What (writing contest) opportunities have you missed?

Before we begin, we want to let you know about a “doing indie together” opportunity in Hollywood, and that is the stock offering from Voyage Media. SkipJack has been working with Voyage for the last six months on a screenplay for one of our novels. We couldn’t be happier with the writers and producers we’ve partnered with. We’ve been so happy that author Pamela Fagan Hutchins invested in their stock offering. The offering closes June 2nd, so if you have an interest in seeing what Voyage is about, check it out in this live Q&A: http://offers.voyagemedia.com/live_webinar/. Or visit their fundraising page here: https://wefunder.com/voyage.media. The offering closes June 2nd.

Welcome to SkipJack author Rebecca “R.L.” Nolen guest posting today!

“Once”, my mother told me as she lay in the nursing home, “once, I wanted to be on television, on a game show. I sent in an application. It wasn’t long after that I spotted a limousine in the driveway. It backed up and drove away before I could get the curlers out of my hair to go see what they wanted. Do you think it was the game show host? Do you think they picked me and I missed my one opportunity because I was too slow to get out there to stop them?” I told her I didn’t think so, that the limo was likely lost. What concerned me most was that she was dwelling on what she thought were missed opportunities at the end of her life.

There are opportunities all around us. We make choices all day about whether to grab those passing opportunities, or not.

Once my two novels were published I wondered about entering them into contests. Having total strangers read and comment about my books was a little scary at first. Then reviews began to come in. I’ve found most people are kind in their remarks. But to enter my novel into a contest meant that someone, possibly on the other side of the world would read my book, and judge it.

Judge. It.

Come on, entering a contest wouldn’t kill me, even though I was scared. They may not like my novel but it is unlikely that they would then wait outside my house to beat me up. So I found a list of novel contests much like this one: http://www.newpages.com/classifieds/big-list-of-writing-contests  and submitted both my novels to various contests.

The thing about contests is this: you can’t win if you don’t step forward and enter. Sometimes those kind of steps are the hardest part of “what do I do now” after a book is published.

The other thing about contests I learned after the fact: Only enter contests that promise some sort of feedback about your novel. Contests where I received not a word, like the Writer’s Digest Novel contest, are not a good investment. Why enter a contest never to hear squat about anything? Most contests require an entry fee. I think for them it truly is all about making money. But I was young and ignorant so I entered five contests. Here’s a great article about contest profiteers. http://tinyurl.com/p79lt2y

I can’t complain too much. My thriller Deadly Thyme won a contest, and so did my middle grade fantasy The Dry. There were two other contests that I didn’t win that sent feedback, so I’m very glad I entered. The feedback was wonderful. One was with Chanticleer, and the other was The Wishing Shelf contest.

Winning a contest doesn’t guarantee better book sales, but it beats being poked in the eye with a sharp stick.Those contest wins go on my book pages, and they help me qualify for online e-book promotions. They give me invaluable credibility, as well as that feedback I mentioned.

The best thing for me these days is winning reviews from readers, and I think that my contest wins have helped me gain credibility with potential readers, and helped turn them into actual readers.

My mother was an amazing woman. That’s something I may not have believed when I was younger. Some of her daring feats I never knew of until I had to clean out her old letters and papers. When I look back on it, she was in her thirties in the early 60’s when she applied to be a contestant on television. Even if she never got to be on a game show, she was a winner because she sent in her name. Just like taking that scary step to enter your book in a contest, she took the scary step forward. Bravo, Mom!


I write children’s books as Rebecca Nolen and adult books as R.L. Nolen.61VmrvliHfL._UX250_

The Dry is a children’s book set between the freedom of slaves and the implementation of child labor laws. Children were virtual slaves in the coal mines. When a young boy goes in search of his lost father he ends up underground where giant insects rule.

Deadly Thyme is an adult psychological suspense set in a sleepy seaside village of North Cornwall where a girl has disappeared. The villagers are keeping secrets. One of them is deadly.
I write, illustrate, and care for loved ones in Houston, TX. I taught children, cared for an assortment of pets, and killed poisonous snakes in the wilds of Sugar Land for twenty-two years before moving into the big city seeking “hipster” status. As that goal remains sadly out of reach I continue to practice the fine art of balance at the local YMCA, and I walk the dog. At the moment I am in the room at the top of the stairs dreaming of England and cream-filled donuts.

Come visit me at http://rebeccanolen.com.

7 thoughts on “What (writing contest) opportunities have you missed?

  1. Larry Bone

    This is a really good post. Whenever you write anything you have entered into a contest whether or not it seems so at the time. These kinds of posts help us to get back into the battle or the contest of trying to write something worth publishing and being read. Thanks for the great post.

  2. Pingback: SkipJack Publishing | Readers’ Favorite Gold Medalist: R.L. Nolen

    1. Eric Post author

      And all of the writers we know need that reminder. Best of luck to you!

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