Friday, March 16, 2018

The contest prize is editor consideration. You said "agents first" Should I enter?

Yesterday I discovered an award/grant from SCBWI: Work in Progress Grants
I meet all the requirements and my WiP meets the requirements. The only thing I need is a 250 word synopsis, and I should be able to drink enough liquor to sufficiently dull the pain to write one in less than a month. So I'm interested in submitting. The deadline is March 31.

However, the information includes the following:

"Award: The works submitted by winners will be made available on a secure webpage and presented to a hand-selected group of editors for their consideration. Although this is not a guarantee of publication, the opportunity to have your work presented to acquiring editors, along with an SCBWI endorsement, is a unique opportunity."

Remembering all of your previous warnings about not submitting directly to publishers/editors if we want an agent, should I NOT submit my almost-ready-to-query WiP to this particular opportunity?

SCBWI is a very reputable group; I encourage everyone working in kid lit to join and avail themselves of the resources there.

This award does NOT fall under the "don't send to editors before agents" rule.

The reason is you are not submitting your work. They're reading contest results.

The difference seems minor, but it's important.

When you get an agent for this work, you'll mention that you entered/won this contest and that some editors saw the manuscript.

If an editor reaches out to you after seeing your work, you alert the agents you're querying with that news. You tell the editor you're agent hunting.

Bottom line: An editor seeing something is not the same thing as a submission.

Good luck with your entry!


AJ Blythe said...

Good to know (I assume this extends to novels as well). Best of luck to you, OP.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

As always, clear, concise and encouraging.
I love this place.

Amy Johnson said...

OP: Hope the contest goes great for you, and hope to read your books one day. I love reading and writing kidlit!

Kathy Joyce said...

Good luck OP! Sounds like a great opportunity.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Good to know the difference. Best of luck, OP!

Donnaeve said...

"I should be able to drink enough liquor to sufficiently dull the pain to write one in less than a month."

Haha! That was a good one! It is hard to write a synopsis, yet with this opportunity shining down upon your head, it might actually be easier than the norm because this award is such a huge incentive!

Good luck to you!

Donnaeve said...

And I have used my quota of "!" for the day.

Julie Weathers said...

OP, I don't recall the man's name, I could look it up, but he was a keynote speaker at Surrey. Anyway, he wanted to submit his little book to a prestigious contest. His agent told him it was a waste of time. His friends told him it was a waste of time. He had to drain his bank account to have the number of copies printed to submit for the judges to read and at the last minute, he decided they were all right, he was being a fool.

He raced or tried to race down to the front desk to grab the entry envelope before the mailman got there. The elevator wasn't working so he zoomed down the stairs. He got there just as the mail truck was driving off. He chased it like a rabid dog for a while, but couldn't catch it and resigned himself to his fate. He had just made a massive fool of himself.

Then he got a notification that he'd made the shortlist. Oh, joy. Everyone rejoiced, but he was up against some heavy hitters that year and they would take it. He went to the awards dinner with his wife because she insisted. He didn't write a thank you speech because he wasn't going to win.

"Huh, I won. I don't know what to say."

"Here, read this speech, dear. I wrote one for you. You'll be thanking me for being so supportive."

It really was a marvelous story and made all of us who think we don't have a chance realize we really do. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Enter the contest. What a great opportunity. Don't fret about it. Once you enter, put it out of your mind and move on to whatever else you're working on.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like an excellent opportunity!

*googles to find out more, herself*

Er... I mean... best of luck, OP!

Lennon Faris said...

OK, good to know! thanks for post, Janet. Good luck, OP!

Sherry Howard said...

Good luck! I’m a devoted SCBWI member. They are a wonderful organization if you write kidlit. You’ll connect with other writers, attend quality conferences, and be kept up to date with publishing opportunities. It’s a mus-join organization for writers of kidlit.

John Davis Frain said...


According to the late, great Elmore Leonard, you're way over quota. Your penance: You need to go write another 99,100 words now. Then you'll be on the proper pace. We'll leave you alone now--you're busy.

(Keep writing, everyone else, even if you haven't vommented exclamation points.)

Steve Stubbs said...

It doesn't take a month to write a synopsis. There are some great sites that tell you how to do it. Some agents require one, so I did mine in an hour. The hard part is writing the original story. Once you have that and you understand what is critical in a successful synopsis, there is nothing to it. Easy peasy.

You were right to ask the question, and many thanks to Ms. Reid for answering it publicly so the rest of us can benefit. Good luck!

Claire Bobrow said...

I love SCBWI. Trying not to use exclamation points, as I am a serial offender in that department. Don't let my use of less-enthusiastic punctuation fool you.

Anyhoo, I entered the WIP Grant contest last year, as well as the Late Bloomer Award contest. Came up with nothing, but it was worth a shot. I've thrown my hat in the ring again this year. Good luck to you, OP.

[Art note: multiple exclamation points and happy face emojis follow the word "OP"]

Amy Johnson said...

Funny coming back here this afternoon and seeing all the exclamation point talk. This morning I was trying to decide which of the two sentences in my comment should get exclaimed. Oh no, now I'm thinking I should have gone with the other one. This might be worse than the optional comma.

BJ Muntain said...

Exclamation points are allowed and expected in comments, because you're informally speaking among friends. It's like using bad grammar in dialogue - that's just the way some people talk.

Heck, among young people, using periods in a text message makes you sound untrustworthy. Go figure.

But I'll always remember Terry Pratchett's view - mentioned a few times in the DiscWorld series: Lots of exclamation points is the sign of an unstable mind.

We're writers. We are, almost by definition, not stable.

On topic: A friend of mine used WattPad to put her work up in front of a lot of people for critique, etc. An editor from a medium-sized British press saw her work and offered to publish her. She's enjoyed working with that press for several years now, and has been fairly successful.

The Sleepy One said...

AJ, there are multiple divisions in SCBWI's Work In Progress Grant (novels, including separate YA, MG, and chapter book categories, picture books, illustrations, nonfiction, and a category or two I'm forgetting). My friend won the PB category one year. It's a great program, and free, provided you're a member of SCBWI. Plus the submissions are all electronic now, so no postage/printing costs. Clearly, I'm a fan.

Steve Stubbs said...

Re the exclamation point discussion. Someone might find it amusing that in the computer world an exclamation point is known as a bang. I like bang better because it is one syllable instead of five.

Also, a pound sign (#) is known in the computer world as a sharp. Apparently some of the original developers of UNIX were musicians. That is one syllable instead of two. The sharp-bang combination (#!) is used in script files and is where the word "Shabang" comes from.

OK, OK, I just said someone might find it amusing. I did not say it would be overwhelming.

Best wishes for a great weekend to Ms. Reid and everyone else here.

One Of Us Has To Go said...

I'm confused about this exclamation point discussion. Somehow I am lost on this, maybe it is a wooden creature worry? (Hm, one Reider explained the wooden-worry-thing to me today but I'm not at the computer right now where I read it - I've forgotten the correct words but remember the meaning). Maybe I'll find the exit from this forest ;).

Maybe just don't worry so much Amy Johnson!? Because I don't want to start worrying about this now, either. There is no exclamation point police on this blog, is there?
Yes to BJ Muntain, cause we're all friends here :) !!!!!!

OP, I wanted to say that you maybe shouldn't worry if you don't get your synopsis done in an hour. Some people say it's at least as difficult or even harder to get the synopsis right, rather than the actual story. It depends. I took 2 or 3 days until I called it done. It's okay :)!

All the best to you, OP!

Panda in Chief said...

I think this falls under the category of something I heard in a class on business practices for visual artists.

"You should always submit your work for any reputable contest, grant, or commission. You may not win, but you never know who will see your work and remember it down the road."

Also totally agree with Janet (well of course I do!) about SCBWI. It's the bee's knees. And also the pandas too! Happy belated National panda day to all.