About six weeks ago, I finished judging a contest, sent all my comments and scores back to the coordinator, and then promptly forgot about it.
That's the way I work: Out of sight, out of mind.
And it doesn't take much to make my mind empty these days!
Last week, I was emailed a thank you note.
An aside on thank you notes: As a judge, I don't expect one, and I certainly don't want one just because you feel you have to write one. This has always been my opinion from the first time I judged a contest in 2001. In all the years that I entered contests, I think I only wrote one thank you note. Don't bother writing one unless the judge actually gave you some insight into your story.
This particular story was a historical romance. It was good, but it could use some editing and tightening.
Heck--EVERY story could always use more editing and tightening!
This story now has an agent and it will be a Kensington digital release. Good for her!
And then I got a second thank you note.
It was another "I sold my story!", but this time the subtext was very, very different.
Though you hated my story, I sold it. So there!
I'd gotten a nanny-nanny-boo-boo backwards thank you note.
Okay, I get it. The author wanted to point out that I obviously don't know gold when I'm reading it.
Okay, fine. Glad the author felt better by sending this unnecessary, and questionable, thank you.
But to top it off, the author will be handing my comments to her new editor?
Are you kidding me?
Why would an editor want my comments?
Obviously the problems that I spotted in a synopsis and the first fifty pages didn't bother the editor when she offered a contract. Besides, an editor has to think in the terms of the publishing house line, not some random contest entry comments from a random judge.
The most frustrating part as a judge is when the entrant puts their blinders on and doesn't really 'see' the comments. In this instance, the author thought I gave her a low score because it was an erotic historical.
That wasn't the case at all.
I had a problem with this story due to the lack of characterization in both the hero and heroine. Neither character was very developed and I couldn't sympathize with either one, which made the story uninteresting to me.
But that was just my opinion. Another judge might not see the same thing. That is all you get when you enter a contest--AN OPINION. Obviously, the offering editor didn't seem to have a problem with this particular story or felt she could work with the author to tweak it.
So what I'm saying in my typical roundabout way is to keep writing and submitting because you never know who will find your story in the slush pile.
All it takes is one yes, but sometimes you have to slog your way through a pile of no's to get there.