Writing Contest: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Novels –> Open Until November 10th!

There is a writing contest going on right now.  If you have a finished adult Fantasy or Sci-Fi manuscript then you should submit!  Here are the details:

Welcome to the 26th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a FREE recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. If you’re writing any kind of fantasy or science fiction novel (for adults), then this 26th contest is for you! The contest is live through end of day, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. The contest is judged by agent Mike Hoogland of Dystel & Goderich.


E-mail entries to dearluckyagent26@gmail.com. Please paste everything. No attachments.

(This contest went live a few hours before the e-mail was created, so several people who submitted early had their work bounce back. Apologies if this was you. As of early October 26, 2017, this e-mail address is up and running and fine. Submit! Thank you. All is now well.)


The first 150-250 words (i.e., your first double-spaced page) of your unpublished, completed fantasy or science fiction novel. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also note your city of residence (i.e. — the city you live in, not your full address). Submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry. Self-published novels are not eligible.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any any social-media. Please provide a social-media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your official e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! In short, simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a TinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is http://tinyurl.com/jymslez

An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino at the end of your mention(s) if using Twitter. If we’re friends on FB, tag me in the mention. If you are going to just use Twitter as your 2 entries, please wait one day between mentions to spread out the notices, instead of simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point. And if you use Twitter, put my handle @chucksambuchino at the middle or the end, not at the very beginning of the tweet, or else the tweet will be invisible to others.)


screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-29-25-pmMike Hoogland joined Dystel & Goderich after completing a foreign rights internship at Sterling Lord Literistic. Before pursuing a career in publishing, Mike studied at Colgate University and graduated with a degree in political science and the intention to work in government. He interned with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but soon realized his interests and passions were better suited to a career in the publishing industry. After Colgate, Mike went on to gain a valuable education at the Columbia Publishing Course and discovered his passion for the agenting side of the business. He is seeking: sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, upmarket women’s fiction, and some children’s books (picture books, MG, and YA), as well as a wide variety of narrative nonfiction, including science, history, and politics. He is particularly interested in seeing thought-provoking, realistic speculative fiction.

What a wonderful opportunity, I bet this will be a fun contest to judge.  I’ll be submitting my first page 🙂  Good luck to all my fellow writers out there!

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A visit from a Muse

The query and rejection process is not for the faint of heart and while one does expect it, rejection after rejection, the effect takes its toll.

I take my time, I read about the agent, check her twitter feed, #MSWL, and see what she’s looking for, as well as what projects she is already working on… I probably should be submitting to more agents but I have only submitted to two agents a week for the past few weeks.  Six total.  Not many.

And while the number is small, the fact that I haven’t even gotten a nibble is what bothers me.  At least the form letters are nice and the time is taken to spell my name right (silver lining?) But no one seems even remotely interested.  The thought to shelve my project crossed my mind, to shelve a complete fantasy series because I can’t sell it with the first ten pages and query letter and synopsis.  Of those three things, where have I gone wrong?  The query, the first ten pages or the synopsis? Hmm…. What am I missing?

Here comes the interesting part:

At work, I’m sitting at the front desk and a client comes in.  I don’t know her that well and she knows even less about me, or so I thought.  I ask her how I might assist her, she tells me what she needs and I walk away to retrieve it from the back.  When I return she tells me that she gets vibes from people.  She always has and that the vibe she got from me gave her goose-bumps.  That’s how she can tell the vibe is real.  She told me that whatever I am doing, possibly something with school (reading, writing, lots of paper) I need to keep doing.  To give it my all because I am almost there.  She told me that I’m holding back and need to go forward and give it everything plus an extra ten percent.  That I’m ninety percent there….

I was floored.  If someone were looking into my life, it would be easy to misconceive my writing a novel as school.  It’s almost the same but there’s no teacher to give feedback.  Just rejection form letters.

So I won’t be shelving my manuscript after all.  I have to figure out where to apply the additional effort?  Everywhere makes sense.  I’ve decided to revise the first few chapters, rework my query letter and synopsis and resubmit.  Most important: to not give up and give my manuscript everything I’ve got.

It was such an incredible experience and came at the exact moment it should.