About a year ago, I entered my first contest over at Cupid's Literary Connection. It was a Blind Speed Dating contest, which meant that agents anonymously bid against each other to read unpublished manuscripts by firing arrows (each agent has a certain amount of arrows they can bid with).
As an aspiring-to-be-published author, it was a dream scenario as the querying process (submitting the manuscript to agents) can take forever but with this set-up, I'd find out if there was any interest in only a few days. Ballin'.
And, to my utter delight, I made it into the finals! YAY! It felt amazing!! Then, I spent the rest of the week biting my nails down to the quick (haha, not really. I love my nails too much to actually bite them but you get my drift) and waiting to see if I'd get shot.
The bad news is that not a single arrow was fired at me.
Emerging from the contest without holes, I was seriously bummed. However, that's how it goes sometimes. I got some helpful comments, and did some revisions, but eventually shelved that manuscript and got started on another.
After a feverish few months of getting the first draft down, I spent the summer and fall revising it. Then, as some of you may remember, I got into another contest in November, which had a similar set-up to the Blind Speed Dating one. Alas, I didn't get any agent interest in that one either. However, I focused on the comments people left and revised some more. Then, I bought this ah-mazing book called The Breakout Novelist and, after flying through it, realized that my manuscript was lacking in a few areas and got down to serious business fixing it. Two months later, my manuscript is about one kazillion times stronger and I'm feeling more confident than ever.
*high fives self (mostly because there's nobody else around and my dogs don't get the concept)*
So now, I've entered my brand-spanking new first 250 words in Cupid's 2013 Blind Speed Dating Contest, along with my query (which is a short letter explaining the just of one's manuscript). It went live this morning and for the next few days, anyone can read it--and comment! YAY! And then, hopefully, one of three Bouncers will pick me for the final round, where the agents can fire arrows (that happens in late February).
If you're interested, click here to read my entry! From the perusing I've done so far, there are a lot of great women's fiction manuscripts so competition is fierce but I'm up for the task!
*crosses fingers to make it past the velvet rope*