Well, I did it. I entered the contest.
Why? Well, it was free (the price was right!) I have nothing at all to lose, and a few people might actually read at least my first chapter and wonder what happened next.
Hey, it COULD happen!
What contest, you ask? Oh the one that all the writers' sites are buzzing about. A month or two ago everyone was panning the Sobol contest which required you to pay an entry fee and didn't promise much.
This one is free. Here's how they suck you in:
"Are you an unpublished author looking to get your fabulous work of fiction in bookstores near you? Well, put away your query letters and fear of rejection and enter The Gather.com First Chapters Writing Competition.
The winner of this writing competition will receive:
* a publishing contract with Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
* a $5,000 cash prize from Gather.com
* promotion and distribution by Borders
Don’t have a novel at the ready? Readers are needed, too! In the weeks to come, you can join other book lovers and writers to help read and rate the entries. Who deserves their big break? YOU can help decide. With this almost unprecedented opportunity, you or someone you know could be the next bestselling American author."
Here are the rules.
Modesty and normal doubts aside, I really doubt this submission will garner many looks. The story dosen't have a gripping hook at the beginning (an admitted weakness) and requires you to get to know the characters a bit before you decide if you like them or not, or if you care what happens to them.
Gee, I wonder if... (and I bet EVERY entrant has wondered the same thing) I were to contact everybody I know, and get them to contact everybody THEY know, and so on, and ask them ALL to join the group at Gather.com and ALL vote for my book, if...
Nah, that'd be cheating, or the same thing as.
I'll just see how it fares.
And if NOBODY like it, I'll sic the "C" on them. That'll teach 'em, right?