I know exactly how they feel.
In 2010 I enthusiastically and rather naively entered the first New Voices competition with my third attempt at a historical romance. I had done my research, had a hook, a conflict, a really long first scene full of description and no dialogue. I was honestly crushed when I didn't final. Crushed.
And then I picked myself up. I found Crit Partners, read craft books, went on a course, joined a professional organisation and, crucially, finished two manuscripts. I was ready for New Voices 11.
But the long hoped for email didn't arrive no matter how much I checked my phone.
And I checked a lot.
That stung. But eventually, after a little wound licking, I picked myself up, turned the chapter into a full manuscript and rewrote that first chapter at least six times. At least...
|My aptly titled wonderland dress|
But they didn't contact me.
I felt like I'd failed. Three competitions zilch interest. But I did have three finished manuscripts two of which I rather liked (let's never mention the third).
And so I looked at other ways to get them in front of the editors. I used one to ones, fast tracks and the opportunities RNA membership gave me. And eventually I had two full manuscripts in front of editors - and they both sold.
The second manuscript is a much revised version of both my NV11 and SYTYCW entry. It didn't final, and that's okay. I worked extra hard to make sure that the final manuscript I submitted was as good as it could be.
So if you're refreshing your inbox right now, good luck! And remember, competitions are a brilliant way to get your name and writing out there, to get some feedback, to make some contacts. Competitions are great, I love them. But they're not the only way to reach your goal.