Quick! Tell me who won that British talent show the season Susan Boyle lost? What about the winner of American Idol the season Jennifer Hudson lost? I don’t/didn’t watch either of these shows, but even I have spent money on work from these two ladies while I wouldn’t know the winners if they ran me over with their car. Why? Because winning isn’t always the best thing. Jennifer Hudson made liars out of the AI judges the next year by winning a Golden Globe, Oscar, AND Grammy, as well as starting a hotter than fire career. And do I need to tell you how well Susan did? Pre-sold the HIGHEST number of CDs with her first album.
I’ve seen writers get discouraged because they didn’t place in contests. So? Tell you a secret. When I first started, I took to heart that my writing wasn’t very good because I didn’t win in the OWFI contest. But, surprise, surprise! The manuscript that only placed second in ONE contest sold to Silhouette after only one rejection. Guess which meant more to me?
Now, I’m not saying don’t enter contests. Just choose wisely. Enter the ones that offer quality feedback or who have editors as final judges that you’d like to see your work. Take ANY placement as a small ego boost to keep you writing when things are going badly, but don’t let them be the judge of your writing. Just as not every editor will like your work, not every judge can pick out a seller. Stay true to your voice and your dream. I firmly believe EVERYONE could be a published author, but those who don’t make it are those who don’t stay true…and give up.
So where are you along the road? Or are you the winner no one recognizes…yet?