February 4, 2013

Why My Book Therapy's Frasier Writing Contest Rocks

As a writing newbie, there was nothing I craved more than feedback.

I know, putting your work out there is scary, right? But about this time last year, I'd finished my first book and revised it a few times. I hadn't shown it to anyone yet. I didn't have a critique partner at the time, and so I really had no clue about the quality of my writing.

I decided to enter several contests at the beginning of last year since I wanted a realistic view of how I was doing. I read craft books and knew some mistakes not to make, but it was so difficult to evaluate the other, not-so-clear things.

For instance, were my characters realistic and likable? I mean, I thought so, since I'd created them. But how would they appear to others?

Was my plot thin with lots of holes, or fresh and original? Unpredictable?

Did my language have bite, or was it too prose-y for the average reader?

I honestly didn't know how to evaluate these things--so contests were my best bet.

The only problem? A few of the contests I entered gave me drastically different feedback, and the depth of it was fairly shallow. I'd get a low rating on something with no explanation as to why, or how I could improve it.

Enter My Book Therapy's Frasier contest.

Because unlike other contests, I felt like I actually came away with feedback that made sense. Plus, I received encouragement on what I was already doing right.

I believe the Frasier is one of the best contests out there, because My Book Therapy--a writing craft organization founded by multipublished author Susan May Warren--has a heart for writers. The contest is not just for those who receive the awards. Its main purpose is to teach and help writers improve on their journey toward publication.

Let's face it. It's HARD to read something in a craft book and then know if you've applied it successfully. For writers, the Frasier contest is one that will help you to know.

If you're looking to learn and improve in your writing, I can't recommend the Frasier highly enough!

*Entries for the 2013 MBT Frasier Contest for unpublished novelists will be accepted through Sunday, March 31, at 11:59 pm. The contest is open to Voices members. The winner will receive a scholarship to a My Book Therapy coaching retreat ($500 value). Final round judges are award-winning author Susan May Warren; literary agent Steve Laube; and a TBD fiction acquisitions editor. For more information, FAQs, and to enter, visit www.mybooktherapy.com.

Your Turn: If you're a writer, have you ever entered a writing contest? What did you think of the feedback you received? If you're not a writer, have you ever entered a contest of any sort? What kind?

20 comments:

  1. Wonderful post! I love that you describe the Frasier as a teaching contest. I do hope to enter this year, and you're right-- feedback like that is worth its weight in gold. (<---Now, they'll probably tell me to avoid cliche's like that!)

    Have a wonderful week, Lindsay! You're a blessing.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Amanda. You bless me so much!

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  2. I've had interesting experience w/ contests. I can always take away something. I've held respect for the Frasier for years.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. You're right...even if the majority of feedback isn't helpful, we can always find something to take away.

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  3. I entered the Genesis once a few years back and I got really good feedback. And Amanda's comment just cracked me up!

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    1. Glad you had a good experience with Genesis. I got mixed feedback last year but still plan to enter this year!

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  4. Yay, I love the Frasier!! Thanks for writing such an awesome post about it, Linz. I really do feel like it's one of the best out there because of the depth of the feedback. I also think it's cool to look back at the very first year of the contest...there were five finalists that year, and three of them have received multi-book contracts. I think that really speaks well of the kind of feedback this contest offers.

    But then, I'm on the MBT staff, so I am admittedly a teensy bit biased. :)

    Totally off subject but...ten days til I'm in Phoenix!!!

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    1. Ah!!!! Your visit is so close I can taste it. Yum! ;) And I'm not just referring to all of the delicious things we will eat.

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  5. Can't wait to enter the Frasier this year! I've only entered one contest (the First Impressions contest with ACFW) and I had mixed feedback! One judge, who told me who she was and asked me to email her, gave me a perfect score of 100! She is multi-published and loved my story. We've chatted many times since then. One of the other judges gave me LENGTHY feedback, but I felt it was probably cut and pasted from the other entries she judged because a lot of it didn't apply to my story. And the third simply said: A great start to a solid story. Talk about varied! But I appreciate the time they all took to read my story. I didn't final, but I feel good about the feedback I received. I can't wait for the Frasier because I've heard so many wonderful things about it - and I'm a die-hard My Book Therapy fan. :)

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    1. Wow, Gabe, that's so awesome you got such great feedback. And a 100!!! You impress me. And it just confirms my thoughts that you'll be published before long. ;)

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  6. I've entered the Genesis. The first time the feedback was really consistent and great. The second time I was told my book was ready for publication and the other judge said it was basic beginner and I needed to study craft. NOW THAT was a bit disheartening (made worse 'cause i read it right after I had my son and was suffering from ppd). AnyWAY! Frasier sounds great! :) Never tried that one.

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    1. Yeah, that would be totally disheartening! You should try the Frasier. I think the feedback is the best part.

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  7. I've never entered the Frasier, but I'm thinking about it this year. Like others, I've received varied feedback from other contests so it's hard to weigh how best to apply comments, but there's always a lesson somewhere. So thankful for the opportunity to enter contests though. :)

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    1. Do it, do it. ;) Hehe. And I know...just the opportunity to get feedback from industry professionals is invaluable.

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  8. Contests are a great way to get needed feedback. Good luck to all who enter!!

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    1. You're the sweetest, Donna. And I love your profile pic! Is that new?

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  9. As one of the five finalist from the very first year, I can tell you the feedback from Frasier is awesome. My lowest score came with detailed comments, and a mention of a too-stupid-to-live action. Not that the judge came out and said those words, but I got the point. lol The Fraiser definitely helped me get published!

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  10. I have entered in a writing contest. I got back excellent feedback, and it helped with the opening of one of my novels.

    I will check out the Frasier Contest.

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  11. I entered two contests last year, including the Frasier. I was pleased with the comments from both contests. Helped me quite a bit. I plan to enter the Frasier this year as well.

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  12. I totally understand your frustration at other contests and the extreme discrepancy in feedback. I've experienced it, too. Love the Frasier for being so different…for being an inspiring experience!

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