29 January 2008
So . . . where's the line?
For years, I've been one of *those* people. You know, the ones who say "I'm going to write a book someday." Occasionally I'd fiddle around with some project or another, then get bored and move on. Recently, that's changed. I've been working pretty steadily for a few months, have completed my longest project so far and am going to RWA Nationals in SF.

Which brings me around to my point. (Kinda. Bear with me if this doesn't make much sense.)

When do I stop entering the web contests?

Lots of sites run them. The authors themselves, review sites, you name it. There's ARCs and chocolate and all sorts of goodies. But eventually I want to be on an equal footing with professional writers. I don't feel like I can be an equal if I'm constantly running around entering sweepstakes, etc.

An example: I recently won an ARC of Grimspace from Ann Aquirre. But I've blog-known her for a while now. (How long's it been Ann, almost two years?) And we might be having a drink together come Nationals. I'm totally stoked to win the ARC, it looks like a great book and just got its first awesome review. And now Ann's running a huge contest. (I'm a pilot, apparently.) The grand prize is $100 bucks at Barnes and Noble. Honestly, part of me goes "Oh free books, must have, must have!" But the rest of me? Wonders how awkward I'd feel having that drink in SF if I actually won.

And other authors? I have a habit of lurking around Meljean Brook's blog and only popping out when there's a contest involved. Tacky, I know. Seriously, an ARC of Demon Night? When Colin was in my top three heros last year? How do you pass up that chance? With ARCs, it's not the free-ness, it's the early-ness! I've also entered several contests at Jackie Kessler's site.

But what if -- er, when, it's when I get published, and I run into her or Ann or some other author in a professional setting? And I know I've been practically cyber-begging from them? Even if they don't realize? I guess I'm going to have to sit down and establish some personal boundaries.

Man, the things you never think of 'til they smack you in the face.

Or maybe I'm just as obsessive as a certain someone I know and I should just chill the hell out. :::sigh:::


Blogger Ann Aguirre said...

Hee, it's been about two years, yep.

But I wouldn't think of it like that. Call it networking. I still enter author contests from authors I really love. Just because I'm an author doesn't mean I don't still read. And trust me, if you win an ARC contest -- and you're someone who will recommend the book via word of mouth or your blog -- you are an author's greatest ally.

It's not mooching or begging. If you talk up a book, then you're providing publicity. It's a symbiotic relationship.

Anonymous "A" said...

Umm who would that obsessive person be hmmm?

You are over thinking all this and I have to agree with Ann...

Turn the brain off for a while and just go with it :o)

Blogger Carolyn Jean said...

I am not a published author, but when I have done contests in the past, it has sort of made me feel closer to the winner.

While I see your point on the possible erosion of peer-to-peer feeling, I agree with Ann, too. If you're blogging about the book, you're helping that author find her readers.

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