Friday, March 29, 2013

Having your cake... and eating THEIRS too.

You know what I love? CONTESTS! I've thrown a couple, participated in some, and watched even more from the sidelines.

Now that I have an agent, I'm pretty much permanently relegated to the sidelines, content to watch everyone else enter their shiny word babies. Despite not entering anymore, I still neurotically refresh the blog page announcements, hoping to see the names of people I know! Cheering friends on as they flail, and shake, and HOPE that this pitch, this query, that first page will garner some agent/ editor interest.

Because these contests are an AMAZING opportunity to get your work seen by someone who can make your dreams come true. And man, it can be hard to get in at all.

Whether it's rafflecopter with a binary grudge keeping you out; slush readers who didn't respond to your pitch; a submission window you missed, there are plenty of things that you are up against before you even get selected as a finalist.

And those don't include other people.

Other people with better pitches. Other people with edgier concepts. Other people with faster fingers, faster internet connections who fill up that sub window before your crappy laptop can even refresh the window.

You're up against SO MUCH.

And that's not counting GREEDY ASSHOLES. Writers who submit pitches for an unwritten manuscript just to see if it's worth writing. Writers who don't plan on submitting their work, but wanting free feedback about their work.

Writers who already HAVE agents.

Read that last sentence again. Because it's happened twice that I know of in the past couple contests.

*disclaimer* These aren't writers I personally know. But they were rumbled by an acquaintance of mine, and I won't put her in an awkward position by naming names here. Hopefully the offenders take this public shaming for what it is.

If you HAVE an agent, honey, you are being a HUGE, THROBBING ASSHOLE if you enter an agent-judged contest. I get it. It's exciting. You want to be a part of that! BUT HAVE SOME SELF-CONTROL! STOP being a FUCK-SHOVEL! THINK about what you are doing!

Maybe you didn't realize, but you are taking the place of someone who NEEDS that opportunity! This could have been THEIR big break, their path to a dream coming true, and YOU HAVE TAKEN IT FROM THEM because you just HAD to enter the contest, swept up in the excitement of it all. Wanting the free feedback from other agents/ people who read the pitches.

That is disgustingly selfish.

And I've seen this TWICE in the past TWO contests. But what makes me worry is that these probably aren't the only two offenders. Chances are there have been more that squeaked in there, stealing someone's place. EATING THEIR CAKE!

Writers - don't do this. Contests are an invaluable potential goldmine for getting an agent's attention. I myself found my agent from a contest. MY contest. But I didn't even enter my own contest because I thought that was douchey.

OH, how I WANTED to enter. But I exercised restrains and self control. I didn't want to take someone else's place. Block someone else's dream.

Because THAT would have been WRONG. Maybe not technically. But morally.

Writers, we need to support each other. This industry is FULL of landmines of self-doubt. Rejections. Subjectivity. Saturated genres. Agents closed to submissions. There are enough opportunities we miss out on without having to worry about others deliberately blocking our chances.

To those who have been Opportunity-Blockers, SHAME ON YOU. STOP DOING THIS!


  1. Come on, don't hold back... tell us how you really feel!

    But in all seriousness, I would have thought it was obvious that agented-writers shouldn't enter these!:0

  2. and what do you think it says to the agent of said author! If I were an agent and saw my author going hard at a contest like that, I'd drop them in a hurry. Apparently they're not happy with me. Soooooo.....

  3. I don't even understand the point! Most agents would be pissed if their client was out shopping their work around, right?!

  4. I can't even imagine what the agents of these people must be thinking. Imagine browsing around a contest, and seeing YOUR CLIENT's MANUSCRIPT entered there! It's like telling your boss that you're going to miss work today because you're going out on job interviews, just for giggles. Yeah, I'd fire your ass faster than you could say "reader feedback."

  5. Love it! Great post, as usual.

  6. WORD. Totes true. And sad that writers are not supporting other writers.

  7. I know of a couple of agented writers doing agent contests. It always leaves me confused and really has given me a bit of pause upon entering. I mean, you have an agent. That's what we are looking for - right? Why are you in the contest. Does your ego need that much stroking?

  8. I can't even believe people would do this! Sheesh! Give the rest of us a chance. =)

  9. Yeah, I saw one tweet like this "I'm agented but I'm entering anyway" and I was kinda like...wait, why? What's wrong with your current agent??? Or you're just entering for fun? The whole "fun" in this is reading other people's work. Everything else is a nerve-wracking grasping at something you don't have, and while I guess that's fun, it's more of a necessity than anything else. (Gotta get that agent!) So why would you enter if you don't need to??? Torture? To clog up the twitter feeds? Free publicity from people who are writers instead of from readers?


  10. And now they has an embarrassed.

    1. Lol! They sure do! *points finger* *passes dunce cap*

  11. Wow! Can't believe this is going on. Tips hat to you for shedding light on.

  12. Amen, sista. Preach! As an unrepresented writer, this shit makes me irate. (But then again, I'm a little overly sensitive. I won't even participate in PitMad because was I was lucky enough to be an entry in Pitch Madness. But that's just my own thing--my own way of stepping aside for others, so to speak .)

  13. Yes to it all. And especially to the agented writer and the writer who hasn't finished their ms. This is just wrong on so many levels.