Today was the final day of agent bids on entries in Cupid’s Literary Connection’s Blind Speed Dating contest. In all contests like this, some entries get a lot of love while some entries get no interest at all. I happened to do really well, both in this contest and the PAPfest contest I entered a couple of weeks ago, but there were lots of entries that didn’t get a single request from an agent.
Reading some of the disappointed tweets on the twitter hashtag #CLCBSD reminded me of a post RC Lewis wrote just before the PAPfest contest went live. She shares her own story, where she entered a contest with her currently-repped manuscript and was fawned over by agents. But prior to that, two years in a row, she entered with two separate manuscripts and got no requests at all. She almost didn’t enter the contest the third year, with her new one, because of all the silence with her prior two.
I also thought of a vlog Beth Revis did for WriteOnCon a couple of years ago, where she talks about failed manuscripts. She shares her own stack of rejected stories, a good foot’s worth of printed paper, each one of which she thought was going to be “the one”. If I’m remembering correctly, Across the Universe was her 10th written manuscript.
She may or may not have entered contests, but the point here is that she didn’t give up, and neither did RC Lewis. They went on and wrote another story… and another, until they finally had one that agents loved.
I was looking over my own Excel spreadsheets this afternoon, thinking how my path has gone like this, too. My first queried manuscript, Magestone, got three requests out of some 65 queries sent. I think I entered one contest with it and got crickets. My second, Secrets, had a slightly higher batting average, though obviously still no takers. But now, with Stars, I’ve had piles of interest. I’ve yet to hear back from the agents who have the materials, so we’ll see if it turns into anything, but if it doesn’t… I’ve already started writing another story.