Why This Romance Writer Believes in the MBT Frasier Contest

Picture this:

Me, in an overcrowded elevator at the 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference. I’m standing nose to name tag with a petite blonde woman. Her nose. My name tag.

The conversation goes like this:

Woman: Oh, you’re Beth Vogt. You finaled in the Frasier.

Me (uncomfortable & now a bit surprised she could even read my name that close up): Yes, I did.

Woman (who I later found out was Sandra Bishop, an agent with the Chip MacGregor Literary Agency & one of the judges for the Frasier): So-and-So editor wants to talk with you. She read your entry and really liked it.

Me: Stunned silence.

Here’s what happened later: I sat at said-editor’s table for lunch. She recognized my name. Remembered my story. Told me how eager she was to read it.

This was a writer’s dream come true — all because I’d entered the Frasier contest.

Did the editor buy my manuscript?

Nope.

But guess what? My interaction with that one editor boosted my confidence so much, I walked into all my editor appointments relaxed . . . I mean, come on! I’d already been so encouraged.

And another editor did offer me a contract several months later!My novel, Wish You Were Here, debuts in May!

What’s the moral of my little Frasier story? Does entering the Frasier guarantee that you’ll final? No. Does it guarantee you a miraculous meeting with an agent or editor in an elevator? Sorry, no. Does it guarantee you publication. Not that either.

Here’s what you will get from entering this contest — guaranteed:

  • Loads of encouragement from the My Book Therapy (MBT) writing community as you polish your contest entry.
  • Help from MBT coaches via Monday night chats, Thursday night bleacher sessions, and MBT flashblogs so that you can submit the strongest entry possible.
  • Some of the best judges’ evaluations, zeroing in on your ability to write a story that hooks a reader.
  • Concrete, positive “this is what I liked” feedback.
  • Detailed suggestions for improving your story.

My husband has a favorite saying: Do the next thing.

Why not make your next thing as a writer be entering the 2012 MBT Frasier contest? What have you got lose? Maybe a few hours sleep while you polish your scene and synopsis. OK, I get that.

But what have you got to win?

Consider that for a minute . . .

You could be standing in an elevator at the 2012 ACFW conference when someone says, “Hey, you’re . . .”

You don’t want to miss that moment, do you?

 

Writing contests — love ’em or hate ’em? Are you entering the Frasier? Have you entered the Frasier — or another writing contest — in the past? I’d love to hear your experience!

The 2012 Frasier Contest, My Book Therapy’s storycrafting contest for unpublished novelists, is open now through March 31. The winner will be announced at the annual MBT Pizza Party during the 2012 ACFW Conference in Dallas – and will receive a free MBT retreat (a $500 value!). Final round entries will be judged by award-winning author Susan May Warren, Tyndale House acquisitions editor Stephanie Broene, and Karen Ball, literary agent with the Steve Laube Agency. All guidelines and registration details are available here

 

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23 Comments

  1. February 7, 2012, 5:52 am   /  Reply

    Glad you were nose to nametag in the elevator! I’m off to Tweet this post. Sounds like a wonderful contest.

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 6:45 am   /  Reply

      Invaluable feedback — and just forcing myself to enter — to risk — was so, so worth it.

  2. February 7, 2012, 6:37 am   /  Reply

    I received the best feedback from Frasier judges both times I entered. Their suggestions were right on target and now my ms is so much stronger! I urge everyone who has their first scene written to enter…you’ll be so glad you did!

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 6:49 am   /  Reply

      Thanks for adding your experience, Pat!
      😉

  3. Jeanne T
    February 7, 2012, 6:38 am   /  Reply

    Soooo fun hearing this story again, Beth. 🙂 Ya just never know what will come of stepping out of your comfort zone, do ya? 🙂 I entered the Frasier last year, and gained some great feedback. I’m hoping to this year, as well, but there’s a lot of work to do for me first. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to hearing others’ thoughts on contests.

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 6:49 am   /  Reply

      I hope you can enter again this year too, Jeanne.

  4. February 7, 2012, 7:55 am   /  Reply

    I’m doing it. Entering the Frasier. And the Genesis.

    I really have NO idea what will happen. I might find out that I have a LONG way to go. But at least I’ll have an idea. Right now, I have none, really. So I’m really looking forward to that feedback, even if it is hard to hear. Because maybe it won’t be in 2012 that I hear what you heard. But hopefully it will happen eventually.

    Like your husband said, I’m just going to do the next thing.

    Wish me luck!

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 9:03 am   /  Reply

      I do wish you luck — and you’re already ahead of the game, Lindsay. You are willing to accept feedback. That will get you so, so far along the writing road.
      Brava!
      🙂

  5. February 7, 2012, 8:09 am   /  Reply

    I’m a fan of contests. My offer of representation came as a result of a final in a contest. Getting in front of final round judges is a great way to get noticed by publishing pros, as your situation proves, Beth. Even if we don’t final at first, the feedback from the preliminary round judges can help us improve our stories. I learned so much from my generous contest judges and am beyond grateful for all they taught me.

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 9:04 am   /  Reply

      When I entered the Frasier, I had no expectation of finaling.
      None.
      When Susie called and left a voice mail saying I’d finaled, I actually called her back and asked, “Did you say I did final or a I didn’t final?

      Duh.

      🙂

  6. February 7, 2012, 8:10 am   /  Reply

    I remember hearing about that conversation, Beth. So awesome!! I’ve entered two contests and both were wonderful experiences. Such a great way to get professional feedback and take another step toward publication. Yes, there is always a degree of subjectivity to contest feedback – but it’s the same in pitching to agents/editors. It’s just plain good practice. 🙂

    I also think it’s a perfect way to remedy the “what do I do now?” feeling – when you feel like you’ve revised so many times and don’t know what to do next. Feedback will give you more to revise and/or give you that boost of confidence that yes, you’re ready to pitch…

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 9:05 am   /  Reply

      Contests aren’t a guarantee of publication. But they are a guarantee of a very important commodity along the writing road: feedback. It’s priceless, really.

  7. Patti Mallett
    February 7, 2012, 8:21 am   /  Reply

    That’s such a wonderful story, Beth! Thanks for sharing and encouraging us.

    I keep hearing the word “Frasier” but am not sure what it is. First scene synopsis is what it sounds like from the above post. And I think the deadline is fast approaching. If so, I’m not close to being ready to submit.

    For me, this year is going to be about commitment to writing and learning more about how to get help at MBT. (MN perhaps.) Today is not a scheduled writing day, but I’ve put in an hour already and plan to do more. Your commitment has encouraged me in so many ways, and this morning is fruit from that example showing up on my tree.

    I try to live by your husband’s advice. One step at a time can make just about any task or situation doable (and it helps me to put on blinders so I can’t look to the left or the right).

    I’m so looking forward to reading YOUR BOOK!!!
    Have a great day!

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 9:08 am   /  Reply

      To clarify:
      The Frasier is one scene, 1500 words. You include a synopsis, but are not judged on that. You are judged on telling a story. There are no categories — all genres are judged at the same time. Contest info is here: http://www.mybooktherapy.com/slide-3/contests/.
      Patti, you are doing great. You know your goals as a writer … and you are pursuing them!

      • Patti Mallett
        February 7, 2012, 10:39 pm   /  Reply

        Thanks, Beth!!

  8. February 7, 2012, 9:12 am   /  Reply

    Very encouraging story. Yes, I’ll enter, and look forward to next ACFW, too, w/ more nose-to-name-badge elevator rides. What a great way to meet people, and reunite/encourage great friends. In addition to some being noticed as Frasier finalists, Ponderer members were recognized, too, which was neat.

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 10:19 am   /  Reply

      It’s always fun to meet up at ACFW and encourage other writers as they meet with agents and editors, win awards, dance at the MBT Pizza Party — whatever they are doing along the writing road!

  9. February 7, 2012, 1:48 pm   /  Reply

    I am really excited about entering this year! Seems too good to pass up, for sure! Got some work to do. Better get to… March will be here before I know it!

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 2:00 pm   /  Reply

      🙂 Go, Amy, go!

  10. Carol Moncado
    February 7, 2012, 2:03 pm   /  Reply

    Right now I’m a fan ;). But I’ve done well in the last two that announced winners/finalists [one 1st place, one finalist but no winner announced yet] :D. The week before that? Not so much a fan because of the fdk from one judge…

    I’m entering Genesis with 2MSs and planning to enter Frasier with one [because the other one just isn’t a good fit given the guidelines and I don’t think it qualifies anyway because of that 1st place finish – what a great problem to have!]

    Nothing has come of them yet for me, but it’s so wonderful to know that I’m not just spinning my wheels and the pros think there’s promise there :).

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 7:52 pm   /  Reply

      Even if you don’t win, place, or show in a contest, it’s still beneficial because of the feedback. Winning and placing — wow! That’s wonderful, Carol.
      It’s funny because the same scene that finaled in the Frasier didn’t fare so well in another contest.
      Gotta roll with it.

  11. February 7, 2012, 3:30 pm   /  Reply

    What a cool story, Beth. Contests can be such a huge help, and the feedback is the best part!

    ~Debbie

    • Beth Vogt
      February 7, 2012, 7:52 pm   /  Reply

      Agreed, Debbie.

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