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Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Times are Changing, But You Still Have Time

by Yvonne Anderson

For the first time ever, I forgot to change my clocks Saturday night for the time change Sunday.

The only consequence, fortunately, was getting up with my cell phone alarm at 6:00, staggering into the kitchen to turn on the coffee, seeing the clock on the microwave saying 5:00, and thinking Huh? Then I remembered: It's Daylight Savings Time.

It was disappointing to realize the microwave clock lied to me and I couldn’t go back to sleep for another hour. But I’m thankful for my self-adjusting cell phone alarm. Without it, my whole morning would have been thrown out of whack.

Speaking of times and seasons, this seems to be the season for writing contests. I keep seeing reminders from ACFW that the deadlines for submission to the Genesis and Carol Award contests are breathing down our necks.

Like the Genesis contest, Novel Rocket’s Launch Pad Contest: Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile is for writers who have never released a novel through a traditional publisher. It’s a way to gain experience in the submission process, to get some unbiased input on the opening of your book, and, if you’re a winner, to get a little attention for your work.

The contests are similar, but there are two big differences:

1) With the Launch Pad contest, the grand prize is this really cool blown glass rocket trophy,
something no other writing contest can boast, along with the opportunity to bypass the slush pile and get your submission into the hands of an agent.

2) The submission deadline for the Launch Pad contest is still a comfortable distance away. We have different deadlines, depending on the genre, but the first one isn’t until April 10. And that’s only for Suspense/Crime/Mystery/Thriller. If your story is in another genre, you’ve got even more time.

Some unsolicited feedback from people who participated in previous years:

Peter Leavell, author of Gideon's Call, recently volunteered: "I will preach it from the highest pulpit, the two mandatory contests are Novel Rocket and Genesis. I applied the feedback from both and entered Operation First Novel in 2011. Christian Retailing also chose it as the Best First Novel winner for 2013." 

This email came from UK writer Magda Knight, who entered two stories in the Middle Grade/Young Adult category in 2012: “At the risk of burdening your inbox I'd like to voice my appreciation of the incisive and immensely helpful critiques by the judges. I don't think I've ever had such pertinent and useful feedback. Absolutely game-changing. Please accept my thanks for setting up such a great competition. I may not have won, but thanks to those critiques I feel like I won anyway. Huzzah!

From two other past entrants: “I can't tell you enough how much it has helped me. Just getting my work out has been hard for me, because I usually don't receive any feedback. Both of the judges’ critiques were extremely helpful.”

“The comments were spot on. Some were very encouraging. It's given me new motivation to continue on. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

So how about you? The deadlines aren’t pressing yet, so you can breathe easy and often. Check out the complete rules. (Contest rules, that is, not rules for breathing.) And, if you’ve got a novel manuscript you’d like to share with us, give us a try!

Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world. Look for Ransom in the Rock, the third book in the Gateway to Gannah sci-fi series, to release this spring!


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