe me, I know the feeling of excitement around the request for a partial (and even for a full) manuscript that doesn't end well.

    But it truly is a huge compliment to your writing that you won the interest of a busy literary agent. Only a small percentage of manuscripts make it this far - really, it does you great credit! And in my experience, not many offer any feedback, so that's excellent.

    One of these days you will be published and I look forward to reading your published works! Buon anno for 2013!

    1. Molto grazie for the encouraging words - much appreciated. I recently learned that a couple of authors who successfully queried sent a minimum of 75 query letters. I've only sent out 25, so I better get back to it!