Okay, okay, just kidding about that. I didn't kill Ceasar or anything like that, but I'm taking a break from my temporary March blog hiatus to write this post. And this post will be serious. Because I can be serious sometimes.
Here we go.
To the part of writing world that complains about online contests:
You need to stop whining.
And this is coming from the best place possible. I'm unagented, I have a book that I love, and I've entered a couple of online contests, only to not make it to the agent round.
Yes, I was bummed that it happened.
And yes, I was slightly jealous of the people and stories that beat me out.
But you know what? I got over it, because you can't win everything.
I've seen so. many. comments/tweets/angsty rants lately about how these contests are "run by the same people" and how these people are somehow "only picking their friends to move on to the agent rounds" because EVERYONE that runs contests is a part of some made-up "literary clique" and they OBVIOUSLY don't care about people who aren't their friends blah blah blah.
Well, let me just put that out there, as one contest entrant to another:
There ISN'T a conspiracy against you.
There's no "literary clique" and the people running the contests are some of the nicest, most generous people I've ever met (both in person and online).
They spend days/weeks/months organizing these contests FOR US so that, ya know, we can get an agent or editor to notice us.
I repeat. They do these contests FOR US. They go through the slush (Pitch Wars had more than 1,000 submissions), find agents to bid on our work, hold Twitter pitch parties, and provide us with an opportunity to get our work critiqued by others (and THOUGHTFULLY critiqued at that).
They get nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, from these contests, other than the opportunity to help writers find their dream agent/editor. They do this FOR US, they sacrifice their own writing time to read our work, to cheer us on, to HELP US, and what do we do?
We start bashing them online. Because we didn't get picked.
This needs to stop. It's ridiculous, and rude, and not at all in the spirit of the writing community that I know and love.
A community that wished me luck on my job interview yesterday. A community that celebrates when people get agents or book deals. A community that has been so supportive, lovely, wonderful, helpful, and, most of all, WELCOMING.
If you're a writer, we accept you. If you love to read, we accept you. If you love to smell books - well, we'll still accept you too.
So, please, please, please stop complaining about the very contests and people that are just trying to help YOU on your writing journey. If you're not getting picked, then maybe something's wrong with your first page, or your pitch, or your query, or maybe you just have to write a new book. A better book.
I understand the frustration. I know how difficult it can be to not get picked. But so do the people organizing and helping with these contests. Let's not forget that they're people too, and deserve to be thanked every once and a while because they're doing us all a huge favor by caring in the first place.
They care about us. Let's not give them a reason to stop.