1. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    Competition wins cited in queries.

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Francis de Aguilar, Jan 9, 2018.

    I have been reading a load of query letters recently as I struggle with my own. I notice quite a few cite competition wins in the credits.

    I have hardly any credits to boast, and it occurs to me entering the book into a few competitions could prove fruitful. Anyone got any thoughts on that?
     
  2. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I believe at least most of the prizes for novels come after publication and are usually submitted by the publisher. I'm not sure how they all work, but that's how the ones I know about work. What you want in the pre-published for stage for novels are grants and fellowships since those can look quite impressive. But don't worry about publishing credits or any credits too much. I don't think it's all that important to be honest. I sold my first short story to a place known for publishing big name writers who win prizes and awards. And then there is me with a generic cover letter and a dream. I actually left out any prior publishing experience because I didn't feel it was relevant or a big enough deal. And literally out of probably thousands, my story made it. If you're novel is ready for publication, I would start with that -- the agent or publisher search. Then maybe your book can win a competition or two. Good luck!
     
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  3. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    There are plenty of competitions for unpublished novels.
     
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  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    My bad then. I sure don't know everything.
     
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  5. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    Some of these competitions say work will be published on their website. I would worry that this may effect the publishability on the book in the future.
     
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  6. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Spitting .45 caliber grammar.... Contributor

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    In theory the merits of the book will (and must) stand on their own regardless of any outside accolades. Or any work that the author has done previously, assuming they're not a slam dunk bestseller or anything. If an agent/editor thinks the book will work they'll pick it up. If not, they're unlikely to be swayed because it won a contest. Don't think it hurts to mention it in a query, though.
     
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  7. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    My question is all about giving a query an edge really. Mind you, a win would be cool.
     
  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Do the queries mention that the novel being queried won a competition, or that the author won competitions with other work, like short stories?

    Not that I have a clue anyway. I'm just thinking that if it's "other work" you don't have to worry about endangering the novel.
     
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  9. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    It was mainly the submitted work. Read so many this last week they begin to blur. Clearly then there are competitions that one could win without compromising the work. The entry fees range from 0 to £25 so not an expensive way of gaining some traction and exposure.
     
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'd say look at it from the agents PoV - will you being a winner of said competition help them sell the novel (or from a publishers PoV will it attract readers) - if its something note worthy people have heard of probably yes , if its a minor who cares anyway competition then probably no

    From that it follows that its only worth mentioning (and therefore worth entering from this angle) if its a major competition that people have heard of.

    ( I don't do queries so this is just off the top of my head, I could be completely wrong)
     
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  11. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I agree.

    If you have competition wins or have had works published with reputable publishers then by all means mention it. But it won't give you enough of an advantage to spend all the time and effort it would take to research and enter competitions. Your time is better spent making the manuscript itself as strong as possible, and then working on your next project.
     
  12. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I definitely wouldn't mention stuff like "A short story won second place in CQ, an online magazine." (from your other thread) I can't see an agent or publisher caring about that and tbh it comes over a little bit desperate which could actually harm your credibility instead of building it
     
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  13. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah good point. What about the other minor credits?
     
  14. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    Okay, they're gone. Good for the word count though.
     
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  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'd have said the same applies to them - having poetry published isn't really germane to selling a novel (unless its a novel with a lot of poetry)

    As I said before i'm just talking from common sense - I've never written a query (apart from pitching articles to magazines which is a whole different thing) so i could be pissing into the wind

    ETA : I agree with carly - if a previous book had won the golden dagger award for crime writing, or if you were a pulitzer prize winning crime journalist or like that it would be worth a mention - but not minor stuff.

    I'd say look at what sells the book ... If I'm an agent who has to pitch this to a publisher what makes it different from the zillion and one other queries cluttering up my inbox

    Also what sells you as an author ....what makes you interesting to the buying public ? ( I'm talking about relevant stuff not like a 6th toe or a talent for clog dancing). I'd say that in this context thats your life as an addict and your journey to being an addiction counsellor .... if elements of the story are based on that journey or on your experiences its definitely worth bigging them up

    If you look at Urban Grimshaw - what made that more than yet another treatise on urban deprivation was that Bernard Hare aka Chop had actually lived the life and his good influence on the kids despite his own failings interested the reader enough to buy it
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
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  16. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    As has been indicated, it really depends on the competition, and if it's related to the manuscript in question (being queried).

    All competitions are not created equal. Winning the Hugo or Nebula award will carry a lot more wight, than being able to cite the Preditors & Editors Category for Fantasy & SF Novel, as a first place.

    And, if the manuscript is a bodice ripper romance that you're seeking representation for, a Nebula award, no matter how prestigious, will have diminished value outside of its Fantasy/SF realm.
     
  17. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    UK Spread The Word contest is free, prestigious, memoir-based extract of 5000 submitted within next 2 weeks for deadline.
     
  18. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    I got long-listed for Fish last year, and it's worth nothing, no-one [aside one guy] ever read the story, I lost £17. They're one of the 'big players' always pushed on CW/OU types.

    Short-listed, on the other hand, that's a different... ...
     
  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm sure it doesn't need to be said but for gods sake don't make up or create your own cites - in photography circles there was a guy who created his own professional organisation and awarded himself a fellowship level membership based only on his inflated ego

    That was in 2012/13 - 5 years later people are still pointing and laughing and taking the piss and his professional credibility is basically zero (which is a shame because he wasn't a bad photographer)
     
  20. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    How dare you, you MOUSE
     
  21. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    That wasn't aimed at you, Mattimus (Or at anyone here - but you can guarantee some daft twat has done or will do something similar in writing )

    ETA Johan Lehrer comes to mind - inventing quotes and lying about it comes close
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
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