As I said last time, I don’t remember the names and results of all the contests I entered. Although a “Finalist,” not the winner, my favorite contest was the St. Martin’s Press Malice Domestic Mystery Contest from MacMillan. Considering the prestige of the publisher, even “finalist” elevated my accomplishment in my own eyes.
The “malice domestic” part meant that the suspects to the crime had to be members of the family in which a murder, or other crime, took place. I enjoyed writing about characters who seemed loyal aunts, uncles, cousins or siblings of the victim, and invented nasty things that the amateur sleuth in the story might think they were up to.
I actually submitted my book twice, several years apart, and both results made me a finalist. Some friends suggested I enter it again (the contest is held every year), saying, “Third time’s the charm,” but I haven’t done so.
Instead, the book will become the second in the cozy mystery series for which I’ve signed a contract and hope to see in bookstores in 2016.
Although not technically a contest, I entered both cozy mysteries in Amazon’s Scout program last year. That’s where readers vote for the books they like and believe should be published by Kindle Press. For a time, each of my books was close to being chosen (sort of a “finalist?) but ultimately didn’t make it. I’m planning to submit a different mystery to Scout soon and perhaps that one will.
That’s the thing about contests. You have to enter in order to have a chance of winning. In the case of Kindle Scout, winning a publishing contract means a $1500 advance, royalties of 50% on e-books, return of your rights after five years (not your life plus 70 years) if you’re not satisfied and a mere 45 days from submission to answer. What’s not to like?