Monday, February 8, 2010

Reasons to be cheerful

In the course of trying to get published, I follow loads of blogs related to publishing, by literary agents, publishers, and fellow authors. One of these is Miss Snark's First Victim, a writing blog by the mysterious Authoress.

Anonymous and unpublished, Authoress has nevertheless built up an impressive community of followers. And she must have some serious connections in the publishing world too, because every month or two she hosts a "secret agent" contest. This is where authors out there are invited to submit the first 250 words (basically the first page) of their completed novel to be critiqued by each other and by a mystery guest agent.

Let's be clear about this. Authors are forever hungry for feedback. And feedback from an industry professional is prized above all else.

So these contests are popular.

And Authoress limits entries to the first fifty received after she opens for submissions.

I've been looking out for these contests for a few months now, but each one specifies a list of genres accepted by the guest, and science fiction has not featured recently. So of course I was excited when I saw February's contest included my genre.

Submissions opened today at noon eastern time. That's 9am out here. I'm at work, but luckily no appointments. Email drafted and ready to send. Watch the blog for the post that confirms submissions are open. Don't want to rely on the clock, because the Authoress is the definitive judge of what "noon" is in the case, not necessarily what's on my computer, and anything arriving too soon will be disqualified.

There it is! Hit send. Wait. Wait some more. Go do some work.

Eventually get a confirmation, with a post number. I'm in!

Later looks at the blog showed that the fifty slots filled up in less than five minutes!

So, now my first page will be available for public ridicule critique. And by a real agent. Some of these contests have resulted in authors being signed up by the secret agents. That would be nice, but being realistic I'll settle for constructive criticism.

And we seem to have a resident hummingbird. We see it at the feeders pretty much every day we're around in daylight hours, so my guess is that it's there most days.

And the fish are still swimming.

Time for a celebratory curry (home-made, of course).


  1. Glad to see a fellow Sci-fi writer made it in. It feels like we're overrun with YA entries. :) Good luck to you!

  2. Thanks Jean. Did you make it too? You have to be so quick off the mark, I'm overjoyed to make the cut. I have found a few other sci-fi posts this time, but not many.

    Some valuable insight coming out from the experience too--harsh, but fair :-)

  3. I did make it! My first time in a SA, though I've done a few drop the needles on MSFV. I felt silly hovering over my keyboard, obsessively refreshing the screen for the ok to submit message, but I'm glad I did. :)


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