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Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Back before I was published, I was a total contest junkie. Since 2006, let’s just say I’ve entered a lot of contests. For the new author, contests are a great way to get feedback and constructive comments on your writing skills. I learned tons of things I don’t think I could have learned on my own. The first time I heard the term head-hopping, I literally imagined a head hopping around. Then I did research and discovered what it was. Also, I learned you can only do that if you’re a bestselling author. Then I discovered show and tell. And here, I thought that was just for kindergarden class. And then there’s GMC. Wow! It’s more than just a brand of trucks and SUV’s!

Besides the feedback, there’s also the chance to get read by an editor or agent if you end up becoming a finalist. When I first started entering contests, I didn’t pay much attention to the list of final judges. As I continued along the contest circuit, I became more selective. I only started entering contests where the editors and agents I was interested in were the final judges. Also, if they already judged it in another contest, I crossed that particular contest of my list. Not only did it save me money, it didn’t look like I was trying to contest stalk the judge.

I’ve never sold as a result of a contest, but I know people who have. Contests helped me improve my writing skills. Having anonymous feedback works for me. It allows the person to be honest and candid about what they liked or didn’t like in my submitted chapters. There are drawbacks to this. Some people who judge contests are volunteers who may just be starting out themselves. I once had some feedback where the judge scored me down because of passive voice. I was actually using past-perfect, because the character had been reflecting on something in the past. There are the occasional judges who have to be negative Nancy’s and nitpick everything to death, but they are far and few between. Most contest coordinators like to hear about their contestants' experiences and, if there was a particularly nasty judge, they like to know these things so that judge can be removed from their list of volunteers. I’ve only contacted two coordinators in my contest career because of judges.

Contests can be expensive, but a great way to get feedback and get your name out there. I’ve met a lot of other authors because of my contest experiences. Just the other day someone who judged my historical in a contest told me how much they loved it and wanted me to finish it. So, if you have $25, and there’s an editor you’ve had your eye on judging a contest, what have you got to lose?

Sidney Ayers loves infusing her stories with humor. What would the world be without a little bit of laughter? She writes a plethora of genres, ranging from historical, to paranormal, to contemporary.

A native of Michigan, Sidney still lives in the same town she grew up in. No matter how hard she tries, she just can’t seem to get away. Michigan is in her blood.

Right now, Sidney is currently working on the 3rd book in the Demons Unleased series of humorous paranormal romances. It stars quirky demoness and jack-of-all-trades, Kalli Corapolous and cardiologist, Joshua Carlson. Hell is unleashed in the most odd, not to mention inopportune, places.


Matthias Ambrose is a demon mercenary who never took sides, until his attraction to the spunky caterer he was hired to kidnap leads him to almost botch a job for the first time in eight hundred years. Now he must protect her from his former clients, but even an ice-cold demon like Matthias struggles to resist her fiery charms.


Completely engrossed with planning menus and prepping recipes for her shot at cooking show fame, star caterer Serah SanGermano refuses to believe she's on a fast track to Hades.

But how's she supposed to stick to the kitchen if she can't stand the heat of her gorgeous demonic bodyguard?

As a diabolical plot to destroy humanity unfolds and all hell breaks loose in Serah's kitchen, she and Matthias find themselves knee-deep in demons and up to their eyeballs in love...


Debby said...

What a interesting post! I never thought of contests that way. Do they help you out with critiques? I was born in Michigan but left as a young child.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Sidney Ayers said...

Hi Debby. Most the contests run by RWA chapters require the first round judges to comment and leave feedback and constructive criticism. Most the comments I've received from contest feedback over the year has been very helpful.

wanda f said...

Hi Sidney realy enjoyed reading your post today I read Demons Prefer Blondes and loved it I cant wait to get my hands on a copy of Demons Like It Hot it sounds awesome .Happy Holidays

desitheblonde said...

i have not read the book yet but it sound great and would love to read and blog on it
desi the