Back in my day…

When I first started hanging around twitter…

Let’s try this again. Back in 2011, I stumbled across Twitter and found Rachel Harrie’s Writer’s Campaign. It was amazing. I met so many people, people I still talk to.

In 2012, I heard of Operation Awesome, and then Brenda Drake’s first ever PitchMadness.

Back then, there weren’t many competitions (yet). It was easy to vet them, easy to see if the agents were suitable. These days – there are many. They’ve increased each year. This community is amazing. It gives, and gives, and then gives some more.

There are twitter pitch parties, amazing mentoring contests, first 250 contests, query contests, the list goes on. It’s really quite beautiful. Often agents otherwise closed to queries will participate, giving people the chance to query people they might not otherwise get the opportunity to.

The thing is, it’s easy to get caught up in all of these and sort of forget that they’re not the be all and end all. Contests, while fantastic, are not the only way to snag an agent. If you’re going the “traditional route” please don’t forget that getting the  agent is just a portion of the battle.

In your excitement at requests for material, and perhaps offers that come in in the wake of these contests, please make sure — for both your and the agent’s sake — that the person you’re considering to represent you/the person you’re considering sending your work to, is someone you truly want to represent you.

Decisions can be made in the heat of the moment, but it’s usually better to take the time and consider. The publishing industry is slow, it’s just how it moves. Regardless how fast the internet has made other things? Publishing doesn’t work that way. It can take a while to find the right agent, but the right one is worth it.

And if you don’t get requests or offers, don’t fret. That doesn’t mean a thing. Many agents don’t participate in contests. There’s a whole other world to query in the old way.

The point is that these contests are great and afford fantastic opportunities to querying writers, but never forget that there are other options.

Keep on keeping on. Write because you have stories to tell.

Don’t give up on your dream.