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16 March 2011

Increasing the Odds as You Climb Towards Your Writing Destination

Today's host: Jennifer Slattery

Writing is definitely not for the thin-skinned, nor for those seeking instant gratification. It is one of the few jobs where the applicant can spend years, decades even, doing all the right things with nothing to show for it. So much of the writing industry is beyond the writer's control, at times it may appear to be an endless upward climb with a perpetually elusive destination. And although it is true there will be much that forever remains beyond our control, there are concrete steps a writer can take to increase their chance of success.

The first thing a writer needs to do is develop a long-term focus. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. In fact, quite the opposite. If you want to be successful as an author, expect years of sweat and tears and start by focusing on the foundation.

This is where contests come in. At the American Christian Fiction Writers conference last September, I reported on one of the late night agent panels, and something Kathy Helmers from Creative Trust, Inc, said really resonated. When discussing the importance of developing a platform she said it was easier for an unpublished author to land a contract than it was for a published author with low or diminishing sales. What this means is, before you sell that first novel, make sure you have a wide reader-base to support it.

That's where Clash of the Titles comes in. Each week, we draw readers from over nine different countries, including the Ukraine, Peru, India and Germany. Competing authors point readers to our site and search-engine friendly key-words draw even more. This ensures a great deal of exposure for all participants, which in turn, offers the potential for an increased reader-base.

We also offer authors valuable reader feedback. All contests provide great feedback, but Clash of the Titles is unique in that we provide unbiased, authentic reader feedback. Let's face it, you can do everything right technically and still pen a dud. If your characters don't grab the reader and your plot falls flat, so will your book. And although editors, agents, and traditional contest judges have learned to "read the market" so to speak, they'll never be able to dive in the reader's head. But we can, in a way. By inviting readers to choose their favorite excerpt and leave comments in our survey, we get a glimpse into their psyche. We learn what they like and what they don't.

So why would an unpubb'ed author subject themselves to a contest on Clash--one where their work will be read by thousands and perhaps even dissected line by line? Because we offer great exposure, the potential for an increased reader-base, and honest feedback.

Yep, it's a win-win. (And remember, we're not just for the unpubb'ed. In fact, most of our competitors are published, but every once in awhile, we open our clash to the unpubb'ed, giving our audience a chance to get to know emerging authors before they make it big.)

So, hop on over to our submissions page to find out how you can throw your excerpt into the ring. But before you do, read the excerpts below and choose your favorite. Every vote, tweet, fb share and comment enters you in our drawing to win a free book and builds up an author who very well may be in need of encouragement.
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COTT Staff said... Wednesday, 16 March, 2011

Wow Jen. You just said exactly what Lisa did this morning in her comment on Reflections in Hindsight. Having a reader-base is SO important. Thanks for the great post!

Jennifer said... Wednesday, 16 March, 2011

Oh, I need to go read that! And in case any of you would like to join me, the url is http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com.
This site has some great tips and info on pretty much everything relating to writing. (And of course, the bi-monthly marriage and family column that runs every other Friday is pretty interesting, as well. grin.)

Michelle Massaro said... Wednesday, 16 March, 2011

Good post about remembering how important it is to lay a foundation before you get ahead of yourself with a book that won't sell. =)

christine Lindsay said... Thursday, 17 March, 2011

So true, Jennifer. Writing certainly isn't for the faint-hearted. It's been about 10 years for me, and I'm finally seeing a fictional novel coming out. And this is a great site. I'm so glad that I joined. Now, I'm waiting for my book cover to be finished so I can contribute an excerpt.

Item Reviewed: Increasing the Odds as You Climb Towards Your Writing Destination Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jennifer Slattery