Contest Wisdom Interview: Autum Jordon

by Marie-Claude Bourque

Hi everyone,

Please welcome Golden Heart Finalist, Romantic Suspense and Romantic Comedy author Autumn Jordon who will share her experience on writing contest.

And don’t forget to leave us a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of Obsessed By Wildfire

MCB: Can you tell me which manuscripts you have that finaled and in which contests ?

AJ: Evil’s Witness won 2008 NJ ST Put You Heart In A Book contest and was a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist. I’ve placed or won other contests with other manuscripts but I’ve yet found a home for them.

MCB: How long have you been writing and how long have you been doing writing contests?

AJ: I’m been serious about writing since 2000. I think my first contest was 2003. I didn’t final.

MCB: What do you consider your most prestigious contests and why?

AJ: Definitely the Golden Heart ®. I think the competition is greater and the skill level is much higher.

MCB: How did you choose to enter a specific contest?

AJ: I looked at the final judges to see if it’s someone I’m targeting. I’ve never entered a contest just for the sake of entering and getting the ribbon. If you’re not interested in that particular judge, why enter? You’re taking the opportunity from someone else.

MCB: What do you think are the advantages of entering contest?

AJ: Besides getting honest, valuable feedback on your work there is a chance, if you final, to get your work in front of several editors or agents.

MCB: What is the best feedback you got from judges?

AJ: Keep studying and tweaking. I had the bare bones down pat and just needed to flesh the story out.

MCB: What was the less useful feedback you got?

AJ: Having no feedback. I feel cheated when someone scores the work low and gives no feedback as to why.

MCB: How to you cope with negative feedback or really low scores?

AJ: If two judges have the same problem, I’ll look hard at it. Otherwise, I’ll read the comment , consider the judges POV and then shrug it off, if I don’t agree.

MCB: As a judge, what are you looking for in an entry?

AJ: A good story and great characters. I judged a Golden Heart entry a few years ago. There were typos and a few other tweaking problems, but the story had me turning the pages and I fell in love with the characters within the fifty pages. I was happy to see that work became a finalist and sold afterwards. You’ll know if I judge your work. I don’t hold back and give lots of feedbackconstructive of course.

MCB: What sort of steps to you take to polish the format and presentation of your entry?

AJ: I think I could tweak forever, but honestly I do multiple reads, at least five and days apart.

MCB: What are the main writing points that you check to ensure your entry is the best?

AJ: Five senses is a good one. Sentence structure. Nothing can put a reader to sleep faster than a writer who uses the same sentence structure over and over. POV is another. Make sure it is always clear who is speaking or thinking, and POV changes have to be smooth. Clothing! Characters usually wear clothing. Writers sometimes forget to dress them.

MCB: Can you give us your overall opinion on writing contests?

AJ: I think for the most part they are very helpful, especially, if you’re not in a critique group. I’ve learned tons though contests. Entries must remember though, ultimately it’s your book. If you don’t agree with a comment, brush it off and move on.

MCB: What is the best thing that happened to you from entering contests?

AJ: I’ve made friends with many published authors who judged my entries. And from them, I’ve learned about the craft and industry. Just send your judge a thank you note and open the way for communication.

MCB: What are the most important things that a writer new to contests should know before they enter?

AJ: Not everyone can place or win. Contests are subjective. You need to find two or three or even more readers who love your work in order to place. Not placing in a contest is not the end of the world. Study the craft. Write every day. Give the work umpteen passes and tweak until you think your eyes will fall out.

MCB: Where on the web can people find you if they want to know more about your writing?

AJ: My website, http://www.autumnjordon.com , is where you will find all the link to hunt me down. I also blog every Wednesday at www.autumnjordonsnotes.com I’d love if you stop over.

MCB: Do you have any writing wisdom to share with new writers?

AJ: My motto has always been; Word By Word, Line By Line, Page By Page. Rome wasn’t built in a year and I’m not going to write a book in a day.

Oh I do love that motto! I need to remember it! Thank you so much Autumn for sharing all your expertise with us!

And everyone, please share your take on contests for a chance to win an e-copy of Obsessed By Wildfire.

Autumn lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her husband, who supplies her with support and tons of laughs, and their Yorkshire Terrier and Irish Setter. Her Golden Heart entry, EVIL’S WITNESS released from The Wild Rose Press on June 18. EVIL’S WITNESS is also available through B&N, Amazon and Digi Books. Her favorite destinations farther from home are Vermont and Arizona where she enjoys hiking, golfing, horseback riding and learning the history of the areas. And no matter what Autumn is doing, she’s busy dreaming up ideas to put the characters of her romantic thrillers in grave danger.

EVIL’S WITNESS

Stephanie Boyd’s world crashes when she and her children witness a blood bath. To escape the wrath of the Russian Mafia, she has no choice but to help the FBI uncover the mafia’s mole inside the U.S. Treasury. While on the run with the handsome agent who is willing to die for them, Stephanie learns the meaning of love.

Agent John Dolton’s break in solving the case that cost him everything is a couple of kids and a beautiful widow. But keeping them safe seems impossible when their every move is foreseen by their enemy. Stephanie and her children soften the loner’s heart, and John vows not to fail to protect the family he comes to love.

6 Responses to Contest Wisdom Interview: Autum Jordon

  1. Nancy Lennea says:

    I have a similar complaint about contest feedback. One judge gave with a perfect score without one comment. The other two judges marked me lower, but their insights helped me polish my story and sell it!
    I feel contests can be useful as long as you understand what the entry fee will get you.

    Like

  2. Brandy Blake says:

    Hi. I don’t know that I could write a story but i love to read. I may have missed it but do they have any of the writing contests online where the readers can vote? Thanks for talking to us!!!

    Like

  3. jbrayweber says:

    Hi Autumn! (waving madly)
    I love your motto! Especially since I’m SLOWLY treading along. LOL!
    Great interview and congrats on your release!

    Like

  4. Hi, Nancy. I agree. I love when the contests put their score sheets on-line and when they advertise the experience level of their first round judges and state you will receive feedback. Then you know the chance of constructive feedback will be greater.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    AJ

    Like

  5. Hi, Brandy. I think there is a contest where readers not writers are judges, but the name escapes me. If I think of it, I’ll let you know. There are a few on-line contests where excerpts are posted and readers vote. I think Romance Junkies sponsor one.

    Thanks for stopping by today.

    AJ

    Like

  6. Jen, so happy to see you here and thanks, I’m so excited to finally have Evil’s Witness out.

    I’m right there with you with the new WIP. We can tread together.

    (((HUGS))
    AJ

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: