In the world of publishing, writers utilize numerous tools to advance our careers. The Internet offers a wealth of opportunities to promote and market our craft. E-zines, blogs, and social networks are just a few ways to spread the news of our passion for the art of writing. Contests also offer writers the chance for feedback from other authors to help improve their skills.
‘The Frasier Writing Contest,’ sponsored by My Book Therapy is accepting submissions from ‘unpublished members of the My Book Therapy Voices’.
‘We, at My Book Therapy, believe in the power of feedback to help writers grow in their writing craft! And one of the best ways to get unbiased feedback is to enter a contest. However, it’s not enough, sometimes, just to get a contest entry back…how do you take the feedback and go to the next level? Our vision is to help authors become PUBLISHED authors…..’
‘My Book Therapy, owned by award winning, best selling authors Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck have teamed with Tiffany Colter, National Writing Examiner and owner of Writing Career Coach to offer professional feedback for improve writing skills, and a chance to win a scholarship to one of the My Book Therapy’ writing retreats.’
Tiffany Colter, the contest coordinator for the event has kindly agreed to share in the following interview, the importance of contests and how they can benefit the writer.
Examiner: Ms. Colter, there are so many writing contest opportunities. Some have entry fees, while others do not. Are all contests equal?
T. Colter: No, all writing contests aren’t equal. It doesn’t really depend on whether or not they have entry fees. It’s a matter of what kind of feedback are you getting from the writing contest. Some of the free ones may not give you feedback, or there might not be scores. You might only have one or two people reading it, whereas the ones that have fees—of course there are larger prizes associated with those—but there’s also the large amount of feedback and the chance to have your writing in front of an agent or editor. I wouldn’t judge it based on whether or not it has an entry fee. Instead, when you’re trying to determine whether or not to enter a writing contest, look at whether or not they’re going to give you feedback, how many rounds of judging, how many judges are reading each entry, and those kind of things. Look at the cost to benefit ratio and determine if it’s going to meet your needs.
Examiner: Can you tell our readers what makes ‘The Frasier Writing Contest’ different from the others, who can submit an entry, are there any costs?
T. Colter: First of all the grand prize is a $500 scholarship to attend one of Susan May Warren’s weekend writing retreats, where you’ll learn about craft and develop it together with Susie in a small group of other writers. You get a chance to network. That’s a really great opportunity with a hugely generous prize.
There are three rounds of judging. If you make it all the way to the finalist round you have five to six people who have read through and commented on your writing. That helps give you a scope from people at various levels of their writing career. A scope of overarching issues that you may need to address. Also, on the score sheet we request judges point out the issues that need to be dealt with, but also what is the thing the judge most liked. You get definite positive feedback from it.
Anyone can submit an entry as long as they’re a member of the My Book Therapy Voices group. Now, this is a free membership. It doesn’t cost anything to join. The reason we do that is because we don’t want you to just enter something and then go off on your merry way. We want to help develop you as a writer, and by being a member of My Book Therapy you have access to the forums, to the chats, and to the other information that’s archived, that will help you build your writing craft and your marketing platform. That’s very important to us. We don’t want to just collect some money from you and send you on your way. We really want to help you develop as a writer.
The cost to enter is $30 to enter the Frasier. That helps offset the cost of buying the trophies, the finalists’ pins, the finalists announcement that we put out. We also create a press release, and covering all those other expenses of running a contest.
Examiner: What would you say to the writer who asks “Why do I need to enter any contests?”
T. Colter: There’s a few reasons. One, you get feedback. Two, it helps you work on deadlines. Three, it helps you develop a thick skin. Four—and I think this is the most important—as you get higher up you will start to get requests for manuscripts and requests for fulls, and you’re only going to get a few seconds of their time when they’re going through the slush pile. Even if it’s a requested manuscript. By entering contests you have a chance to get several pages of your manuscript read by agents and editors.
Examiner: Can you share how the Writing Career Coach can assist people?
Yeah, I’d love to. Susie runs My Book Therapy and she focuses on craft. I run Writing Career Coach and I focus on helping writers develop an income from their writing. Whether you want to be a full-time writer, which gets harder and harder these days, or you want to be a writer and you need to know how to get that great book in front of an editor or agent, and how to get the book marketed, how to create proposals and query letters. How can you create a platform even before you’ve published your first book that will get the attention of editors and agents. Really what I’ve done is I’ve learned how to develop a full-time living as a writer by doing a number of different things and I teach that to people.
I teach businesses how to connect with their target market through writing, and I teach writers how to connect to their readers through basic business principles. I work both directions. Susie and I work well together because she is great at craft. She’s a bestselling writer, she’s sold thirty books. Her Frasier contest focuses on developing the craft side of the writer. Susie recently created the Special Teams bloggers at My Book Therapy and as part of that team I come in and help people understand how to market, build their platform, how to structure their life as a writer. Really, when you come in to writing you hear a lot of writers saying “I’m on deadline, my kids are living on Cheerios now”. There are things that you can do so that doesn’t have to be your day to day life because that can begin to consume you. As you learn how to grow as a writer and see this as a full-time living, creating boundaries and time management are the things that I teach writers.
I teach you how to live as a writer. Susie helps you write a great book. While I do editing as well, I do it with helping writers get started and coaching them through it. What I really add to writers is once you have your craft in hand, let’s spend time thinking about how you’re going to build your platform as an author. How are you going to go to an agent/editor with this great manuscript and tell them I have this many hits on my blog and website, or I speak in this many places. Really you’ve got to have a great idea, great craft, and great platform if you’re going to get the eye of an editor or agent. Two out of three will work. Only one won’t take you anywhere.
I’m really excited about what the Frasier writing contest offers to writers because I am a writer. I love the partnership between My Book Therapy and Writing Career Coach to help develop writers in the whole sense and not just one specific area. If anybody has questions they’re welcome to reach me through Writing Career Coach.