I missed last week's blog challenge due to an unpredictable schedule determined by the needs and requests of my parents. I'm visiting them for a few weeks while Mom recuperates from hip replacement surgery.
So this week's writing prompt concerns writing contests. I've entered a few in my time. Just a few.
Around 30 years ago, I entered a national writing contest sponsored by Otherworlds magazine which I only saw sold at Waldenbooks. This was, of course, before the (public) internet and before my hometown lost all its "new book" bookstores. (We still have a couple of secondhand bookstores.) I submitted a short story. (Either "Silence" or "Dragonspawn," I can't remember which.) It won. Giddy with joy, I haunted that bookstore, waiting to see my story in print. I received a Dungeons & Dragons chess set--which I still have. Even my kids think that's pretty damned cool. And I received three D&D tee shirts. I still have (and wear) those, too. I never did see that Otherworlds issue with my story published in it.
That contest validated my ambition to be an author; it offered proof that I could write a good story.
Fast forward to 2017 and three more contests, two sponsored by Authors Talk About It and the other by Chanticleer. Unlike the old Otherworlds contest, these charged entry fees.
I didn't win either of them. ATAI loved my entry, The Falcon of Imenotash. I blogged about that. Their flattering review is linked on this website's home page and I use it in marketing. ATAI didn't like the cover design, which is pretty much what kept the book from reaching that coveted 5-star rating and being a real contender for the grand prize. Too bad.
ATAI's mixed review of Ulfbehrt's Legacy conflicts with reader reviews. They didn't like the cover design on that book either. Obviously, cover design ain't my forte as far as ATAI is concerned.
The entry fee for Chanticleer's contest was more than twice the fee for the two ATAI entries. I don't know what they thought of my book, because they took my money and I never heard back from them, not even with a critical review. That struck me as dishonest and a painful lesson learned. I won't be going back to them for anything. I have much the same criticism about many book review sites.
Subjective by nature, writing contests offer validation desired by the authors who win them; however, I prefer to receive validation from clients and readers. Those who appreciate my work will buy it.