Agent, Critique, Fiction, Novel, Query, Writing

What do I have to lose?

I entered two contests this week. One is where you enter your first 250 words for a Secret Agent to see if they’re hooked enough to ask for a partial. The other is where you enter just your first paragraph for the same prize. I don’t expect to win.

I entered because I’m not comfortable with my novel opening. In the first contest, I will get a comment from the secret agent and also comments from other writers. Maybe something said in those will spark an idea for revision.

The second one won’t garner me any comments, and I know the agent who’s sponsoring the contest won’t be interested, but you never know what other agents might peruse the entries. One of those agents just might find enough intrigue in my opening paragraph to contact me. It’s all about getting your work out there, right?

I’ve had my doubts, my “what if it’s garbage” moments while writing this novel, but not now. I know it’s good. I know a good portion of readers would enjoy it. I’m just having trouble selling it in my query letter. But I’ll get there. Until then, free contests can’t hurt.

It’s too late to enter the Secret Agent contest, but Nathan Bransford is taking entries until Thursday at 4pm Pacific Time. What do you have to lose?

26 thoughts on “What do I have to lose?”

  1. I love free contests! And, great news on your feedback so far in the Secret Agent contest.

    I also think a little “what have I got to lose” juice can’t be all bad. My motto this past year has been “why not?” That has gotten me through a couple of writing classes, a few published pieces, and several months of blog posts (complete with comments, to boot).

    Good luck on both contests!


    1. Well, yeah, go for it. Shake things up a bit. Really, if there’s nothing to lose, why not?

      Well, the comment count on MSFV is now 7-3, but I know my book is not for everyone, so no big deal.


  2. On Nathan’s contest:

    It’s amazing that last year he had 1300 entries and this year is double that, likely triple that before the day is done.

    What happened? Why is there so many more? I liked it better when the competition was merely stiff, now it’s more like the chances of winning the lottery are greater. I don’t like crowds. 🙂

    (All this ranting from someone who has not entered and may not enter. But hey what do I have to lose, right?)


    1. Yeah, like I said to Kayla, I have to not think about the numbers. I also can’t read those entries because too many of them make me look at mine and want to cry.


  3. Yay! Good for you for entering. My opening of DeCo might feel too hooky, but , oh well.

    Most of the entries aren’t competition, in my opinion. There’s a few on every page (of 200) that I’d consider as finalists, if I were to judge.

    Good luck to everyone who’s entered.


    1. I’m sure some of them were disqualified for obviously being more than an opening paragraph, though you can’t blame them for trying to get Nathan to read more.

      Good luck on your entry.


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