I finally bit the bullet and submitted a small part of Shelved for critique by a professional Literary Agent and Editor.
I’ve had my eye on the Colorado Gold Writing Contest for months. It entails submitting a pitch that’s 50 words or less, then the first 4000 words of your manuscript, followed by a complete synopsis at 750 words or less.
I’m entering more for the critique than the hopes of winning. No, really. I’m just coming off of a pretty brutal beta reading adventure that led me to completely rework the plot and rewrite the first three chapters after the results came back. I also had a Shelved-related anxiety attack that almost put me out of commission for several days. So, winning is not the idea here.
My category is Young Adult Mystery, and the judges are Trish Daly, Associate Editor, William Morrow/HarperCollins (a big 5 publisher), and Melissa Jeglinski, Agent, The Knight Agency.
Although it takes a long time to get the critique back (mid-August), there are several really neat things about this contest:
- It’s for unpublished authors only (self-published is allowed)
- You don’t need a complete manuscript (I have one, but it needs work)
- It forced me to write a synopsis, which helped me restructure my book
- You can pay for a critique by industry professionals, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg
- You receive a copy of the judge’s scores and comments
- It’s limited to 200 entries, which is important to me for a few reasons:
- The pool is smaller, and with all of the categories, this increases a new writer’s chances of success
- The quality of the critique and judging will be higher
I’ll report back on the results in August. Until then, I’m taking a short vacation from Shelved. I’ve spent 186 consecutive days working on it with only 4 days off. It’s time to step back a bit and read other people’s books for a change.
(image credit: http://danlangendorf.com/writing-casual/)