Contests Can Make a Difference

Diana Prusik was one of the five finalists in last year’s Operation First Novel contest. Though she didn’t win, she did get published.

“Participating in contests changed my life,” Prusik says. “I received opinions and suggestions from a few editors, judges, and even Jerry Jenkins himself (through a Thick-Skinned Critique session). I soaked up every piece of advice and did my best to apply them in revisions.”

Through the contest and the Writing for the Soul conference, Prusik gained the attention of Tyndale House, and her contest entry, Delivery, was released this year as part of Tyndale’s Digital First Initiative.

Professionals agree
DiAnn Mills, the Craftsman course mentor for the Christian Writers Guild and two-time Christy award winner, says, “Contests can get your name in front of agents and editors. However, the downside is that submitting an unpolished manuscript can tarnish a writer’s name.”

Christy Scannell, a Guild mentor and a member of the board of the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, says participating in contests can lead to additional assignments.

“Contests are an opportunity to publicize your skills and interests and to network,” she says. “My participation in contests has resulted in more freelance work and invaluable contacts.”

The caution
Julie-Allyson Ieron, a Guild mentor and author-speaker, points out that judging in contests can be subjective. Certainly there is good and bad writing, but when comparing good with good, a judge’s personal preference will make the difference.

“So enter, be thrilled if you win,” Ieron says, “but regardless, keep working with excellence and consistency. Keep building your credentials and your platform, and eventually you’ll see success.”

Enter to win
Why not enter Operation First Novel? You just might win. Every entry receives feedback that will either affirm your direction or help you recognize a problem area.

Operation First Novel is only open to Guild members. We’ve recently lowered the cost of membership and upped the benefits. Find out more and enter soon.

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