Saturday, December 12, 2009

Comp Results: The Saga Begins

Well, there's an absolute controversy brewing on the ihearts site due to the fact that the winner and runner up for Presents Modern are published authors. Now, as Jane pointed out, if they are not currently on contract with HM&B this not a rule violation. I will say that upfront.

However, having had two friends who entered Presents chapters, I understand why people are upset about it.

So, I'm not going into the right or wrong or fair or unfair. What I will go into is this: You don't need the contest.

The contest has given the winners an amazing opportunity to bypass the slush pile, which will save lots of time, trust me. But, as someone who didn't do well in comps (to put it mildly) and who made it through slush to The Call, I can tell you, it happens. Just because you don't place in a comp or get good comp feedback does not mean you don't have talent.

People have said on ihearts that the winners of the Presents category didn't NEED the contest. Well, no one NEEDS it. Not in any way minimizing what was won here, because trust me, getting an editor to work with you is huge. HUGE.

I got mine through slush. I needed more time to refine some things, but the editor saw the potential, even if it wasn't all the way there yet. She helped me get there.

I emailed my editor to ask her if I could enter this contest because when it was announced I was not under contract, neither did I really think I would be any time soon, and she told me that I didn't need the prize since I had an editor already. That made my week...month...let me tell you.

Success comes from these competitions, look at Lucy King and Lynn Raye Harris, and very soon, Gill Clegg :-). But success also comes from other places. This isn't the end. For me, a 'failed' contest was the beginning.

Keep writing, friends. And submit, submit, submit.


  1. Congratulations on your Presents sale. I find your story so inpirational since you published out of the slush pile - which is every writer's dream, I think.

    Can I ask you if the story you sold was the one you entered in the competition? Or did you write something new and send it in the old fashioned way?

  2. Oh, forgot to say something else. Good for you for pursuing your dream so young. You'll be a tremendous role model for your children.

  3. I agree with you Anne, Maisey is amazing for having acheived all of this at the tender age of 23. She'll be an old pro by thirty, LOL.

    And that slush pile still works, in fact now I think it's the safest way to submit, judging by the atmosphere over on Ihearts.

    All the best,

  4. Great post, Maisey. And so true. Aideen, I'm thinking the same thing....

  5. Here here Maisey. The contest is only one route to success - the real teller is the writing!

  6. Anne, thank you so much for stopping by. I actually submitted a different MS because I hadn't finished my comp entry, and while the comp was going on I started a different MS and finished it after the comp ended.

    Takes a while, but you really can come out slush. :-)

  7. Maisey, never got a chance to leave a comment and congratulate you on your recent sale! My computer was going wonky and I could read the blogs but, somehow, was not able to leave a comment.

    So . . . a belated congratulations to you!!! And thanks for the encouragement to the rest of us.

    As for the contest . . . the rules never stated it was for UNpublished authors, I think most contestants just assumed that to be true.

    Personally, I find it a very valuable lesson in the tumultuous, random, and often cruel world of publishing. And that ain't changing - ever! Anyone who wants to be an author best adjust to that fact.

    I entered. I didn't win - actually, my real goal was to get a request for a full. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't.

    Either way, it's onward and upward.

    Can't wait to read your book!!


  8. Thank you, Amy! And don't discount a request or even a comps slip and request for something else. That happened to two of my CPs in some of the last comps.

    And hey, I didn't get anything, as I've said. :-)

    I'm so excited for my book to come and having others share it with me really makes my day! Thanks again!!

  9. Ooh, I had no idea about this controversy.

    Fantastic and inspiring post, Maisey! Your go-get-'em and never give up attitude is admirable :)

  10. Ha! Oh, it's uggggly over on ihearts, lemme tell you! :-D

    As for go get em, it's what we have to do! This is a competative biz!There's lot of talent out there, but it's the ones that submit and follow through with revisions that make it.

  11. I've had more success "the good old fashioned" way too Maisey. It would have made my day too getting a reply from the editor telling me that I already had one lol Still can't wait to hear your call story. I read somewhere that you waited 20 months! How's your patience? :P

  12. From submission to my Call, it was indeed twenty months. With revisions in between. Revised the partial, the full and the full again.

    Yeah, the much more detailed Call story (although I tried not to make myself sound like a crazy person, though I acted like one in the minutes leading up to The Call) is supposed to be up on ihearts on the 21st.

  13. Thanks for posting Maisey, I think it will give a much needed boost to many who submitted to the competition (myself included!).
    I think what this proves is the theory that submitting to competitions is a chance. Just that, one chance. A chance where you're pitting yourself against all sorts of writers, both published and unpublished. I didn't win the comp, and I also had a full rejected this month by a different publisher, but I have another partial out in Richmond that I hope they're going to get a chance to look at soon, and another full out with an agent, who I'm hoping will like it.
    That having been said, I'm going back in January to my full which was rejected and trying again with it. Then I'm working on my nano project, to see what I can do with that. Then I'm working on something else.
    The presents competition, and the associated bad feeling, proves that unpublished authors can have what's required, 2 of the 4 were unpublished after all. But we shouldn't be putting all our eggs in one basket. And we need to toughen up and accept rejection for what it is... an opportunity to try again and produce the manuscript that they have to have. Its a tough business, and we just have to keep trying. Melanie Hilton of the RNA New Writers Scheme gave me this advice when I received a tough review of my latest romance entry. She told me it took her 13 submissions before M&B accepted one. If she'd given up at 2, 5, 10 or even 12 she wouldn't have been published. But she kept going, and got there.
    Thats the route I'm following!

  14. Thanks for answering my question Maisey. I'll be picking up your book soon as it hits the shelves.

  15. Gosh, sorry for doing such a huge post, hadn't realised I was ranting until I saw it posted!

  16. Hey, Sally! No problem. I appreciated your post.

    I've sort of looked at the wait, 20mos as I said, as the world's longest job interview. And let me tell you, this is a job. You have to be professional...that business over on ihearts...not professional.

  17. Crazy, isn't it? Though things seem to be quietening down now over on ihp, perhaps because most of America is still in bed. I also suspect the critics are waiting for HMB to step in, now that Monday is here, and let people know the situation. Oh to be a fly on the wall in Richmond this morning ...

    I'm still astonished at how this thing grew so huge and violent so quickly. My feelings on the subject just aren't that strong, I'm afraid. I didn't win. That's life. And even if Carr hadn't won, that wouldn't have put me in any better position. It all seems very odd and unnecessary to me!

    Good luck with your writing career, btw. I know we've all been saying gloomily 'it's still a hard graft for pubbed authors' but seriously, the worst is over. The 'not knowing if you're good enough' part is over. Whatever happens, you'll always have this. ;)

  18. Thanks for posting your story Maisey,

    I tried to be quiet and not say a word and couldn't help myself. lol.But I really don't care who won as long as they are happy, and I congratulate the winners providing they followed the guidelines.
    Even so, whatever Harlequin decides that's fine with me. I'm not loosing any sleep over it. lol.Actually I should be in that state of mind at present.

    A few more blogs to cover and I'll close for the night. :)

    All the best,

    Suzanne :)

  19. I agree, what's happening on iheartpresents is NOT good. I have a feeling some of them are going to regret things said in the heat of the moment when they wake up! One person has already apologised which is something, I suppose. But I cringed while reading some of them! Good for you for posting this, Maisey! I feel really sorry for the winners, who haven't been able to accept their congrats due to all the ugliness going on. Maisey, I know one of them is your sister. Do extend my congrats and have a great day, everyone!


  20. It is a good thing to remember that the people who were being rude were definitely the minority. There were 540 entrants who didn't 'place' and there are not 540 people ranting.

    You lovely people included! :-)

    The romance community is full of wonderful people. I've been so blessed and awed by my reception, and by how helpful people have been. That's the overall spirit of this industry, not the sand throwing that's been happening at ihearts. So everyone take heart there!