So after reading several authors' websites I discovered ACFW and RWA. I joined. And then I discovered writing contests and critique partners. Then guess what I did? That's right. I entered some writing contests. Romance Writers of America have hundreds of different chapters and each chapter usually holds some kind of contest.
The first one I entered was ten dollars and called for the first three pages of my manuscript. I bombed it. Okay, maybe I didn't do horrible, but I didn't do great. There were three judges who critiqued my stuff and overall, I got some really good advice. So while I my writer's ego deflated for awhile, it is now recovered.
Plus, I vented to my critique partners (CPs). A little complaining always helps.
Then, the other night I got a long distance phone call. Turns out that the same manuscript placed third in a different contest. That contest called for the first fifteen pages. Woohoo! You can't imagine my screaming.
Because even though third place is not First, guess what? The prize is a review by an editor at a major publishing house! Yes! I entered these contests for unbiased, anonymous critiques of my writing. I never expected to final in one.
So now I'm scrambing to finish the last twenty pages of this manuscript so that I can go back and edit. Then I'll have someone read it for problems, then I'll edit some more. That way, if the editor likes it, I'll have more to show her. Tweaked and polished.
If you've never entered a contest, it's a good idea. But you have to have tough skin 'cause taste is subjective and not every judge will like what you write. But some will.
Okay writers! Any comments? Have any of you entered contests or thought about it?