Contests are always a great way to get your book not only seen but respected by publishing industry professionals and peers. There are all kinds of contests out there for authors, both published and unpublished. If you are an unpublished author, you should look into this opportunity and submit your work. In fact, one of my first introductions into the writing world was through a blog contest. It was a very simple, short story about my special needs son who sold the most popcorn in his Boy Scout Troop, proving how sheer determination can perpetuate even the perceived weakest among us. I won $500.00. Wow! That's a lot of money for about 250 words and not much time. I didn't even tweak the story much as I recall. Just submitted it online, a very simple process. Winning this little known about contest helped jump start my writing career and gave me the needed confidence to keep pursuing my craft.
After laboring for years over "Where Two Rivers Meet," my first-ever historical fiction romance novel, I finally got up the courage to submit it to publishers and agents. I actually did get an agent to pick it up at one point, but that failed to produce any fruits for my efforts. Much disappointment lingered over two more years of editing and lots of money spent. I finally decided to discontinue my contract with this particular agent since I didn't feel they were doing anything with my book. This action left me hanging, not knowing what to do next. I kept on submitting, but with few responses. Most of them were the standard rejections, but one in particular was quite extensive and critical of my writing prose. This left me devastated as this particular editor (not well-known, small press) did not seem to have anything nice to say about the book at all. She only hounded on everything she found wrong with it. And, this came after months of expensive editing. Needless to say, I fell into a deep depression, feeling as though I couldn't write at all. What in the world was I thinking? Who did I think I was? Perhaps I was never meant to be an author. Thank God, one editor's disparaging words is often times another editor's treasure. I decided to take one last stab at it and submitted my title into the Frasier Contest, which is sponsored through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Low and behold, my book actually placed and won a Bronze medal. This was the shot in the arm I needed to regain my confidence for writing. I finally secured a contract with a publisher and my book is now available to the general public and nominated for the Inspys Award. So the story here is, don't let one bad rejection stop you. Keep trying and keep submitting, especially to contest. You just might get surprised. Go for it!