But now my entries are back under the spotlight. I returned them for second round judging. The top five finalists for each category will compete against one another. Then the category winners will be announced at the ACFW conference held in Denver in September.
The second round judges consist of agents and editors. The historical romance judges are all editors from major CBA houses: Rebecca Germany from Barbour, Ami McConnell from Thomas Nelson, and Emily Rodmell for Steeple Hill.
I'm truly honored and excited to think that real live editors will actually take the time to read something I wrote, even if it's only the first 15 pages of my novel. I will value each and every word of their feedback, even if it hurts! But what I'm really hoping, is that the 15 pages will spark their interest to read more.
15 pages. It doesn't seem like enough for judges and editors to determine the writing ability of an author or the real value of a book. But the reality is, sometimes we have even less than 15 pages to impress. We hear stories about agents and editors passing on a book simply after the first paragraph!
What do you think? Are 15 pages really enough to determine the writing ability of an author or the worth of their book? Do you think contest judges can be fair when they only have 15 pages to look at?
I personally don't think the first 15 pages will always accurately portray our true writing level.
- On the one hand, the initial pages may over-represent those who spend hours and hours perfecting them, but lack the ability to carry the skill through the whole book.
- On the other hand, the first pages may under-represent those who get off to a low start, but have told a spectacular story through the rest of the book.