So, I've never entered a writing contest. Until last night. Last night I sent an entry to the North Texas Romance Writers Great Expectations. Not sure why. Perhaps because I plan to join our local RWA in another week. Perhaps because it's time to do something and I'm not sure what.
At the same time, an agent blogger I read talked about Amazon's breakthrough novel contest and knocked it, because the winner is "stuck" with a $15,000 advance and a publishing contract with Penguin. As an agent, he feels an author could do better with representation.
Now, I'm a newbie. I've only been rejected about ten times and I don't even have a manuscript "out" at the moment. My queries are all tucked nicely here at home for the holidays. I'm trying to meet people and make that personal connection to get the right agent because mailing out unsolicited queries seem like a waste of postage in today's environment. But, I could be wrong.
But if I entered Amazon.com's contest, and I won, would I "be content" with what Penguin has to offer. I thought about this, for about five seconds, and realized the answer.
A resounding "Hell, yes."
$15,000 isn't much. But it's more than I made at my job last year. It could pay for that extended vacation in France. It would not mean quitting my job. It would not mean a Mercedes convertible. But it IS more than I've made it writing thus far. I think the total from my fiction career weighs in at about $1500 and that's from editing other people's books, not mine.
And it's Penguin for God's sake! Penguin could offer me $20 as an advance and I'd treat the family to a meal at Sonic and we'd celebrate. We're not talking about a POD publisher or some small press. It's Penguin.
The alternative? To keep sending out queries to people I meet at conferences, networking in writers groups and with published authors, and reading and researching and praying.
That $15,000 sounds pretty sweet.
But one thing about the Amazon contest bugs me. Even before they determine the first round of survivors, they want the whole manuscript. This makes me very uncomfortable. First chapter, I'm okay with that. But the whole kit and kaboodle. To Amazon. Not happy with that.
Is it worth the risk?
I'm not sure.