Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Elizabeth Arroyo

Today I'd like to introduce you to Elizabeth Arroyo, who's blogging about blog contests.

(And if you're wondering where my hangers are..they're somewhere else)


The blogosphere is full of agent/publisher judged contests, but is it worth trying?


Posting pitches, first 250 words, first sentence, and/or last sentence for a contest forces you to scrutinize every word making your prose stronger. When I finally braved the contest waters I learned the power of one word, one phrase. I learned the power of voice and character. I learned the importance of drawing in the reader with the shortest amount of words.

My first request for pages was a direct result of a pitch contest in which I lost! My pitch was not selected by the judging agent. After the contest, I received an email from a fantastic agent who read my pitch and was interested in seeing more, an agent closed to unsolicited queries.

How’s that for a surprise?

Here are a few of the entries that got requests.

"After a drive-by shooting leaves Arianna w/ an unexpected boyfriend, she finds that love alone won’t save him from life on the streets." 140 word pitch contest (twitter style)

"After Gabby refuses to give her soul to a demon, she’s given twenty-four hours to comply while her friends begin to die. Jake, her almost boyfriend, is the key to her salvation, but a fool with a key is a very dangerous thing." Three sentence pitch.

Some great blogs that have contests regularly

Operation Awesome
Miss Snark’s First Victim
Cupid Literary Connection
Brenda Drake’s Blog

What are your thoughts on contests?

Elizabeth spent most of her younger years as an avid reader with a wild imagination which led her to write her first manuscript at the age of fourteen. Her fascination with the paranormal was influenced by the vivid ghost and demon stories of her father, scaring the crap out of her. It also led her to ask the "what if" question that propelled her down the path of the fantastical.

Life got in the way. But her love of stories held, and in 2008 she found herself back into her storytelling roots and began writing again. Since then she's published a short story in SQ Magazine, countless musings on her blog - Chandara Writes, and completed three manuscripts.

In 2012, Elizabeth signed with Sapphire Star Publishing to release her debut novel, THE SECOND SIGN, a Dark YA Paranormal Romance to be released February 7, 2013. You can follow her journey on her Blog and on Twitter- EArroyo5.


With that, I bid you adieu and I shall see you on Friday for some fun.


Dianne K. Salerni said...

Those are fantastic pitches!!

I really stink at writing pitches for my books. It's a skill I need to work on.

SA Larsenッ said...

I totally agree. Entering contests not only moves you one step forward to gaining requests and hopefully offers, but it also builds confidence. ;D

Jess said...

I LOVE contests! They are such a great way to get feedback and possible requests :) PLUS, they're super exciting to watch.

Tara Tyler said...

yay elizabeth! contests make me work! tweak! and improve! so it doesnt matter if you win or lose. you are proof!

E. Arroyo said...

Dianne, pitches are hard. It's always a work in progress.

Sheri, Yup, I agree. It also allows you to test the waters, so to speak.

Jess, I do like being on the sidelines too. I learn a lot!

Tara, lol...I am so blushing. Thanks!

And thanks, Martin, for having me. =)

Martin Willoughby said...

I've just been converted to contests (Hookers and Hangers is my first one). They do work.

Elizabeth: It was a pleasure to host you.

Carrie Butler said...

Great advice, Elizabeth! Before my contract, I was a contest fanatic. :D

dayner said...

I was offered a publishing contract after entering a contest so you know I'm a fan. :)
Great post, Elizabeth, and great pitches!

E. Arroyo said...

Carrie, it can become addictive.

dayner, Yay!!

Deana said...

I AGREE!!!! I love contests! I may never have gotten my agent without Cupid's contest:) Great post!

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats, Elizabeth! Yep, contests really make you focus on making every word count and as good as it can be. So even if you don't win, you've gained something from it (and you've proved that!) Your second pitch is great. There's a whole lot of info there.

Christine Rains said...

Awesome pitches! And that's awesome about getting asked by the agent to see more. Contests are excellent ways for a writer to get noticed, maybe get an agent, and have other writers in the community help out.

Nicky Wells said...

Brilliant pitches, great food for thought. I do pitches quite literally on the back of an envelope, usually on a bus, as far away from the manuscript as I can get myself. And as much out of context as possible. Why? Well, whatever sticks in my mind has to be "the" nugget, right? Love the post, thans for sharing.

E. Arroyo said...

Deana, Congrats on landing an agent!

Nick, that second pitch led me to my publishing deal. I'm glad you like.

Christine, I agree.

Nicky, great idea. I'm at a loss when I sit and start thinking about the pitch. I keep asking myself...what is the book about? Stepping away helps.

Thanks for all your wonderful comments. =)

Angela Ackerman said...

I agree, these pitching/critique contests are gold. They really challenge us to do our very best--congrats on your success!


Leslie S. Rose said...

What a super encouraging story. Thanks for sharing. I've recently started dipping my toe into contests. It does sharpen your game.

Victoria Lindstrom said...

What are you - the pitch princess? Those are awesome pitches, Elizabeth. Thanks Martin, for the amazing interview - I might even enter a contest!

E. Arroyo said...

Angela, Thanks!

Leslie & Victoria, Good luck. There's quite a few great contests to dip into.