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Enter a Contest to Test Drive Your Novel

I love contests! Back in my screenwriting days, I did pretty well with them. The biggie was winning a spot as a Disney/ABC Television Writing Fellow. But I was also in the Warner Bros. Writers Workshop, CBS Writers Mentoring Program, a finalist at Austin Film Festival, and a semi-finalist at Slamdance.

Am I bragging? Maybe a little bit. But these are my credits and they're on Google for anyone to see.

Now that I'm switching to children's/YA lit, I'm checking out the contests available in this genre. Because contests are a great way to test drive your manuscript. Of course, the manuscript has to be the absolute best it can be by the deadline. And for me, having a deadline was always a good kick in the pants to get a manuscript as sparkly as it could be.

I've noticed that there are a load of blog contests offered by agents or editors with a prize of a five or ten page critique. These contests have short entry times, usually a week, and contestants have to post about the blog's contest on their blogs or Twitter or whatever social media. It gives the contest blogger more traffic and the contestant the opportunity to win a great prize with no entry fee.

So I'm blogging about the "Dear Lucky Agent" contest which is open from March 31-April 14 for middle grade and YA manuscripts. The contest is offered by Writer's Digest and the top three winners get a ten page critique from agent Regina Brooks. Sweet!

Even if I don't end up being one of the lucky winners, at least I got that kick in the pants to spruce up the beginning of my manuscript. And if I do win, then that will give me an even bigger kick in tuchus to make the complete manuscript as brilliant.

Wish me luck!