By Karol Ruth Silverstein, SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator
As your humble SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator, I can tell you that entering Writers Day contests is not only fun and exciting — it can also be helpful in getting your manuscripts polished and noticed. I love deadlines and have always used Writers Day contest deadlines to force myself to work on my various projects. As a result, my work has placed a few times and won twice: a picture book in 2011 (LA region) and a YA novel in 2010 (Central-Costal CA region). My winning picture book attracted my agent, Jen Linnan, who subsequently sold my winning YA. (Look for my YA debut Cursed from Charlesbridge Teen on June 25, 2019!)
Still not convinced? Here’s a little more evidence of the value of entering Writers Day contests from one of last year’s honorees, Colleen Paeff:
“There’s nothing like winning a writing contest to confirm that you’re heading in the right direction. When I won my first Writers Day contest in 2014, I’d been dabbling in writing picture books for a decade. The award was exactly what I needed to convince myself it was time to get serious. If I gave it my all, I thought, I just might end up a published author. Two years, more manuscripts, lots of workshops, a couple conferences, tons of reading, and several revisions later, the same story caught the interest of an agent who eventually took me on as a client.
Since then, I’ve won or been a runner-up in two more Writers Day contests — but I’ve entered many more than that. Whether I win or lose, I learn something about my work. [Not winning an] award says, ‘This story needs some revision. Keep going!’ An award says, ‘You’re on the right track! Keep going!’ Inevitably, in both cases, there is more work to do. But the awards, neatly taped to a cabinet in my office, are a welcome reminder that industry professionals of the SCBWI judged my work to be excellent. And on days when I need a little guidance, I welcome the confirmation that I’m going the right way.”
Colleen’s nonfiction picture book, The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Problem was last year’s Runner-Up in the Other category. Don’t be surprised if you see some news regarding this manuscript in the not-too-distant future!
The 2019 Writers Day contest will be accepting submissions as soon as registration opens, on or about November 23, 2018. You must be registered for Writers Day, taking place March 9, 2019, to enter. Please see the SCBWI-L.A. Writer’s Day Contest page for further information about the contest and instructions on how to enter.
And if you’d like to learn more about other SCBWI-L.A. contests and how you can participate, check our contest page.
For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a membertoday! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.
Karol Ruth Silverstein writes screenplays and various genres of children’s books. Her YA debut #CURSEDthenovel is due from Charlesbridge Teen in June 2019. She is represented by Jen Linnan of Linnan Literary Management and lives in West Hollywood with her two exceptionally fluffy cats, Ninja and Boo.
Photos provided by Charlotte Offsay and Colleen Paeff