We are delighted to announce the 6 finalists in our exclusive Audience-with-an-Agent contest. We were pleased with the participation of both American and Canadian authors, representing a variety of genres, and loved poring through the chapters and synopses -- to play the role of agent and editor for a brief time. It was difficult to choose the 6 finalists, and we took our responsibility very seriously. We thank you all for your entries and wish you the best in your writing endeavors.~
We also thank agent extraordinaire Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Agency, who will read the finalists' submissions. This is an incredible opportunity for unpublished authors, and we thank Wendy and Janet Grant for their participation in this contest. Janet will read the finalists' entries in our next Audience-with-an-Agent contest set for the spring of 2010. So get your manuscripts ready and watch our NovelMatters blog for contest information.~
And now, the finalists are (in alphabetical order) ...
Broken Arches, Jean Knight Pace
Disenchanted, Janet Ursel
Kindred, Lori Benton
The Remarkable Love of Tony Campello, Connie Brzowski
The Watchman, V.B. Tenery
When Valleys Bloom Again, P.J. Davis
We offer our heartiest congratulations to each of our finalists!~
And now a word from Wendy ~
I have the distinct honor to be guest blogger on Novel Matters today in celebration of the closing of the Novel Matters Audience-with-an-Agent competition. Soon I will be receiving the final entries.
Let me say a few words about contests first. There are many who refuse to compete -- whether it is in a baseball game, a beauty pageant or a writing competition. They'd argue that competition is fundamentally damaging. Yeah, well ... good luck with that. We live in a world with competition for almost any valuable spot. If you want to become an actor, an athlete, a musician or even an astronaut you're going to be up against stiff competition. The same with that job you're hoping to land. If life were simpler maybe competition wouldn't be necessary, but the reality is that if you are seeking to be published, the competition is intense.
By sending your work to a writing contest you're saying, "I'm ready for the competition. Put my work up against my fellow writers' work and let's see how it fares." Bravo! That's the kind of attitude it takes to compete in this industry. And guess what? It's exactly what happens when your published book comes out. It goes to the bookstore shelf with all other books that made the cut and begins to compete for those few book dollars in the reader's wallet.
It goes without saying that judging a writer's work is subjective. It's not like grading an algebra test. One story may take a grand prize from one judge and not even make the cut with another. The same thing happens with reviewers after you are published. That's why, when you are starting out, you want to get your work in front of as many eyes as possible.
For those of you who entered and did not final: You are still winners. The bloggers of Novel Matters are some of the finest writers in our industry. They are influential and well connected. They've read your work and they'll be watching you. It's part of getting your name and your work out there. When you are published you'll find that they will be amazing cheerleaders for you. The competition was tough, but you offered your work for critical review. Huzzah!
For those of you who made the final cut: Congratulations. I look forward to reading your work. I'm going to treat myself to a venti Starbucks and set an afternoon aside to read your entries. I hope I'll be able to give you some valuable (albeit subjective) comments.
And if among the entries I see something I just can't put down -- something that seems commercially viable, told with a compelling voice -- I'm going to ask for more. Representation is based on far more than just a winning entry, of course. For me it's about a combination of the book and the writer. We represent writers for a whole career so it's akin to falling in love for a lifetime. I love what Henry Blackaby recommended in Experiencing God -- you look for where God's already at work and you come alongside. That's my philosophy for signing a new client. If I see God already at work in your writing and in your life, I want to be on your team.
So congratulations to everyone who entered. I'm honored to be part of the process. May God continue to bless the work of your hands.