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Mel006
04-15-2009, 10:35 PM
I have a couple of questions and appreciate anyone's two cents on the matter.

I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest and made it to the top 500 but no further. Don't worry, this is not an agonizing thread where I berate and belittle the people in charge of the contest for not seeing the worth of my manuscript.

My question revolves around next steps. I plan to take what feedback I have received and improve where I can. In the meantime, I believe I will try and shop the book around looking for an agent. I have another completed manuscript I will also be shopping around separately in the near future (I am taking the advice of one book per query).

My first question: What, if any, indication would making it into the top 500 of the contest be of the "readiness" of the manuscript?

My second question: Would you mention it had been entered in the contest and gotten as far as it did? My inclination is no, but I thought I would ask anyway. I suppose if the answer were yes, I would mention I had taken the advice and made improvements on the manuscript.

Also, if anyone is aware of an agent who specifically enjoys soft-sci works, I would appreciate that information. I am currently doing my own search but if anyone is aware of someone in particular, I would appreciate the lead.

My thanks in advance to any and all of those of you who take the time to be so kind to those of us trying to wend our way through the process!

ResearchGuy
04-19-2009, 06:53 AM
In view of the lack of responses, I'll make a few comments. These are my views, FWIW.


I have a couple of questions and appreciate anyone's two cents on the matter.

I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest and made it to the top 500 but no further. Don't worry, this is not an agonizing thread where I berate and belittle the people in charge of the contest for not seeing the worth of my manuscript.

My question revolves around next steps. I plan to take what feedback I have received and improve where I can. In the meantime, I believe I will try and shop the book around looking for an agent. I have another completed manuscript I will also be shopping around separately in the near future (I am taking the advice of one book per query).

My first question: What, if any, indication would making it into the top 500 of the contest be of the "readiness" of the manuscript?
IMHO, it is of no significance. No agent or publisher will care.


My second question: Would you mention it had been entered in the contest and gotten as far as it did? My inclination is no, but I thought I would ask anyway. I suppose if the answer were yes, I would mention I had taken the advice and made improvements on the manuscript.

IMHO, agents and publishers will not care that your earlier versions were not as good. They already know that. All they are interested in is the quality and suitability and salability to reading public of what you have on offer now.


Also, if anyone is aware of an agent who specifically enjoys soft-sci works, I would appreciate that information. I am currently doing my own search but if anyone is aware of someone in particular, I would appreciate the lead.

You might want to consider attending writers' conferences. And of course quality time with Literary Marketplace, Jeff Hermann's Guide, and Writer's Market should be helpful. The question is not whether they enjoy those works, but whether that sort of thing is among their specialties. I'd also recommend that you read the 2007 book How I Got Published (Writer's Digest Press).


My thanks in advance to any and all of those of you who take the time to be so kind to those of us trying to wend our way through the process!

My views, FWIW. Hang in there and good luck.

--Ken

shawkins
04-19-2009, 07:46 PM
I have a couple of questions and appreciate anyone's two cents on the matter.

I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest and made it to the top 500

Congratulations!


but no further. Don't worry, this is not an agonizing thread where I berate and belittle the people in charge of the contest for not seeing the worth of my manuscript.

Also good. :D


My question revolves around next steps. I plan to take what feedback I have received and improve where I can. In the meantime, I believe I will try and shop the book around looking for an agent. I have another completed manuscript I will also be shopping around separately in the near future (I am taking the advice of one book per query).

My first question: What, if any, indication would making it into the top 500 of the contest be of the "readiness" of the manuscript?

It's encouraging, but about all it says for certain is that you're ahead of the pack in terms of grammar, formatting, etc. Have you seen the slushkiller post?

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html


My second question: Would you mention it had been entered in the contest and gotten as far as it did? My inclination is no, but I thought I would ask anyway. I suppose if the answer were yes, I would mention I had taken the advice and made improvements on the manuscript.


Again, it is encouraging on a personal level and an cool thing, but I don't think I'd include it in a query letter. Not long ago one of the agents fielded a similar question on his or her blog (I forget who or where) -- somebody had gotten runner up in Contest X and wanted to know if they should mention it. The agent's answer was an unambiguous 'no.' If you win, mention it. If you place, don't.


Also, if anyone is aware of an agent who specifically enjoys soft-sci works, I would appreciate that information. I am currently doing my own search but if anyone is aware of someone in particular, I would appreciate the lead.

I don't, sorry. I'd say try agentquery: http://www.agentquery.com/search_advanced.aspx

When you find agents that look like they fit in terms of what they represent, try googling them. More than half had some sort of online presence--interviews, blogs, articles about them ...--that hold clues.

From what I've read, the fact that you care enough to ask about this sort of thing places you firmly in the top 10% of queriers. Good luck & happy hunting.

Mel006
04-22-2009, 03:51 AM
Thank you very much for your considerate replies! I believe they have confirmed what I thought.

On to query hell!