So what have I been learning? Well, we're down to about 12 days left of judging Lyrical's first-ever writing contest, and the experience has taught me a number of "do's n don'ts" for next year.
- Do: Organize the contest in 2 rounds, first round consisting of the synopsis and 1st 25 pages.
- Do: Make the 2nd round ONLY for the top-5 scoring entries in each genre.
- Don't: Ever agree to judge an un-specified number of full manuscripts. Period.
- Do: Specify in contest rules that all entries in "romance" genres have a happy ending.
I also learned tons from my first pitch-taking.
- Do: Specify word count. Lyrical publishes only up to 100k word books, and I've had to turn away several promising projects because they go over the word count.
- Do: Emphasize that I only want pitches for completed novels. (I sorta thought this went without saying; everywhere you look at tips on querying or pitching fiction, that's the first rule--the book must be finished. But apparently things have changed since I started querying 5 or so years ago)
- Don't: Be shy about signing up for pitch days. It was an exhausting 15 hours, but I fielded 48 pitches that day, and have had nothing but positive feedback. Also have offered contract on 2 books (very soon to be #3) and have 2 more promising fulls awaiting my reading pleasure. Turned out to be a fantastic way to get new blood in my editing "stable". Even the few people I've already sent R's or R-and-R's to, have replied positively and I'm hoping they'll think of Lyrical (and me) in the future.
Oh. One more incredible discovery I've made: It's so amazingly easy to send .doc or PDF files to my Kindle so I can read them there! I love my Fire. I really do.
Romance is sexy!