Friday, October 8, 2010

If We're So Busy, Why Do We Judge Contests?

I had a writer ask this a while back and I am finally getting around to answer this one. Now I have to admit, I certainly can't answer for the other agents and editors out there, I can only provide my point of view on this one. I do have to say, I have, like many of you, questioned why some of the agents out there judge contests. From some of these people, they openly say that they never acquire from contests. Makes a person wonder?


I judge contests for several reasons. The first, and really primary reason for doing so comes from one of the missions I created for myself why I opened Greyhaus in 2003 - I believe in education. I want to make sure I can find a way to get out there and really help writers succeed. While I might not sign that author for representation at Greyhaus, I might be able to assist that writer with finding the right hope with another agency and hopefully with a publisher. When I judge, I provide critique for those manuscripts that have made it through the tough gambit of those preliminary rounds. If something doesn't work, I want to make sure I pass on that tidbit of information to that writer. While it is only one person's perspective on the writing, it is feedback. I should note, this is also the same reason that I avoid those form rejections and provide at least a little nugget of information as to why I passed on a project.

The second reason is that I do hope that I will find a great project out there. I will admit that in all of the years of judging, I have only found 2 and only 1 of those signed with me (go Australian authors!) but I still hope. This is what you as writers were hoping for when you entered that contest. You had your sights set on getting a manuscript in front of an agent or editor that you wanted. You get that with me.

Yes, I have to admit that the life of an agent is very busy. Since January, I have received over 1300 romance and women's fiction projects for consideration. I think that is pretty amazing. Remember, this is all I represent so that number doesn;t count projects that simply weren't what I acquire. Regardless, that is a lot of time. But the work I can do for those writing chapters, in my humble opinion is equally important.

So, I continue to judge. I continue to search for that next great author. Who knows? It might be you.

Have a great weekend.


1 comment:

  1. I recently held a contest on my blog judged by an acquisitions editor who was delighted to find one of the cleanest, most polished, and exciting projects to come across her desk in a while. Contract was offered and accepted. Happy story!