Folks are getting Golden Heart scores back this week. I won't get mine until after the winners are announced, since I'm a finalist this time, but I DO remember getting that envelope in the past. The fear of opening it. The burning desire to know how bad it is. Am I in the top 25% or the bottom 50%? Should I open it now or wait?
Only you can decide what's best for you. But, I gotta tell you, don't obsess more than a couple of days MAXIMUM over it! I entered 4 times. The 4th time was the charm. I've opened that envelope three times before, tremulous and scared, and then had to talk to myself about what was in it.
You simply can't let it stop you. You write a new book, or revise the one that didn't final, and get prepared for next year. The deadline is in November, y'all. Not so far away. I almost didn't enter this time. I almost let it go. I debated with myself — should I work this hard to get the book done quickly? What category should I enter? Am I ready for this? Is it a waste of money?
I entered before I finished the book, which gave me incentive. Money, as I've said before, is a big motivator for me. I wasn't losing that $50 for nothing! Then, of course, there was the cost of printing and postage. Yeah, I was a last minute Express Mail girl because I finished it right before the deadline. Can't remember what it cost, but it wasn't cheap. Forty dollars maybe?
So look at your scores with a grain of salt, a dash of hope, and a huge helping of determination. Just because you didn't final this time doesn't mean you won't EVER final. It also doesn't mean you won't sell. Plenty of best selling authors never finaled in the Golden Heart. Some people final never to be heard from again. And some end up selling a different book than the GH book.
Get upset or get happy about your scores, but also get over them. Keep writing. 🙂
Any interesting or frustrating contest experiences to share? Any lessons learned? Did you ever get advice that upset you, but later saw the value in it? I have. Someone told me my hero was a jerk and my heroine was juvenile — and then proceeded to tell me WHY. Dang if she wasn't right — once I got over it and could see the truth, of course. 🙂
Update: Found my GH scores from the first time I entered: 10, 8, 7, 8, 5. Yeah, they used to score to 10 and there were no fractions. Oh, and they used to give comments too. 🙂 This was the long historical category and I scored in the 2nd 25%. The following year, I entered two books. Can't find those scores, darn it.
Hi Lynn and all!
I am thrilled that Aussie’s can enter the GH too! I just scanned the rules (key word being scanned so if I’m wrong please feel free to tell me to put my back into it next time) and it doesn’t say that you have to be living in America. Yay!
There are so many competitions that you can’t enter because of where you live and I had previously written the GH off as one of those – major oops – so all you people out there good luck for November (and of course the Lovely Lynn for right now!)
Nikki (who will be reading competition rules more carefully from now on 🙂 )
Good luck Lynn… 🙂
Nikki, there are a couple of Aussies in the 2008 Finalist class (the Golden G8rs), so you can definitely enter. But, this is a contest that gives you NO feedback, only a score. You’ll never know why you got a low score (if you do) so be prepared for that.
It’s helpful to enter some of the contests that provide feedback before going for the GH, IMO. I like the Great Expectations contest (North Texas RWA), the Emily (West Houston), the Maggies (Georgia Romance Writers), and the Gotcha (Silicon Valley RWA). Oh, the TARA (Tampa) is pretty good too.
Know why you’re entering (feedback, final judges, testing a new story) and be prepared for the gamut of comments and scores. 🙂 Good luck!
Thanks, Cyn! 🙂
You mean besides the judge that called me a racist? That was a new low for me in the contest comment game.
One of my GH scores was a 3.9. Go figure.
Good grief, PC! I’m not sure which is more ridiculous, the racist charge or the 3.9 score.
Yeah, one peach of a judge gave my entry last year a 1.8. 1.8! Fortunately, they recognized she was crazy and dropped her score, averaging the others.
Wow, SP. How in the heck does anyone arrive at 1.8? That’s so silly!
I know as a GH judge, if someone uses complete sentences with a basic grasp on the language, they’d score at least a 2. It was a little soul crushing – thank goodness you don’t get the comments back!