Friday, December 30, 2011

My favorite things of 2011 (on writing blogs)

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Contests on blogs and queries I've written. Connecting with writers and the critiques they bring. These are a few of my favorite things.

In honor of 2011, I'd like to share the best contests, opportunities, and resources for writers I've found this year. Many of the contests aren't going on right now, but follow the blogs to be ready for when they come back in 2012!

Literary Rambles Agent Spotlights - If you write for young adults and children, this is where you should go first to look for agents. With so much more than what you can find in the profiles on Agent Query or Writer's Market, Casey and Natalie compile information from agent interviews across the web for the most comprehensive agent profiles I've found. Use the search function with keywords that describe your book to find the best agents for you.

The Agent Inbox Contest - In my opinion, this is one of the most helpful blog contest on the web. You really can't lose. Krista from Mother. Write. (Repeat.) collects the query and 1st 250 words from 20 entrants and posts them on her blog. Then a real live agent stops at each one and makes comments on whether they'd be interested and why or why not. Even if you don't win a request (and your chances are good with only 20 entrants) you get free advice on your query from an agent and your fellow writers.

Write On Con - This is a FREE online writing conference for children's (as in MC under 18) writers.  It almost sounds too good to be true but it's not.  In addition to learning tons and gaining access to lots of critique opportunities, you can participate in the Ninja Agents forum, where you post your query and multiple agents (this year it was 13) comment on your query and make requests.

Miss Snark's Bakers Dozen Agent Auction - This contest is epic.  If you're one of the winning entries, you get to be part of an auction where agents bid on YOU.  The most recent auction had 16 agents bidding on manuscripts and the contest resulted in multiple contracts signed.

Articles by Susan Dennard -   There is just something about the way author Susan Dennard explains things that I just get.  And she knows her stuff.  After exhaustive research and honing her query, she queried 12 agents and got 9 requests.  How's that for amazing?  My two favorite articles she's written are The Parts of a Good Query and How to Write a 1-Page Synopsis.

Rach Writes...Beta Match & Writers' Platform-Building Campaigns - Rachael Harrie gets two cheers, one for Beta Match and one for the Writers' Platform-Building Campaign.  Every once in a while, Rachel has a Beta Match post on her blog where the comments serve as what you might call personal ads for people looking for Beta readers and critique partners.  By looking through the posts it's easy to find the people best match with you and when I took a look back in September they were all serious writers.  I found three lovely Betas this way.  

I didn't participate in the Writers' Platform-Building Campaign this year, but I probably should have, and definitely will when she hosts her next one starting in February of 2012.  Her campaigns are a great way to gain followers and make connections.

Deana Barnhart's Gearin' Up To Get An Agent Blogfest - In this four week blogfest, I got amazing feedback on my first 250 words and my query, including personal feedback from a former agent, and got to participate in a grand finale agent-judged contest.  If that wasn't enough, I met some great people and got some new followers since each week included a blog hop. - Query tracker is the best way to obsess about your queries.  :)  The basic membership is free and you can track your queries and look for agents.  Aside from being a cool tracking tool, Query Tracker compiles information from it's users so with Premium membership (only $25 a year) you can have access to premium reports.  You can see what percentage of queries get a request for each agent and can sort by acceptance percentage to see who wants queries and what genre they really want.  It's also a great way to find out  how quickly to expect a response and if you should expect a response at all.  The only down-side is that you may end up obsessively checking reports for hours on end!

All Other Agent Judged Blog Contests - Agent judged blog contests are an amazing opportunity to connect with agents without going to a $400 conference or braving the query minefield. Thank you to all the blogs who host contests. Here are some blogs who have hosted agent or editor judged contests this year.  If you're not already following, do so immediately! 


  1. Sharon, you've put together a great list of online resources for writers. I was already aware of most of these, but I'll have to give the others a look-see. (And thanks for including a shout-out to "An Agent's Inbox"!)

  2. Sharon! Thanks for this list. There's a few on here I didn't know about so I'm going to check them out now.

  3. Aww, thanks, Sharon! It totally makes my New Years Day to see my name on there. Honestly, I'm so glad you find my articles helpful. <3

  4. What a fantastic list! Thank you for including us at Lit Rambles and WriteOnCon. Happy New Year, Sharon!

  5. Hi Sharon, that's an awesome list! Thanks so much for including my name on it--I'm honored :)



  6. Hello ladies,

    Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. It's an honor. See you in 2012!


  7. Thanks for posting this! I participated in two of the contests- Deana's & Krista's & must agree that they were top-notch! I hope to host an agent contest this year on my blog. ~Cheers to 2012!

  8. You heard her - also follow to find out about her upcoming contest in 2012! :)

  9. Thanks for including me Sharon! That sure was a year packed with some good blogging fun! I hope this year will be as good:)

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