You know how they say you can’t win the lottery if you don’t play? That holds true for a whole lot of things in life. If you don’t put yourself or your work out there, how can you expect any recognition?
A couple of months ago, I submitted the first 25 pages of JACK OF HEARTS to two RWA Chapter contests. I got the scores back for one of them a while ago and had one really glowing set where the judge loved it. The other two judges were far more critical. So, I figured the other contest would come back with similar scores.
Surprise! It’s a finalist in the unpublished category for historical romance! The name of the game is subjective. But I’m still doing my happy dance over here. I have definitely realized a couple things based on the feedback. I can worry less about whether I have a “voice” or not (even if *I* can’t recognize it). And I still need to work on pacing issues.
One of the other things I’ve learned from contest feedback is that individual comments may or may not be accurate, but if several people say the same thing or question how you’ve worded or presented something… pay attention! It’s too easy to get wrapped up with the story you KNOW in your head and be unable to see what’s coming across from what’s on the page to brand new readers (who don’t already know and love you).
Anonymous judges are probably going to be kinder than random strangers reviewing your work on Amazon or GoodReads, so take a step out of your comfort zone. Take a chance on yourself and your work. Get some fresh eyes on that puppy — it might just open yours to what you need to tackle next to take your writing to the next level.
Keep your fingers crossed for me and JACK… the winners will be announced in early November!